IT was the day a Warrnambool-born rider beat the odds - and the train - to stamp himself into Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic folklore.A century ago, the now-famous race was still in its infancy, being run on rough metal roads filled with dirt, ruts, cobblestones and a "glue pot" at Little River.Riders, having to contend with the 265-kilometre journey on bikes that had no gears and heavy wheels, were so dirty when they reached the finish line in Melbourne that they were taken to the city baths for a free clean-up.Despite all that, a diminutive 21-year-old called Iddo "Snowy" Munro turned in arguably the greatest ride in the Classic's long history, causing a nationwide sensation by setting a record time that would stand until 1931.His time of seven hours, 12 minutes and 51 seconds proved an embarrassment for the Victorian Railways Commission as he pulled into Melbourne five minutes before the steam train.His son Alan Munro, 88, yesterday told The Standard that the cycling legend was born in Warrnambool in a house right beside the Classic finish line on Raglan Parade.''It's unreal really. He lived there for quite a while and there's a motel there now,'' he said.Snowy Munro, the son of a Baptist minister, drew level with the train at Werribee and put a gap of five minutes between it and himself over the last 20 miles in the famous 1909 race.''Beating the train was a pretty big thing at the time," Alan said from his home in Ivanhoe. "I don't think the railways were too happy about it. To do it on dirt roads, with fixed gears and no brakes - that was marvellous. ''Now the riders have 15 or 16 gears, light wheels and decent roads.'' Snowy Munro was later part of a four-man team which become the first Australian unit to contest the Tour de France, in 1911. He finished 19th.He later owned a fleet of taxis in Melbourne and lived until he was 94.''His family moved to Coburg and he went to school down there. He was always interested in the Warrnamboool and the Herald Sun Tour right up to when he passed away in 1984,'' Alan said.''I drove him to Warrnambool the last few times with a couple of his friends. Dad had strong links to the area and always stayed for the presentations and overnight."Alan continued the family's cycling tradition, winning the Goulburn to Sydney in 1945-46 and claiming the Australian professional road championship in 1946. At 88, he still holds a pilot's licence.Snowy Munro's ride was in the reverse direction, from Warrnambool to Melbourne, which has been the case 32 times.The 2009 Classic will be over 261km and start at the Werribee racecourse at 7.30am on Saturday.It will be the fifth new starting point in the past 14 years, in keeping with police initiatives to ensure the safety of competitors, officials and the public.The race was first held in 1895. Fifty riders entered, 24 started and only seven finished. Andrew Calder, who received a two-hour start on the scratch men, won in a time of 11:44.30 and was reported to have "got through on eggs, milk, and beef extract".Australian cycling legend, the late Sir Hubert Opperman, recorded the fastest time in 1924, '26 and '29 and the late Russell Mockridge - double gold medallist at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games - was fastest time in 1956 and '57, his best being 5:47.5.The Classic has undergone substantial changes since handicaps were scrapped and it became a mass-start event in 1996.