The Inaugural Cycle, the O’Keefe saw a combination of experienced and novice riders take to the trail on Saturday 22nd April. Although numbers were lower than expected, inclement weather the day before with up 50ml of rain recorded in some parts, the trail stood the test. Feedback from those who participated was very positive – many saying they will be back next year and will be inviting friends.
With the morning rain stopped, there were still clouds overhead, yet thankfully the weather forecast was for a dry afternoon.
So the Cycle the O'Keefe event’s riders were ready to explore the O’Keefe Rail Trail from Bendigo to Heathcote.
With about 80 riders enjoying the O'Keefe Rail Trail, around half that number rode the full ‘marathon distance’ of 42km from Junortoun to Heathcote.
Many first time O'Keefe Rail Trail riders enjoying the trail experience were surprised by the quality of the trail, and amazed by the trails’ crossing through Lake Eppalock with its water lapping on both sides of the trail.
JUNORTOUN TO HEATHCOTE
The majority of the event entrants were starting near La Valla Catholic College in Junortoun, to ride through Longlea, Axedale, Knowsley, Derrinal and onto Heathcote.
Most were just riding to Heathcote, yet those really wanting to challenge themselves were then to turn around and ride back to either Axedale or the Junortoun start point.
AXEDALE TO HEATHCOTE
The next largest group of riders gathered at Axedale, near to the Campaspe River, while watching a few golfers on the Axedale Golf Course.
The riders were waiting for 1:20pm to arrive, to hear the ‘starters gun’ so they could commence their ride.
What was striking were young riders not yet into their teens plus older riders well past retirement age, all entered and ready to ride. It truly was a ride event on a trail for everyone to enjoy.
Another group of riders, mainly of family members, were at the ready near the old church at Knowsley, waiting for their official start.
The shortest distance for Cycle the O’Keefe also proved popular from its starting point at the Mia Mia-Derrinal Road, Derrinal. All were to finish in Heathcote.
There were volunteer Event Marshals at most road crossings plus qualified traffic controllers at two of the busiest roads such as the McIvor Highway. The volunteer marshals reported how well they were greeted plus received positive comments from many of the cyclists. This was truly a community event.