Around 700 people raced the streets of Cambridge last week in the annual Podium Lodge Cambridge Cycling Festival, the biggest of its kind so far.
“It’s definitely the most we’ve had in the three years we’ve run the event,” said organiser Sarah Ulmer, who originally came up with the idea for the event.
Riders from under two years of age through to elite level raced across Victoria St on Anzac Day afternoon, where well over a thousand people turned out. Famous faces included recent Commonwealth Games gold medallists Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins, as well as silver medallists Rushlee Buchanan and Kirstie James, bronze medallist Dylan Kennett, and Commonwealth riders Nick Kergouzou, Tom Sexton, and national sprint champion Sam Daikin.
Teams from local schools competed in the Battle of the Schools event where St Peter’s School’s prep students won the 10 to 12-year-olds’ final, followed by two Cambridge Middle School teams in second and third. The 13 – 15-year-olds’ rendition of the same event saw two Cambridge High School teams finish first and second, followed by Hamilton Boys High School third.
A team from APL finished first in the Battle of the Businesses event, followed by Fastlane second and Paddock in third.
Criterium racing saw riders from all over the country compete. Southland rider Nicholas Kergozou De La Boessiere took the first-place spot in the men’s Open A grade to win $1000, and renowned local track cyclists Ally Wollaston and Rushlee Buchanan battled it out for first and second respectively in the women’s Open A grade, Ally also nabbing the $1000 prize.
The exciting Street Sprint saw former Southland-turned Cambridge rider Tess Young finish first in the women’s final to earn the $500 prize, and Ethan Mitchell just managed to beat Eddie Dawkins for the $500 prize in the men’s final.
Sarah Ulmer said she was “absolutely chuffed” with the third instalment of the annual event. “Chuffed with the growth in participants and equally with how many people came down to watch and support,” she said.
“The atmosphere was great and changed as the afternoon went on. It started with the little ones racing in the under-fives, so really supportive and encouraging of them… then real excitement when the Elites were racing… It was also great having Alfresco Bites and face-painters along to help fuel the crowd and create the festival atmosphere.”
Ten thousand dollars was given out in cash prizes on the day as well as heaps of spot prizes donated by local businesses, and five trek bikes were given away to kids as prizes. Each child also took home their own goodie bag as a reward for their efforts.