By Jeff Jones in Canberra
The organisers of Australia's Brindabella Challenge, a three-day cycling extravaganza set in Canberra, were forced to cancel the first day due to inclement weather. When the heavens opened at around 4:30pm, violent storms drenched the nation's capital and one person was even killed by a falling tree. By 6:00pm, when the B grade criterium was due to kick off the Challenge in Canberra's CBD, rain was still falling solidly, and the decision was taken to cancel the evening's racing.
"We have called it off," said Brindabella Challenge spokesman and organiser Miles Prosser to Cyclingnews shortly after 6:00pm. "The roads are too wet and it's not easing up. [Saturday's] road races will go ahead as planned, and there will be criteriums rescheduled for Sunday on a closed circuit in Fyshwick."
Although most of the riders were either not present or not particularly enthused by the idea of racing on a tight 800m circuit in the pouring rain, there were a few exceptions. Sydney-based Hugh Kimber rolled up in his cycling kit, complete with a plastic bag to keep the rain off, ready to ride the B grade event, but was told of its cancellation.
"I feel sorry for the organisers but I'm still keen to race," said Kimber to Cyclingnews. "I came down yesterday with one of my mates. I really wanted to see the difference compared to Heffron Park, and how the girls like Oenone Wood would go in B grade."
But Kimber was outnumbered by the rain gods today, and will have to wait until Saturday's road races for his chance to turn the legs over. The Brindabella Challenge will feature a 70 km scratch and a 55 km handicap race on Saturday, along with a 55 km mountain bike race, BMX racing, touring and family rides, and more events on Sunday.
More information: www.brindabellachallenge.com.au.