Every year, hundreds of cyclists from around Australia and overseas are drawn to the city of Cairns in tropical Far North Queensland to saddle up for the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge.
And every year, the fundraising bike ride from Cairns to Cooktown gains momentum: last year’s event included 350 riders, who raised more than $300,000. The event was originally launched in 2007 by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation and has since raised more than $2 million.
The three-day, 333 km ride attracts people from all walks of life and we’re certain this year will be no different.
The ride starts at Smithfield, at the base of the Kuranda Range. The route becomes progressively dryer as you pedal inland, through the country townships of Mareeba and Mt Molloy and then on to Mt Carbine and the local rodeo grounds.
Day two will see you riding through drought-parched savannah country – a traditional outback landscape – and climbing a muscle-screaming 3.7 km stretch of road up the Desailly Range.
And finally on day three a mere 80 km jaunt takes you past the striking rock formations of Black Mountain, before gathering with the other riders on the outskirts of Cooktown, a historic and peaceful township nestled beside the sparkling waters of the Coral Sea.