THE bags are packed, the training's done and the muscles are about to start stretching for the annual Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge fundraising bike ride from Cairns to Cooktown.
More than 270 cyclists have been preparing for the event which raises funds for cardiac services at Cairns Hospital. Tony Franz, CEO of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, which co-ordinates the event, said this ninth event was another herculean achievement for riders and the organisers.
Mr Franz, who always participates in the ride himself, said fundraising was ongoing, but had already cracked the $200,000 mark. “Since its inception, we've raised more than $2 million for cardiac services in Cairns, which we simply would not have otherwise,” Mr Franz said.
And while there may be about 270 riders, together with supporters and volunteers, the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge entourage finally numbers more than 500.
“We know that for the small communities we stop off and support along the way, ours is the biggest event to come to town each year so it's a wonderful community event giving back to the community,” Mr Franz said.
There is a partial Kuranda Range closure on Saturday morning for a couple of hours to enable those willing riders to ride the range in safety, riders will stop in Kuranda and Mareeba, before heading on to overnight at Mt Carbine. The next day, riders, supporters and volunteers travel through to Lakeland for their overnight stop, and will make it into Cooktown about 12.30pm on Monday.
Cairns Hospital cardiac care unit nurse unit manager Midge Balodis is a medic on the ride every year and said she loves every thing about the event. “It's wonderful for people to achieve this awesome goal, it's wonderful to be getting fit and active in the great outdoors, and it's wonderful fundraising for cardiac services,” Ms Balodis said.
The cardiac unit also will be represented by cyclists on the ride calling themselves Cardiac Maniacs, who are one of the top fundraisers this year.
The downward lane of Kuranda Range will be closed from 5.30am to 9am on Saturday, September 19 to enable only the fittest cyclists to ride the range in safety. Anyone who has not finished the Range ride in time will be taken off and bused up to Kuranda. The Foundation will endeavour to have everyone off the Range by 8.15am.
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