IT WAS a chilly 13-degree start to Walcha’s mountain bike teams challenge event early yesterday morning which saw more than 200 eager cyclists line up to compete.
Riders traversed one of several country track courses which were set out by the event’s sponsor, the local branch of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
The 77km track and the gruelling main 115km circuit began promptly at 7am while the junior race started at 8am.
The circuit took in scenic country sights over bumpy dirt roads and rock tracks through farmers paddocks and the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.
There had been fears the event would be called off this year due to bushfires in the surrounding area at the start of last week.
Hundreds of local community members arrived at the showground after the race started, when the weather warmed up, to wander around Walcha’s Mountain Festival.
Trade stalls featuring food and crafts opened for business early and different events and performances were held throughout the day to entertain the crowd at the country-style fair.
They included Australian wool fashion parades, vintage car displays, mad cow rides, a bush balladeer and poet, a magician and a busking challenge.