By Natalee Kerr
For Ocean Grove cyclist Nigel Long, to reach the finish line of a 115 kilometre-long race tomorrow is a “big” achievement.
“I’m not racing anyone, I’m not competing for a prize,” the 57-year-old said.
“It’s not about the time, for me it’s just about getting through it and getting to the end in the best condition I can.”
After months of preparation, the veteran amateur cyclist is set to take on his sixth Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race People’s Ride on Saturday.
“I’ve followed the Tour De France and watched Cadel race numerous times over the years,” Long said.
“To have a race of his come to my doorstep seemed too good to be true.”
Despite facing numerous injuries, including fractured ribs, the avid cyclist has yet to miss a year of the ride since its debut in 2015.
Long’s most recent fall while training for last year’s race left him with cuts, bruises and mild concussion.
“There was this pot hole in the bike lane and I tried to avoid it but hit this lump on the road instead,” he said.
“I went over the handle bars and fell toward the pavement, but thankfully nothing was broken.”
After an “exciting” run-in with Cadel at Avalon Airport last weekend, Long said he was looking forward to riding alongside the Australian cycling great again.
“It’s such good fun and to have Cadel involved – he does the ride every year,” he said.
Although a “challenging” course, Long said he finds enjoyment from “taking in“ the local surroundings.
“I remember one year riding up the hill at Bell’s Beach and there were kangaroos jumping alongside the peloton I was a part of,” he said.
“The scenery takes away whatever pain you might be feeling in your legs.”