MORE than 240 hot, sweaty and exhilarated cyclists rode into Cooktown in September to thunderous applause, after fundraising to fix hearts in FNQ.
The 12th annual Cardiac Challenge raised more than $262,000 after the cyclists pedalled 330km from Cairns to Cooktown. Funds from this year’s event will purchase a Vivid Echocardiograph – a vital diagnostic tool for cardiac patients in the Far North.

About half the cyclists tackled the challenging Kuranda Range at the beginning of the event with the up-lane closed from 6.30am.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said while the permit was until 8.30am, all cyclists were off the Range by 7.10am and it was then re-opened.
“We’re so grateful for the motoring public’s understanding and patience of allowing our cyclists to get up the Range in safety as the closure is for such a short period of time,” Ms Duncombe said.

After the Range, cyclists this year stopped at the specially opened Speewah Tavern for a well-earned caffeine hit before riding single file on to Mareeba for the eagerly anticipated morning tea stop.“Mareeba Rotary and the local farmers always supply an amazing spread of sandwiches, cakes and fruit for us and the crew always love this stop,” Ms Duncombe said.From there, the riders gathered into their designated packs to start the arduous journey up hill and down dale to help fix hearts.
The ride took its usual journey to Mt Carbine and Lakeland, followed by the always emotional ride in to Cooktown as one long pack. Riders enjoyed the newly constructed water park on the Cooktown Esplanade, courtesy of Cook Shire Council, followed by lunch and presentations at the Cooktown Bowls Club.
The evening dinner at the Cooktown PCYC is always a highlight, but this year a couple of auction items helped top up the coffers with Peter Piccone buying a signed Billy Slater jersey and Leigh Holman the framed Johnathon Thurston memorabilia.

Organisers are already working on planning this year’s event, September 21-23, 2019.