“Dirty Warrny” to roll through Surf Coast

November 7, 2023 BY

Reigning "Dirty Warrny" women's champion and Bendigo rider Courtney Sherwell will be back this year to defend her crown. Photo: SUPPLIED

GRAVEL bike riding will take over the Surf Coast sports stage this weekend with the return of the “Dirty Warrny”.

Now in its second year, the gravel adaptation of the historic Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic will pass through the Surf Coast this weekend.

This year’s edition of the event will take place on Saturday, November 11, featuring riders of various abilities ranging from World Tour professionals to weekend hobbyists.

The event has also expanded to three separate courses: a new 84km “Classic” route offering riders a shorter option, the tough 140km “Forrest Challenge” starting in the township of Forrest, and the original 246km “Dirty Warrny”.

The official Dirty Warrny will begin in at Mount Moriac Reserve, setting off at 6.30am and taking riders through the Otways, Heytesbury region, Deans Marsh, Forrest, Timboon and then into Warrnambool to complete the gruelling challenge after an estimated eight hours in the saddle.

Among the elite in the men’s field is five-time Australian Mountain Bike Champion, former Melbourne to Warrnambool winner, and defending Dirty Warrny champion, Brendan Johnston, who is sizing up to be the man to beat in 2023.

Defending Dirty Warrny champion and Bendigo representative Courtney Sherwell, who hopes to defend her crown in 2023, will be in the women’s field.

“I hope to beat my time from last year, but also be holding that trophy up at the end of the day,” Sherwell said.

“I’m more driven than ever to train and prepare for this year’s edition.

“I know what my capabilities are as an endurance athlete, and I’m also motivated to improve on my previous successes.

“Because of my preparation, last year I felt like everything went my way on the day. I had a race plan and tactics set for the beginning, middle and end of the race, my nutrition plan was dialled and mentally I was just in a really good place with myself and where I was at as a rider.

“After winning the Dirty Warrny, I then went on to win Australia’s version of Leadville 100, the Cattlemen 100 in Omeo. This really cemented in my mind that endurance events are my calling, and this is what I should be putting my energy into.”

This year’s races will have feed stations in Deans Marsh, Forrest, Simpson, and Timboon, which also make for the perfect spectator vantage points.

Every finisher of the 240km and 140km courses will receive a finisher’s medal.

For more event information, head to dirtywarrny.com.au

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