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ALMOST 200 hardy mountain bike riders will hit the bush trails of Arthurs Seat in the area’s first race in September. After years of building crisscross trails through the state park, the Red Hill Riders Mountain Bike Club has announced the multistage endurance race, which they hope will bring thousands of extra visitors to the peninsula.

Club vice-president Rhys Dowsett, who has been a mountain biker for 15 years, said competitors in the Gravity Enduro would be aged from teens to riders in their 60s. The September 24-25 event is set for between 25 and 30km and participants will climb about 1000m.
“An enduro event is a format that suits our trail network very well,” Mr Dowsett said.

“The club was formed about 10 years ago and we’ve been working hard with Parks Victoria and the shire to develop great trails and get the right permits.

“The trails have been growing and improving and the numbers of riders has skyrocketed. Nearly every car at the Boundary Rd shops has a bike on top.”

Mr Dowsett said the rocky, dirt and sandy trails of Arthurs Seat were unique, given the proximity of the beach to the hills.

“The trails bring the riders, and then family and friends check out all the other attractions of the peninsula — this is huge for tourism,” he said.

Mountain bike riding is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, with new trails attracting not only riders and their friends and families, but also new eateries and bike shops to cater for the enthusiasts. The club is still looking for sponsors and hoping to secure prize money.

This event is capped at 190 riders. Registrations close at midnight on September 18.