Overseas and interstate participants, as well, appreciate the opportunity to experience the dramatically varying terrain of Far North Queensland in a very "up close and personal" way: from the leafy, sun-dappled Kuranda Range road, winding upwards through lush rainforest to the Atherton Tablelands, across rolling golden savannah lands and on to the shores of the sparkling Coral Sea at Cooktown.
"I didn't realise I was having a heart attack – I just thought it was my emphysema," said Ron Slater, the 63-year-old Innisfail resident and father of Melbourne Storm player Billy Slater.
The man who came up with the idea for the Cardiac Challenge, 64-year-old Cairns bus driver, Peter McNally, was born with congenital heart problems and still requires ongoing cardiac care. A cycling enthusiast, Peter persuaded the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation that a fundraising bike ride would be a great way to raise money to improve cardiac care services in the Far North, as well as encourage more people to get into cycling.
How often do we say: “Oh, I’ll do that next time.” Or “Next year”. The time is now and the Mt Franklin Cardiac Challenge should definitely be on your bucket list if it isn’t already. As our ride director Glenys Duncombe says, “It’s not Cardiac Easy”. But everyone says afterwards – it was definitely worth all the work and effort and they cannot wait to start training again for the next one.