ROAD racing will finally return to our roads this Sunday as the Bathurst Cycling Club gears up for its first event since coronavirus shutdowns began in March.
The city's cyclists have been turning to online virtual events to get their competitive fix in the past few months but fresh air awaits in the weekend's 29 kilometre handicap at Perthville.
And as a bonus the race will be free to enter for club members.
Among those who got their name onto the entry sheet early was Toireasa Gallagher, who is looking forward to getting back out onto the roads in a competitive environment.
Gallagher had a fun experience with the virtual events but said the feeling of returning to the roads of Bathurst can't be beaten.
"It will be great being out there again. Everyone's been doing indoor trainer rides or single training rides over the last four months or so. To be able to race with someone physically next to you will be fun," she said.
"I think everyone was thinking that somewhere closer to September would be our timeline. I think it just shows how good we've tackled this whole situation in New South Wales and we can now get ahead with sport earlier than we assumed."
Racing has come around just in time for many riders to try and shake off the winter blues.
Gallagher is confident no matter how frosty the weather gets that riders will be keen to race on Bathurst roads again.
"I want to race, it's just what I do. Events like this are what motivate you to train," she said.
"It's great getting that hit out every week and seeing what you're capable of. There's a lot of talk through the club about racing starting up again and I'm sure by the weekend we'll have a really strong field entered."
The club will be running the event under strict COVID-19 restriction as set out by Cycling NSW's return to racing guidelines.
Anyone who has experienced flu-like symptoms within the past fortnight can not race and no gatherings will be allowed post-race.
The event will be run on the two roads course while an E grade enticer event will be run over 18km.
"We realise there are people who are not quite up to that race level yet so that's what the enticer is about," Gallagher said.
"It's about coming out, having a go, and eventually your fitness will get up and you'll be ready for the racing side of things. Even though it's an enticer they still get that hit out towards the end to see who can finish first."
Entries for the race will be taken right up until the day before the event.
Meanwhile, has released their updated racing calendar for the junior season.
The NSW Junior Metropolitan and Country Road Championships and NSW Junior Criterium Championships will take place at Sutherland on August 9.
Wagga Wagga will then play host to the NSW Junior Road Championships (ITT, TTT and road race) and Cycling Australia Junior Road National Championships on September 5-6 and 25-27 respectively.