Perfect weather conditions and a return to big bike rides helped create a joyous atmosphere at Peaks Challenge Falls Creek today where a new finisher record was set.
A crisp but calm morning greeted more than 1,800 riders who set off from Falls Creek towards Mount Beauty to begin the 235 kilometre ride.
As the sun rose so did the warmth, with temperatures going on to top more than 24 degrees at Omeo.
The conditions helped Justine Barrow to set a new course record for women riders, finishing with an amazing time of 7 hours and 34 minutes.
Justine also took out the Queen of Peaks award with the fastest time up the three main climbs of Tawonga Gap, Mount Hotham and the back of Falls Creek.
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Stinus Kaempe was the first male to cross the finish line, arriving back at the event village with a time of 7 hours and 8 minutes. Mark O'Brien took out the King of Peaks and finished with a ride time of 7 hours 30 minutes.
While the first finishers set some impressive times, some of the best finish line moments were saved for later in the day when groups of friends - both new and old - were able to cross the finish line together. Just months ago, when coronavirus restrictions were still in place, it seemed almost impossible that something so great could happen.
— @Bicycle_Network (@bicycle_network) March 7, 2021
Today was also the first time a 100km ride was held as part of Peaks Challenge Falls Creek, giving people a taste of the mountains before taking on the 235km ride.
More than 200 people rode in the 100km ride that travelled from the top of Falls Creek to Anglers Rest and turned around to tackle WTF Corner and the back of Falls.
Bicycle Network General Manager of Events Rebecca Lane said it was amazing to see so many people enjoy riding bikes together and thanked riders, family and friends for being understanding of an event that looked a little bit different.
"It has been a long 12 months since we got to see the smiles on the faces of riders crossing the finish line and we're so happy we were able to experience it again," said Ms Lane.
"A big thank you goes out to all the riders and supporters who adjusted to an event village with a COVIDSafe layout and maintained good hygiene throughout the weekend."
Bicycle Network would also like to thank event partners Falls Creek, Winners, Visit Bright, Bridge Road Brewers and Prepd for their fantastic support.
Follow #ThisIsPeaks on social media to photos and updates from the day as it happened