Pat Jonker is a famous name in Australian cycling circles. He’s ridden the Tour De France five times and been involved in countless other events.
He also happens to be an ambassador for the 2020 Clare Classic and as a proud South Australian he is ideally placed to tell us all what to expect!
Clare Classic: How long have you been involved with the Clare Classic?
Pat Jonker: I rode the inaugural event and was impressed with the quality of the organisation. I thought it was a superbly organised event with a challenging course.
CC: What’s your favourite thing about the Clare Valley?
PJ: The views. You get sweeping views of the Clare Valley plains then once you head towards the eastern side of Clare we have more old fashioned Australiana when you ride through the old towns with pubs and houses that have stood still in time. Sometimes it feels like you’re riding your bike in 1922.
CC: When did you first start cycling?
PJ: I cycled to school at the age of five and started racing when I was 12. Never looked back and have always enjoyed the freedom.
CC: Favourite bike?
PJ: Colnago with Campy Record groups. Made in Italy when I was riding them.
CC: Any advice to riders doing their first Gran Fondo?
PJ: Yep, do some training. The weekend at Clare becomes more enjoyable when you prepare well. You don’t need to go overboard but should be able to ride 100km comfortably. Then you will be able to finish the 160km Maxi Classic without too many difficulties. Get your nutritional strategy sorted as this will be key on the day.
CC: What course will you be doing?
PJ: The Maxi Classic 160km for sure!
CC: Why should people sign up for the Clare Classic?
PJ: It’s a great weekend getaway.
The Dirty Clare gravel ride is new and the course is very scenic and with 980m of climbing challenging too. It’s possible to ride on a road bike as long as you have room for 28mm, 30mm tyres.
You get to enjoy rides on both days and of course I’m a fan of red wine so will be visiting some local wineries. I have heard there are some great craft breweries around so will be keen to try some local brews after each ride. Bikes, beers, wine and great cuisine, what else do you need in life?