A vicious heat wave baked Western Australia on Sunday, and its timing could not be any worse for riders in the 5 Dams Challenge gran fondo.
Australia’s premier one-day event saw temperatures reach 42C (108F), making the event a race of survival just to reach the finish line. For 205 kilometres sweat poured off foreheads, quads cramped on every rise and hearts raced to cool hot bodies.
Leaving at daybreak to try and beat the searing heat, 40+ year-old Elar Kalda completed the 5 Dams route fastest, crossing the final timing strip at 12:01:19 for a total time of 5:47:46 at an average speed of 35.4kph.
Kalda is no stranger to finishing on the podium. In 2019 he finished third at the Amy’s Gran Fondo, a UCI Gran Fondo World Championship qualifying race.
Unfortunately, the damn heat was not the only challenge riders had to battle, event timing was off, leaving riders to rely on their own handlebar cyclo-computers for results. Timing data collected by Blue Chip Timing on the course was incomplete, inaccurate and did not calculate overall rider time by simply subtracting the difference between start and finish times.
Published results list the first fifteen riders finishing as finishing with a mind-boggling average speed of 60+ kph!
Nonetheless, below are the raw data results for 1700 participants in not only the 205km 5 Dams, but also the 135km 3 Dams and 54km 2 Dams routes.
2021 Dams Challenge Western Australia results here.