Club stalwart back in the saddle for annual Goldfields Cyclassic

Neale HarveyKalgoorlie Miner
Rob Miller pictured in 2017 with his son Shaun.
Camera IconRob Miller pictured in 2017 with his son Shaun. Credit: Mary Meagher/Kalgoorlie Miner

Eleven years after he last contested the annual Goldfields Cyclassic while on a major health kick, Rob Miller is back in the saddle and training hard for the 2024 event on the June long weekend.

Miller boasts an association with the Eastern Goldfields Cycle Club that spans more than 50 years and, at 66 years old, he said the time was right to once again challenge himself in the time-honoured race.

“When I turned 55, I’d hit 97kg and figured it was time to address that and get back on the bike,” Miller said.

“I figured it wasn’t healthy, so I trained for seven months to knock off some weight and started at the line at 85kg.

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“But it was 11 years ago and I’ve been doing a bit of training lately, just bought myself a new bike and thought, ‘stuff it, let’s have another crack at it.’”

In preparation for this year’s event, Miller said he had been training a minimum four times a week.

“I’m doing between 200 and 250km a week, sometimes 300km or thereabouts,” he said.

As the Cyclassic moves into its 95th edition, Miller looked back fondly on the years when he first joined the club’s ranks.

“From the age of 13 when I first started up until the age of 19, when I went bush (for work) I got some individual track titles, a State road championship and had a lot of fun in those years,” he said.

“There were some great riders then and when I was 15, I was very fortunate to be racing with the seniors because there wasn’t a lot of juniors in the town.

“We use to ride handicap races with the seniors which put us in great stead for the State and nationals.”

The Cyclassic is notoriously challenging, with Miller adamant it was a reputation that had been well-earned.

“It’s a hard day in the saddle,” Miller said.

“And all the boys who’ve come across, whether they’ve raced all over Europe or somewhere else, you hear them say, ‘this is a hard race.’

“When you’re (competing) in the mountains or on a winding track, you’re downhill and uphill and get a bit of a break.

“But there’s no protection out there (on the Cyclassic journey) — especially if you get a north-easterly or north-westerly, then you’re in it for entire 130km and the only protection is the rider in front of you.

“It’s a pretty tough race.

“No doubt about that and I’m talking about elite cyclists.”

Miller’s brother Paul, a former European professional and Goldfields Sporting Hall of Fame inductee, won the event in 1990, 1994 and 1997.

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