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Long ride marks the end of an era for St Eddies boys

A group of Year 12 students from St Edmunds College have taken part in a 17-year tradition under gruelling conditions, riding their bikes from the school gate to Schoolies on the Gold Coast.

The students swapped their school books for bikes for the Skool 2 Skoolies bike ride on Friday.

The temperature gauge tipped 40 degrees with an on-road temperature of 42 degrees as 16 school leavers spent their final day of school riding 115km to Surfers Paradise.

Under police escort the riders rode in two-man lines formations that took a year of training to perfect.

The riders had been training three times a week at council’s new riding facility Ipswich Cycle Park to pull of the feat.

The 1.3km track loop allowed the students to develop cycling skills without the added complication of traffic.

Skool 2 Skoolies organiser and teacher Michael Podolak said the facility made a huge difference to training this year.

“We trained there predominantly for the first six months of the year,” Mr Podolak said.

“It was a safe way to teach bike handling, road safety and cycling skills like taking a sip of water while doing 30km half a metre off the person in front of you.”

The students raised $32,000 for charity through local sponsorship, a golf day, chocolate and softdrink sales as well as receiving an Ipswich City Council community grant.

Mr Podolak said the team motto is: One last effort, one last chance to give back on our last day.

“The money will be split between the Ipswich Hospice, St. Vincents and the Edmund Rice Foundation,” Mr Podolak said.

“A lot of local businesses supported us and we want to keep as much of it in Ipswich as possible.”

Five awards were given at the end of the ride.

The student who raised the most money went to Dylan Palmer.

The student who accumulated the most kilometres in training was Jeremy Suthers.

The race up a steep hill at Eatons Landing was won by Nick Just.

The most improved rider went to Zack Butcher.

The Mr Skool 2 Skoolies award was given to Deakin Jennings, the cyclist who was the best all-rounder.

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