CYCLISTS of all ages and abilities are already gearing up for the Buderim 9 Challenge this December, a fierce test of climbing endurance aimed at raising money and awareness for cerebral palsy.
The event challenges riders to conquer up to nine of Buderim's steepest hills in three hours on December 18, but it isn't a race.
In fact, the most contested and prestigious trophy cyclists compete for is the one awarded to the rider who has raised the most funds through sponsorship of their personal challenge.
Josh Paix, who lives with cerebral palsy, is a regular participant and has taken home the title of fundraising champion for two years running.
But his father, Sunshine Coast Cycling Club vice-president Greg Paix, who has been organising the challenge since its inception in 2011, said it was not just about the money.
"It's about the camaraderie and community spirit more than anything," he said.
"The hill challenge is designed for anybody to have a go at, whether you do one hill or all nine, and we encourage anyone to ride it."
"And look, if we can equal last year's efforts, that would be great too."
"The fundraising is almost secondary to it, the main part is just about participation and showing these kids with cerebral palsy you can get involved."
In collaboration with the Cerebral Palsy League and Argon Law, the cycling club last year raised more than $16,000 through the event to support children and families living with the condition.
The club's ex-president David Wighton said he was looking forward to challenging himself, both to beat Josh's highest fundraiser title and to show solidarity with the kids there.
"When you live with cerebral palsy, you're challenged every day just to do the basic stuff," he said.
"To be challenged on the bike, it's tough but it's nothing like living with it."
"I've told Josh, 'That's enough, I'm going to win [the trophy] this year'."
More than 300 riders are anticipated to take part, and the club reminds motorists to bear the event in mind when out driving on the day.
To sponsor a rider or register yourself, visit http://www.buderim9.com.au
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