A GROUP of 120 cyclists will leave this morning for the Zoo2Zoo event, a three-day ride from Sydney's Taronga to Dubbo's Western Plains Zoo to raise funds for the Black Dog Institute and public awareness of depression, bipolar disorder and suicide.
Ride co-ordinator Andrew Mackay said at this stage it had raised just under $150,000 for the Black Dog Institute.
Eight cyclists from the Coonabarabran Cycling Club are part of the group, who are tackling the 437-kilometre trek for the first time.
Max Estens said the group had decided in March to have a go at the ride and had been clocking up the kilometres in training.
Two members took part in the recent 1125-kilometre Tour de Oroc, while last weekend's 115-kilometre Pedal the Peel at Tamworth was a test run for other members.
They see the ride not only as a significant personal achievement but a chance to help an important cause in the Black Dog Institute.
The ride starts from Sydney's Taronga Zoo gates at 5.30am, where the ride groups cover 79 kilometres to make their way from Mosman to Yarramundi Lookout before regrouping about 9.30am for a 30-minute rest stop.
From there the riders make their way to Springwood where the groups will stop, refuel and get updates on any road conditions ahead.
Stage 2 of Day 1 departs Springwood about 11am, with riders making their way to Wentworth Falls where they can again top up for fluids and food at the 117-kilometre mark (about 12.30pm).
The groups then start the ascent to Katoomba where the entire peleton will be given a police escort into the small township of Mount Victoria.
At the end of Day 1, a total distance of 141 kilometres will have been covered by the riders.
Day 2 is the leg from Mount Victoria to Molong, while Day 3 is the 115-kilometre leg from Molong to Dubbo finishing at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
View ride route and arrival/departure times at http://www.zoo2zoo.com/sydney-to-dubbo1.html.
To support the Sydney to Dubbo team people can donate at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/event/Zoo2Zoo2013.
Find out more about the Black Dog Institute at www.blackdoginstitute.org. au.