The first Sportive of the year and the weather was pretty good – sunshine and dry, a bit chilly after Majorca though and certainly windier.
The HQ is the new school at Kinross and is a great facility with lots of parking at or near by and showers / changing facilities. I got there sharp without any detours up farm tracks trying to avoid the road works (eh Kate 🙂 ) but there was already a lot of folks getting ready.
Sign on was busy, but well organised, a common theme for the day, as Kinross CC do put on a good event. Electronic timing chip was a sticker on the helmet and a number for the bike and that was me good to go.
I bumped into Neil Crawford who invited me to tag along with him and some friends he was riding with (3 others). Then met Brian and Kate and we joined the queue to start. We were all mentioning how we were still recovering from Majorca and the legs weren’t quite there yet – the usual stuff… The start is in batches of 20 or so every minute so there is a queue to get going, but it moves along okay and it was dry and sunny.
So the 7 of us all started at the same time. It was about 10 seconds later I regretted saying I would ride with Neil’s friends as they shot out the start like a chaingang. Think Kate was dropped before we left the car park! As we sped along at 25mph my legs and lungs were busted and I did manage to mention this to Neil and Brian and so we eased slightly and let one of the group speed into the distance. That left 5 of us, soon to be 4, and we stayed together now, keeping it steady with everyone helping to push us along.
The route is a tale of two halves. The first half is fairly flat with just the easier side of Lomond Hill to climb before dropping to Falkland and following the Fife Reliability route round to Newburgh and Aberargie. Then the lumpy stuff starts, with what seemed a constant stream of shortish sharp hills (Wicks o’ Baiglie, Stronachie, Pathstruie) before dropping down to Dunning for the feed station. By the time we approached Dunning there were sore legs and I didn’t stop as I didn’t think I would get going again. The others did stop and so I set off up Dunning hill on my own.
The Dunning hill climb was timed which is a nice idea. It’s a good steady 3+ miles with no big pitches in gradient so you can get a good rhythm. After the climb is a descent down to Yetts and then round to Saline and some rolling roads and on up to Knockhill. By this point my legs were finished, but still Cleish Hill to come (I will not be breaking any records for my time up it)!
I knew from Cleish it was about 7 miles to the end, downhill with a flat run in, but today it was a headwind home! The last 3 miles into the wind had me really suffering and I was sooooo glad to enter Kinross and back to the HQ.
At the finish there was a souvenir mug, coaster and bag and some hot food, cakes and drinks. A much needed sit down and catch up as we recounted the tales of the day.
All in all a very well organised event, a cracking tough route, recommend it (but you need to register on the day it opens as it is very popular and sells out in hours).
Times are in, noticed in the results that Stevie and Karen Knight were there too, here’s the Dundee folks (apologies if anyone else was there and I missed you):
Here’s a photo I found too, look at the fun we are having 😉
Here’s my Garmin info, but it was playing up again – official stats are 88 miles and 7,000 feet of climbing.