There were 4 Wheelers doing this event (Ciaran, Ian Stewart, Alan Davidson and myself) on what was a lovely morning, blue sky, crisp and not too windy (compared to what’s it been like). Registration was at the McLaren leisure centre and was fine, a bonus of a High5 pack full of goodies, all included in the bargain price (for sportives) of £17.50. The route had been amended as there was a running event on part of the original route, so was now 83 miles and only over Dukes Pass once – don’t think any of us were upset about that 🙂
The new route was a loop round Thornhill, almost back to Callander, out Doune way and loop back to Thornhill, then on to Cambusbarron, round Carron Valley reservoir to Fintry, Lake of Menteith, Aberfoyle, Dukes Pass and back to Callander.
They were setting us off in small groups, with a rider briefing and warnings that Dukes Pass was icy (not by the time we’d get there though). I was also meeting up with 3 from Kinross CC that I know and the 7 of us made a wee group as we walked through the start tent, over the pavement and on to the road. The signage was spot on with signs before, during and after every junction. The one exception being the very last right turn which most of us missed, adding an extra mile going through Callander rather than round it to the finish – probably had “get home” blinkers on by that point!
Highlight of the early part of the ride was Alan being told we were doing the 83 mile route and not the 54 miles he thought he was – Alan’s previous longest day was 63 miles!
The snow capped hills and the blue sky and the relaxed pace made for a very enjoyable day out. The state of a large part of the roads did not – think Cairan may have changed his mind about wanting to ride Paris Roubaix now! The route was pretty spectacular and had a few wee hills, coming out of Cambusbarron near Stirling was a surprise as it climbed and climbed.
We stuck together all the way round, stopping to regroup after hills, however with cracks appearing as we passed Lake of Menteith, we stopped at the last feed stop and ate cakes until we regrouped. The plan was then to ride the 5 miles to the foot of Dukes Pass and then every man for themselves on the climb and the 10 miles back home.
I enjoyed the climb of Dukes Pass, hadn’t done it before and wasn’t too bad after the initial switchback section. The descent and run back to the finish were excellent, mainly downhill and with a tailwind.
We all made it back safely and agreed it was a cracking day, beautiful route, well organised, but the roads are a pretty shocking state. Well done on Alan on his new PB!
Here’s my Garmin stats to see the route etc :