Tag Archives: cyclosportive

Scottish Bike Show 2013 news

The Scottish Bike Show is back for its 3rd year at the brand new Emirates Arena & Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, home to The Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014. “Next year is going to be special” said Rowan Mackie, Magdala Media. “The recent success of the ‘Thunderdrome’ event and ‘Track Cycling World Cup’ has already put this new venue on the map as a world leading facility and I am sure this is only start of things to come.”

Confirmed exhibitors to date, Madison, Upgrade Bikes, Condor, Alpine Bikes, Ronde Bicycle Outfitters, Eurobike, Keela, Cycling Scotland, Scottish Cycling, Schwalbe, C4C and a host more will be attending the 2013 show.

The recently launched SBS website boasts many new features for the 2013 show. A larger exhibition hall @ 6,000 sq metres, full use of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome for the visiting general public to enjoy taster sessions throughout the weekend of 27th – 28th April and a 1 kilometre outside test track as a demo area to test ride a multitude of road, commuter and mountain bikes. To compliment this, SBS 2013 will be providing a presentation area for cycling stars past and present, free spinning classes, kids play area, a huge BMX display from Scottish outfit BSD Forever, with Mackie promising even more features still to be confirmed.

On the following Sunday, 5th May – the 2nd annual SBS Sportive will take place around Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, starting at Balloch Castle with a choice of either 65 or 100 mile routes. Over 870 entrants completed the inaugural event in April and next year both entries offer excellent value at under £30.00 per rider. Nutritional sponsor High 5 & Hydration sponsor Gatorade will provide all riders with plenty of options at the 5 feed stations to keep their electrolytes buzzing to the finish line. Additional sponsors and partners confirmed, Cyclosport, Kinesis, Ronde, Braveheart and Loch Lomond National Park Authority.

Anyone can ride the Tour

A quick post to say ‘hats off’ to David Waddell who is riding the Tour de Force, where amateur riders can do the entire route of the Tour, a few days ahead of the race itself.

Here he is a couple of days ago, atop the first Hors Categorie climb, with many more to go. Good luck to David and all the other participants.

The participants have plenty of backup, with food, mechanics, masseurs and medical support but even with all that, it’s a massive achievement. Some days they have been riding until 9pm at night!

It struck me the other day, while watching a sprinter’s stage, that even a flat 200km would take a lot out of my legs. So massive respect is due to all the people taking part in the Tour de Force.

It’s not only an athletic challenge- huge amounts of money are raised for charity- one participant bringing in over £25,000 on his own.

Follow David on twitter @traceheating

Scottish author of cycling books, Richard Moore

Cycling author Richard Moore on Scotland and Slaying the Badger

I spoke to Scottish author Richard Moore in 2012, before he appearing in Aberfeldy, two nights before the Etape Caledonia sportive, Scotland’s biggest cycling event. He discussed his book Slaying the Badger, which covers the careers of Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinault, focusing on the 1986 Tour de France, where they went head-to-head as teammates.

Richard Moore appearing at the Watermill bookshop

Hi Richard, you’re appearing at the Watermill bookshop in Aberfeldy, on the eve of the Etape Caledonia, what are you planning to speak about?
I’m mainly going to speak about — and maybe read a bit from — Slaying the Badger. However, I will also talk about Sky’s the Limit. It’s about to come out in paperback with a couple of new chapters on last season… and a bit of looking ahead to how the whole Cavendish / Wiggins thing might work out. Or not.

[Update: 2012 went well for Wiggins at Sky, as we now know, but not so well for Cavendish. Wiggins won the Dauphine, Tour, and Olympic time trial. Although Cav won three tour stages, including the final one on the Champs Elysees, he was frustrated in coming nowhere near challenging for the green jersey. Sky putting full backing behind Wiggin’s GC campaign left the sprinter freelancing for sprint wins, and he later fell well short in the Olympic road race as the British team were overpowered in a gruelling contest.]
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Graeme Obree to open Etape Caledonia 2011

Graeme Obree, aka The Flying Scotsman, has confirmed he will open this year’s Macmillan Cancer Support Etape Caledonia cycle challenge – immediately after bearing formal witness to the start line nuptials of fundraisers Rick Millin & Jo Louden who will tie the knot in front of 5000 participants in the UK’s biggest closed road cycling event.

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Alternative sportives for 2011

Few British cyclists should need to be told what the Etape Caledonia is. Many more will be familiar with Hands on Events rides that include the Bealach Beag and Mor, Skye Sportive and Cairngorm 100.

An event that might be less well known, but would be worth considering for your 2011 calendar is the Ken Laidlaw, run out of Hawick. The Sportive Kinross in Perthshire, another new event, is already sold out.

The Ken Laidlaw, named after the first Scot to ride the Tour, is a 100 mile ride that takes in several stiff climbs. It has been run by Hawick Cycling Club for the past three years and will take place on the 21st August in 2011.

Sportive Kinross, now in its second year, was run as an informal unsupported event in 2010 but has stepped up to include three routes of varying difficulty, event photographs, a charity partner, timing and event sponsorship. A twitter account is a nice touch.

sportive kinross

Sportive Kinross
The Ken Laidlaw (cyclosport.org)
Etape Caledonia
Hands on Events

Pic of the day: Ken Laidlaw 2010

This shot was taken by Ian Bell as part of the 2010 Ken Laidlaw sportive.  The event was honoured by Ken Laidlaw himself, returning to Hawick, the town of his birth, from the USA to lead off around 400 riders. A nice touch was the photos taken by Ian and one other photographer, that were made available to the riders free of charge.

More on that event to come.

edit – added a few more pics from the great gallery of the 2010 ride.

Ken Laidlaw 2010

Pic of the day: humongous hill repeats

Today’s pic is a view of the Bealach-na-Ba, a monster climb in Wester Ross that I have written about several times before. Although the pic is a standard view back down the valley, it is the accompanying text that I think provides more interest (see below).

A clubmate has been training for la Marmotte sportive in the alps and my jaw dropped slightly when I saw his latest facebook update:

Last minute preparation for the Alps. 5 ascents of Bealach-na-ba. 3 from Applecross, 2 from Tournapress; sea level to 640m each time and max gradient over 20%. Felt good; now having Pizza in Aviemore with the family. Excellent!

Once up the Bealach is more than enough for most people but five times in one day, back-to-back is something else. Chapeau to my clubmate Paul Harradine, who is a climbing beast and devours the toughest sportives around (e.g the Dave Lloyd Mega Challenge). He recently did the Dragon Ride on a heavy steel cyclocross bike, after his Lightspeed Ti frame gave out on him. I hope you’ve got something lighter for July!

Scottish Climbs: The Devil’s Beeftub

At first glance you might be forgiven for thinking The Devil’s Beeftub is a cruel name for a road – a way of goading the non-climbers with poor physique.

And described as a 5 mile long, steady climb, it might also seem The Devil’s Beeftub is a only worth blogging for the name. However, the scenery is reportedly pretty spectacular, and I’m told there is normally a tailwind, so it can probably be tackled in the big ring. Legal note: weather may vary and The Drum-Up cannot be held responsible for soul-destroying headwinds!

Above: @jez_hastings riding with the West Lothian Clarion on The Devil’s Beeftub

It’s also part of a Southern Uplands sportive that was suggested to me by @gear_ratio, which was recommended for a series of good climbs and great scenery.

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Graeme Obree at Etape Caledonia

Graeme Obree was seen at last weekend’s Etape Caledonia by @macluskie, who grabbed this great shot of him in Fullarton Wheelers kit, surrounded by pleased-looking VC Glasgow South riders.

He chatted for a while to people about how good the event was and being at Lance Armstrong’s first Twitter ride in Paisley.

Obree told Tayside & Fife newspaper The Courier:

“It’s been a fantastic day and the whole town has turned out to make the atmosphere really special.

“It’s not like a real race because the cyclists can work together on the closed roads and provide each other with the support they need.”

Full article here, with additional photos from rider @b_cran

Pic of the day: Bealach Beag (and report)

The image is of me with around 10 miles remaining of the 43 on the rolling lumpy headlands on the north side of the Applecross peninsula. I have blogged it from the website of highly accomplished photographer Steve Carter, who has kindly posted several other excellent photos of the Bealach Beag 2010.

This is some of the hardest sections of the route- the Bealach has already sapped your legs, and you will probably have overcooked it a little on the beginning of the flattish return section. Then comes a series of short but very steep inclines, followed by descents that prevent you from getting any momentum up. In total the ride covers 6500 feet of climbing.

It was sunny and clear but there was also a chill wind in the air- hence my decision to wear the gilet and armwarmers. My head was overheating up the climb and I had to take my cap off and roll down the armwarmers on the climb (that’s why they are all over the place). I could probably have done without them, but then coming down off a 2000 foot climb is a bit chilly.

The fetching yellow bib was issued to all riders for safety reasons, allowing participants’ numbers to be viewed from the front and rear. This was to allay the safety concerns of the Applecross community council, who on the 2009 event, when emergency access to an ill competitor was less than swift due to riders being too focused on their times and not clearing the road for an ambulance. Everyone wore the bibs and just got on with it though, and I was not aware of any bad vibes whatsoever from the locals.

You can buy photos of the Bealach Beag at Northsport Photography’s website. Unfortunately though the galleries aren’t searchable by race number like last year, so the riders might not browse the gallery to find their own photos.

The ride itself went fantastically well – it was sunny and clear and I was too hot at several moments. I overdressed after last year’s windy, wet and cold day. My friend Ian Wallace and I gave our other companion Chris a head start before setting off along the first section, reaching the bottom of the Bealach several minutes ahead on last year. There is the inevitable jostling as fast riders pick their way through the traffic and chancers jump onto strong wheels.

We charged up the mountain, choosing some strong people to follow and picking up an entourage of our own, but before the hairpins I lost Ian’s wheel, and that was the last I saw of him until the finish. I was overheating and struggled to unzip my jacket, unclip my helmet and take off my cap on the steep gradients. I rode in in 37:47, five minutes faster than 2009.

Coming off the mountain is hairy stuff, with some well-placed marshalls keeping riders speed down on the precipitous bends. At the bottom, I thanked the feed station volunteers but didn’t stop, instead scoffing a banana as about a dozen riders massed on my wheel into the headwind. Eventually a bit of wheeling about got going, largely due to some vociferous gesturing by a Kiwi guy called Brad. For the next 10 miles this group worked together until the climbs started, and after only a couple of lumps the ones working were reduced to three or four.

There’s a bit of debate as to whether it’s cool to sit in a group in a sportive, but I wasn’t bothered by the hangers-on: I got an big boost of adrenaline knowing that all these people were following me, and to their cost perhaps, it propelled me up the series of short punchy climbs that come thick and fast along the north side of the Applecross peninsula. I felt really good but probably overcooked it. Kiwi Brad stayed with me but was playing it cautious, and when he came through I was too tired to go with him. I still had plenty of strength left to finish though, and was well pleased with my time of 2:35:53.

The scenery on this ride is absolutely stunning, and on more than one occasion I wondered how much I was missing as I looked over to Skye and north to Torridon, all the while pushing on for a good time. I already mentioned the Appelcross community council’s concerns that Hands On Events even publish the finishing times, but we all know that cyclists tend to be competitive beasts by nature, at the very least wanting to compete with their selves if not their fellow participants.

So I have edited an xcel file of the Bealach Beag 2010 finish times, with Autofilters so you can sort by name, number, finish time and hill time. I was 19th fastest and 17th up the Bealach-na-ba: pretty proud of that. You’ll notice that the 2nd, 3rd and 4th riders did not clock in at the bottom and top of the hill- some of these people are really going for it and take it quite seriously. Quickest participant Tom Owens did ‘dib’ though, and still finished with 4 minutes to spare.