Catch the Grinduro ad­ven­ture on TV

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Ar­ran will be shown in all its glory when the Grinduro bike en­durance event is shown on TV this week­end.

The bike chal­lenge with a dif­fer­ence will be shown on The Ad­ven­ture Show on BBC2 Scot­land at 7pm to­mor­row (Sun­day).

It was filmed over the week­end of July 14 when the Scot­tish event was staged for the sec­ond time on Ar­ran.

‘It’s not a suf­fer­fest,’ says co-pre­sen­ter Dougie Vipond, ‘but a great so­cial event and a chance to take part in a ma­jor 83km bik­ing en­durance event which isn’t quite so com­pet­i­tive.’

How­ever, par­tic­i­pants who do like the chal­lenge of com­pet­ing have to push hard on four sep­a­rate timed stages if they want to win. The rest of the time the par­tic­i­pants can just en­joy the ride, in amaz­ing scenery and weather, with time to re­cover and so­cialise in be­tween sec­tions.

The event takes place off road over as­phalt, on gravel paths through forests and on some roads. It at­tracts many in­ter­na­tional par­tic­i­pants rid­ing dif­fer­ent kinds of bikes.

More than 240 par­tic­i­pants came from far and wide for this year’s event. Many trav­elled more than 5,000 miles to take part, com­ing from the USA, Aus­tralia, the Czech Re­pub­lic, the Nether­lands and Bel­gium as well as Scot­land, Ire­land and Eng­land.

The first event took place in Cal­i­for­nia, four years ago, where or­gan­iser racer Dain Zaf­fke wanted to com­bine all bik­ing skills in one su­per-sized sin­gle event.

He said: ‘Grinduro is such a va­ri­ety of things. Yes, you have to have some en­durance, you also have to be a skilled descen­der. You have to have fit­ness to climb and it suits all dif­fer­ent kinds of bikes. Dif­fer­ent bikes will feel ap­pro­pri­ate over dif­fer­ent stages.’

But the aim is to put the fun back in to bike rid­ing events and get back to the sim­plic­ity – on roads, on moun­tains and ap­peal to all. It’s also a very so­cia­ble event, un­like some where you turn up, com­pete, then go home again. There is a big so­cial el­e­ment to it be­fore any of the rac­ing week­end be­gins. And in the rest and re­cov­ery stages be­tween the com­pet­i­tive timed sec­tions there’s plenty of time to make new friends.

The tele­vi­sion cov­er­age is by Scot­land’s own in­de­pen­dent tele­vi­sion com­pany Ad­ven­ture Show Pro­duc­tions. One of the pre­sen­ters, Richard Craw­ford, was also a com­peti­tor with a cam­era mounted on his bike. ‘The type of rider this ap­peals to is dif­fer­ent. In be­tween the timed sec­tions of the event, there is the chance to en­joy the scenery as you ride,’ he said.

In the pro­gramme, as well as on the event, you will see the best views Ar­ran has to of­fer, from rugged moun­tains to a sweep­ing coast­line. For the first timed sec­tion, start­ing from Lam­lash, it’s the ‘fire road of fury’, start­ing with a short climb, then the high speed down­hill dash 2.5kms on a grav­elly road. The sec­ond timed sec­tion is out of Brod­ick and on a lung-buster climb through a for­est. The third timed sec­tion is a 5.5km rolling chal­lenge and in the fi­nal it’s a fast tech­ni­cal sin­gle track de­scent, dodg­ing trees ‘roots and rocks’.

Many of the par­tic­i­pants are in­ter­viewed along the way and fea­ture in the TV pro­gramme in­clud­ing those in the top three of the leader board. Irish woman Fi­ola Ni Fhoghlu, a for­mer pro­fes­sional ath­lete who took up bik­ing of all sorts, tells the story of try­ing track cy­cling, road rac­ing, cross bike and moun­tain bik­ing. She com­ments that when run­ning it’s much harder to be so­cia­ble but she en­joys the peo­ple side of bik­ing where they are not so out of breath to talk.

Cal­i­for­nian Ty­de­man Newman, from the birth­place of Grinduro, who fin­ished in the men’s top three, says: ‘You’re not rac­ing the whole time.

‘You’re rid­ing and hav­ing a good time, hang­ing out with your friends. You’re just rac­ing for lit­tle bits here and there.

‘There’s this crazy con­cept that ev­ery­one came up with. It’s just so much more fun than a nor­mal race. But you still get to race them and feel you want to beat them.’

The Ad­ven­ture Show goes out on BBC2 Scot­land at 7pm to­mor­row (Sun­day). It is also avail­able on FreeSat and Sky and later on the BBC iPlayer.


And they’re off at the start of the Grinduro race.


Co-pre­sen­ter Dougie Vipond in front of the mass com­pe­ti­tiors at the high school base.

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