Thousands don Lycra for Highland bike challenge
Course of 81 miles takes in spectacular Perthshire scenery, starting and finishing in Pitlochry
Thousands of cyclists are descending on Highland Perthshire this weekend to take part in the Marie Curie Etape Caledonia.
Set over 81 miles tomorrow, the ride begins and finishes in Pitlochry, skirts past Loch Rannoch and Loch Tummel and includes a steep climb at Schiehallion.
Now in its eleventh year, the Etape will feature more than 5,000 cyclists, with a host of fundraising activities organised for participants over the weekend. This includes a pasta party, which will be held today, in 40-minute slots, between noon and 6pm.
In addition, there will be a Q and A session with Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman.
Entry to the event includes feed stations, with water, hot drinks and snacks, an event village with food, drink and shopping, complimentary bike mechanical services, a finisher medal and a complimentary finisher certificate download.
The Etape marks part of a busy season of cycling events in Perth and Kinross. This has seen the Dunkeld Enduro already take place, and the focus will soon switch to Coupar Angus with the town’s cycling festival scheduled for June 10 and 11.
Councillor Ian Campbell, leader of Perth and Kinross Council, said he had been involved with Etape Caledonia since its inception. He said: “Although some people had some concerns at first, Etape has turned out to be one of the major sporting events in the Scottish calendar, and I’m delighted it has done so well.”
Mass participation events don’t come too much more gruelling then the Etape Caledonia in Highland Perthshire. The closed roads event attracts thousands of cyclists every year, with the 2017 event — to be held tomorrow — again boasting a bumper entry.
There may be a few saddle sores come the end of the weekend, but it seems nothing will deflate the enthusiasm of riders.
More than 5,000 cyclists will take part in the Etape tomorrow.