Thousands don Ly­cra for High­land bike chal­lenge

Course of 81 miles takes in spec­tac­u­lar Perthshire scenery, start­ing and fin­ish­ing in Pit­lochry

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - paul re­och pre­och@the­

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.

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