Cyclo-sportive: Sportive Kinross
Early climb, Kinross Sportive 2011
When and where: Perthshire and Kinross, April 23 2011
Distance: 45/79/87 miles
Major climbs: 8
First finisher: 4-43/3-23/2-27
Last finisher: 8-24/7-59/6-16
Best: Stunning routes
While the rest of the UK was bathed in glorious sunshine, the fabulous spring weather took leave for the day in Kinross, though this didn't lessen the impact of the Sportive Kinross or dampen the spirit of its riders.
Six hundred riders left the spacious surroundings of Loch Leven Community Campus on a choice of three well planned routes, 45 (blue), 79 (red) and 87 (black) miles. All three routes took to the peaceful roads around Loch Leven before some lumpy lanes prepared cold legs to ascend the Lomond climb and pass through the lovely village of Falkland. Flatter roads took riders up to pretty Lindores Loch and west to Aberargie, where the 45-mile route headed for home via Glenfarg.
The 79-mile red route continued west to skirt Auchterarder before resisting the temptation to don chequered slacks for a round at Gleneagles, instead focusing on the 2.5-mile climb away from the famous golf course. A gradual descent and flat roads returned riders to the Loch Leven HQ.
The 87-mile route was a climber's delight! Organisers crafted the route to fit in some of the prettiest and most challenging climbs in the area. The climb of Pathstruie started with a steep hairpin before easing into a steady climb; once over the top riders took the quiet lane into Dunning and swung south.
On to the longest climb of the day, Dunning Common (three-and-a-half miles), from the top of the long route climbers were rewarded with an enjoyable descent into Glendevon; no doubt very pretty in good weather!
The long route returned to Kinross via Knockhill and the forest climb of Cleish Hill, with its tricky wet descent that delivered riders to a flat run back to the headquarters.
In what could well be the record for the most damp cyclists ever gathered together, the Loch Leven Community Campus provided the perfect place for riders to refuel with the excellent post-ride food and discuss a strategy for getting decent weather next year. Good weather would make an already great ride near perfect.
Event website: www.sportive-kinross.co.uk