Off to a Sportive event? 'Racing' a charity event or just going somewhere nice with your bike?


Postby bobhill » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:26 pm

Hello All,

We completed the 'Ride the North' over the past two days in glorious sunshine (saturday) little wind and a little rain (friday). All-in-all good conditions.

Friday's ride started about 09;00 at the Eden Court Centre in Inverness, a bit on the cold side so decisions to make regarding clothing. Some people in shorts and others in full winter gear of tights and jackets. A great mix of rider types and abilities, some obvious racers and leisure cyclists in mountain bikes and tourers. People with massive backpacks or panniers! How do they do that!

The four of us set off together heading south west on the south side of the River Ness and then Loch Ness on the lochside road, then took a sharp left up a hill at about 16 miles. This took us up to the first feed station at an old church at Brogie, Mike Harper had shot off with some other faster guys and did not stop at the feed. So he missed out on the mobile coffee shop which followed us around all of the feed stop - unlimited free coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. Latte, cappacino, etc, whatever you wished. Lots to eat, water and juice bottles.

We headed back north east in the general direction of Inverness at a higher level of about 200 metres and experienced great views of Loch Ness, heading on, skirting around Loch Duntelchaig (I had never heard of it either) and Loch Ruthven to the lunch stop at Farr Community Hall. This was a soup and sandwich lunch with lots of home bakes, all you can eat. Mike Harper was here and we headed off as four again.

The weather had been kind to us so far but that was about to change. Just about a mile before the next stop at Cawdor Castle, Mike Harper suffered a rear tyre blowout which could not be repaired so we cycled on to Cawdor Castle and told the organiser who got someone to Mike and called the service van who arrived a bit later with a spare bike for Mike to complete the day's riding. His bike was taken to a Nairn cycle shop who had a spare tubular tyre, which was fitted and the bike available for the saturday ride.

Anyway, we just got to Cawdor when heavy rain started so we sheltered under trees, took in a couple of latte's, bananas, etc then got on our way after 20 minutes cycling thro' the castle grounds. The roads were wet thereafter so soaking feet. The remainder of the ride was uneventful for us but 15 riders missed a turning as someone had removed directions signs at a right turn and ended up doing an extra 15 miles! It was all on minor roads and we did not have a clue where we were, but followed the signs and arrived at Glen Moray Distillery, Elgin sometime before 16:00. Average speed for the 83 miles was 17.4mph, so not bad at all. Bikes were left overnight in a Distillery stock room and the wet stuff got dried out. Friday night in Elgin was a fairly quiet affair with an early night and early rise.

Saturday was cold again but dry and warmed up throughout the day. Just a bit of a cross wind at times. Minor roads out of Elgin and onto the A941 to the first feed stop at Craigelachie, then on minor roads to the outskirts of Dufftown and minor roads going upwards to Carbrach. This was a very deceptive climb, did not look much until you realised you were struggling a bit (well I was) and the computer said it was up to 10% incline. There was a feed stop here but we cycled through to the lunch stop at Rhynie, again a great spread. Took quite a while there as the organisers were trying to minimise the spread of riders (for the finish really). And of course we had been warned of the fearsome climb over Suie Hill just after Rhynie.

This was a stiff climb at up to 18% and not really as short as we were told, but after that we felt we had completed the worst of it. After a long descent we took in the hills over the 'back o' Bennachie', then Monymusk to the next stop at Castle Fraser, where the sun was really out and the coffee van was there again so we took our time and enjoyed it. After that we headed through Dunecht into the grounds of a country estate skirting around Loch Skene and over to Garlogie. The onto the far west end of Counteswells Road to take us into Aberdeen for the finish at the Gordon Highlanders Museum. Again there was a great reception party laid on. Average speed today was 16.2mph due to the number of hills and tired legs.

It was a great event, very well organised and we all received a 'Ride the North' cycle jersey as a memento. We wore it for the second day and there is a photo attached of us at Castle Fraser on our Just Giving page plus other photos.

We rode it for charity and there is still time to donate to the 'Maggies' appeal at our Just Giving page at

Many Thanks to all who have donated so far. The Ythanites (Bob Hill, Mike Giles, Graham Parley and Mike Harper)
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