“The Scottish Bike Show Sportive course is absolutely sensational and rivals any other on the British calendar. There is great variety and it has incredible views of some of Scotland's most beautiful scenery.” – James McCallum
James McCallum, the Commonwealth Games medal-winning cyclist who rides for the Rapha-Condor-Sharp Pro Cycling Team, took time out from his rigorous training schedule to recce the course for the new Scottish Bike Show Sportive.
Scotland's newest long distance mass participation road cycling event will be staged in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park on Sunday 15 April 2012. It is one of the highlights of the expanded Scottish Bike Show, Scotland's consumer cycle show, being staged at the SECC, Glasgow, from Friday 13 to Sunday 15 April 2012.
This is what James had to say about his experience of the 100 mile Sportive ride:
“It's 1 degree on a cold January day and I'm rugged up and about to embark on my recce of the Scottish Bike Show Sportive 100 mile course ahead of the Scottish Bike Show.
“To begin with I make my way over the rolling terrain to the famous Dukes pass that starts on the main street of Aberfoyle. However the journey so far deserves a mention. From Balloch to the Dukes Pass can be deceiving and if it's as windy as it was today this ride will be epic from the off. It is also worth noting that the Dukes Pass is as close as you will get to an alpine climb this close to any city in the UK.
“Its length and gradient can be sapping and even I'm starting to feel it as I hit hairpins less than two kilometres into the climb. As you make the summit the view that greets you is absolutely spectacular. It makes you think you were in the Highlands when in fact you are little more than an hour outside the city by car.
“The descent is invigorating as the climb with swooping corners coming at you in quick succession. A word to the wise, watch out for the potholes – winter's not been kind up here. At the base of Loch Katrine we take a right on to the Loch side and so the rolling course continues with a few short sharp digs on the road to Callander. The road surface here again needs some attention but that will add a lot to the race.
“From Callander we hit the side of Loch Lubnaig, which looks pretty weather-beaten today but if it's calm then the reflection of the valley will be beautiful. Next it is on to Lochearnhead where you hit the next major climb of the day: Glen Ogle.
“This is definitely one of my favourite climbs but it can get busy with holiday traffic. This valley brings back great memories from my childhood when, as a fourteen-year-old out riding on family holidays. Today, it is very different with a savage wind hitting me and slowing down by ascent.
“Crianlarich brings us to the half-way point of the journey and then it's on to the flat, fast and mainly down hill road along Loch Lomond. It is here that the tail winds really start to kick in now and I can feel that I'm making some real progress on my journey.
“Next it's a right turn and we hit Loch Long at the base of the 'Rest and be Thankful' that takes you to Dunoon. The terrain starts to kick in a bit now with some hard little snaps on the way up to the Green Kettle pub at the Loch's end.
“At this stage it's definitely important to still have something left in the tank as the next section to the finish in Balloch is very difficult and has plenty to test even the strongest cyclist. Again, this road is pretty tricky and should be in the back of all the competitors' minds as this will make or break you.
“Finally after just under 6 hours, 4 bottles of water and several energy bars I see Loch Lomond on the horizon as I descend back to Balloch.
“The Scottish Bike Show Sportive course is absolutely sensational and rivals any other on the British calendar. There is great variety and it has incredible views of some of Scotland's most beautiful scenery.
“Good luck everyone that is taking part. You'll love it.”
Organisers of the Scottish Bike Show are delighted to announce Cyclosport (http://www.cyclosport.org/) as the Official Sportive Media Partner. Cyclosport aims to give their rapidly growing community immediate and full access to all that is happening in the cyclosportive scene globally – whether rider or organiser. Cyclosport is run and managed by cycling fanatics. They love to see the sport grow, be professional, safe and fun.
Taking in some of Scotland's most beautiful glen, loch and mountain landscapes The Scottish Bike Show Sportive offers two challenging routes, a 100-mile Sportive ride and a 65-mile Challenge ride. Both fully signed and marshalled rides will test all round biking skills and fitness levels with some tough long climbs and fast descents throughout.
Entries to The Scottish Bike Show Sportive are open to all cyclists aged 17 and over and start at £22.50 for the Challenge Ride and £26.50 for the Sportive Ride; with discounts available for group bookings. Full entry and booking details can be found on the website – http://www.thescottishbikeshow.com/. Entries to the Sportive will also include entry to The Scottish Bike Show.
The Prostate Cancer Charity is the official charity partner of The Scottish Bike Show Sportive. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. 37,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. 250,000 men are currently living with the disease. Organisers hope that all riders taking part will raise funds to help save men's lives. For further information on Prostate Cancer and The Prostate Cancer Charity go to: http://www.prostate-cancer.org.uk.