Want to ride with a true cycling legend? Well on the 31st of July you'll be spoilt for choice because that's the day Graeme Obree and Eddy Merckx go head to head, well sort of, as both launch their own sportive rides at opposite ends of the country. We'll give you details of The Cannibal's Grand Sportive in a separate story, but first here's what you need to know about the first ever Graeme Obree Classic Sportive…
Designed to give riders a taste of what West Ayrshire has to offer including what the organisers describe as some of the most cycle friendly roads in Scotland and of course the chance to ride with the area's most famous cycling son, Graeme Obree is certainly enthused about the event that bears his name:
"This will be the first year of, what we anticipate will become, an annual event and a celebration of cycling. The Headquarters will be at Auchincruive College just east of Ayr which allows direct access to some of Scotland’s finest cycling roads and most beautiful scenery. A landscape that inspired The Bard, Rabbie Burns, to commit to poem his feelings and me to take up cycling as a youngster. I love these roads, many of which were a feature part of the old Girvan Three Day International Event."
On offer are three different rides, a free 10 mile family fun ride and two more challenging sportive courses. All of the rides set off from Auchincruive College with the family ride following a leisurely route down to the seafront in Ayr mostly on cycle tracks and paths - it's very much designed with children in mind… and did we mention that the family ride is free? Bargain.
Entry for the other two rides is £35 and that gets you feed stops, mechanics on hand at the event HQ, police outriders and marshals on the route - it also gets you the chance to spend time on the road with not one but two legends of cycling…
In a bid to make things more female friendly Yvonne McGregor will be leading a women only group around the medium route which covers a 45 mile loop starting at Auchincruive then heading south then south east before routing back to the start fitting in 2000ft of climbing along the way.
If you want to go longer there is a 66 mile Endurance ride which follows much of the same route as the medium ride, but with the addition of an extra leg down to the south crossing the famous Nick o the Balloch climb before switching back up via Straiton and Dalmellington to return to Auchincruive for the finish. The organisers promise energy sapping roads, magnificent scenery and technical descents as the route takes you across the moorlands high above South Ayrshire. Sounds good, and better stil,l Graeme Obree will be leading the ride covers the roads he trained on as a youngster.
The event is slated to start between 0730 and 0930 and if you want to make a day of it, you can - organisers anticipate that the last riders will be getting back at 1700.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.