This Sunday the inaugural Graeme Obree Classic Sportive will set off from Auchincruive College in South Ayrshire with over 250 cyclists tacking the 65 or 45 mile ride options.
The endurance route is set to challenge the strongest riders with 65 miles of energy-sapping roads heading south and south east, crossing the famous Nick o’ the Balloch climb before switching back up via Straiton and Dalmellington to return to Auchincruive for the finish.
The Flying Scotsman himself will lead this ride across many of the roads he trained on as a youngster. The course has 3750 feet of climbing and some very technical descents and traverses amidst magnificent scenery across the moorlands, high above Ayrshire.
Graeme said: “This will be the first year of what we anticipate will become an annual event and I would like to thank South Ayrshire Council for their assistance and input in making this event possible.
“I am really looking forward to getting out on my bike with so many people who share a common passion - cycling. I know the roads well and hopefully we are in for a challenge and a treat. My thanks are also due to Yvonne Mcgregor, Kate Cullen, Billy Bilsland, Jamie McGahan and Jim Gladwell for coming out to support the sportive".
But as well as Graeme, who was twice the UCI World Hour Record Holder and twice the World 4000m Pursuit Champion, riders will be in other exalted company including:
• Yvonne McGregor, Olympic bronze medallist, Commonwealth Games gold medallist, World Hour Record Holder & World Pursuit Champion.
• Kate Cullen, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and British National Track Champion.
• Billy Bilsland, Olympian and continental professional with the Peugeot and TI Raleigh squads.
• Jamie McGahan, Multiple Scottish road race champion and winner of the Scottish Milk Race and the Irish Ras
• Jim Gladwell, Scotland international and Commonwealth Games representative
For the longer event registration will be from 08.00 – 09.00 and participants will be released in groups of around 40 riders at 5 minute intervals from 09.00 as follows:
09.00 Group 1 (65 miles led by Graeme Obree)
09.05 Group 2 (65 miles led by Billy Bilsland)
09.10 Group 3 (65 miles led by Jamie McGahan)
09.15 Group 4 (65 miles led by Jim Gladwell)
09.20 Group 5 (65 miles)
09.25 Group 6 (65 miles)
To see the 65 Mile endurance route visit: http://gb.mapometer.com/en/cycling/route_1237492.html
The shorter intermediate ride also starts at Auchincruive and heads south, then south east before routing back to Auchincruive. This ride will feature a women’s only cycling group led by multiple World Champion and World Record Holder Yvonne McGregor
Registration will be from 08.00 - 09.15 and participants will be released in two groups at 5 minute intervals
09.30 Group 7 (45 miles led by Yvonne McGregor)
09.35 Group 8 (45 miles led by Kate Cullen)
To see the 45 Mile intermediate route visit: http://gb.mapometer.com/en/cycling/route_1243737.html
There will also be a free-to-enter leisurely 10 mile family run providing an opportunity to bring out the kids and let them experience an organised cycle event in safe surroundings
Registration will open at 10.00am with the route open from 10.30 till 13.00.
Councillor Bill McIntosh, the Leader of South Ayrshire Council added his backing for the Sportive: “We are very enthusiastic about The Graeme Obree Classic Sportive, it will further raise the profile of cycling in South Ayrshire, and we are keen to work with the organisers to make this event a success,” he said.
“With stunning scenery and a great range of cycle paths South Ayrshire is a fun and safe place to cycle either to and from work, as a leisure pursuit or as a competitive sport. I would encourage people to take part or go and watch what I know will be an outstanding event.”
Yvonne McGregor added: “I can’t wait for the Sportive. Graeme has often spoken of the routes he had around Ayrshire and I am delighted to lend a hand at what I hope is the first of many Obree sportives.”