Former Hour Record holder and two-time world individual pursuit champion Graeme Obree has launched a new sportive. The inaugural edition timed to coincide with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to enable cyclists visiting Scotland for that event to combine it with a ride with one of the sport’s legends.
Called the Flying Scotsman Sportive – the name taken from Obree’s nickname, which was also the title of his autobiography and the film based on it starring Johnny Lee Miller – the event takes place on Saturday 2 August, the day before the Commonwealth Games road races, and starts and finishes in Galston, East Ayrshire.
The route takes in roads that Obree trained on in the early years of his career, and two route options are available – the 44-mile Old Faithful (route), and The Beastie (route), 78 miles in length, the names taking from two of his record-breaking bikes.
Both include sharp climbs and steep descents, and the routes have been planned to follow mainly traffic-free roads, as Obree explains: “We are really fortunate that in and around Kilmarnock there are miles and miles of quiet roads where you can cycle till your heart is content and hardly ever see a car.
“When I cycled over the Old Faithful route recently, once I was off the main road, I came across 3 cars and a tractor in almost 2 hours of cycling – it was not too difficult to keep a count with such a low volume of traffic and that allowed me to really enjoy the cycle without the pressure from traffic.
“The climbs and descents are of the short to medium and sharp variety and will offer a stern test to all riders and I would strongly recommend that participants make sure they have appropriate gearing for steep climbs of 1-2 miles with some very steep inclines and descents.’
Councillor Douglas Reid, leader of East Ayrshire Council and chair of East Ayrshire Leisure said: “2014 is an incredible year for Scotland and East Ayrshire.
“With the XX Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles now just a matter of months away, we are all gearing up for a fantastic summer of sport.
“The Flying Scotsman Sportive will be a real highlight in the sporting calendar. It will provide cycling enthusiasts who are attending the Commonwealth Games cycling road race the opportunity to ride with a real local hero and also experience the beautiful countryside of East Ayrshire.
“I am very pleased that both East Ayrshire Council and East Ayrshire Leisure are supporting this event, drawing on a wealth of experience in delivering very successful large scale sporting events.
“I wish our Flying Scotsman every success with this project.”
Riders will set off from the start at Loudon Academy in waves between 8.30am and 9.00 am with the return anticipated to be between 11am and 3.30pm.
Police will be on hand to help riders cross the A71 and there will be comprehensive event signage, marshals at main junctions, first aid support, electronic timing, food stations, mechanical support, and a broom wagon.
Entry to both routes is £36 and places can be booked through the British Cycling website, where they have the maximum difficulty rating of 5 and particpants are advised to ensure that their bikes and bodies are suitably prepared for the challenge.
You can find out more information about the Flying Scotsman Sportive on Obree’s website.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.