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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

You awesome Bealach Mor riders

...So normally I'd be the one up for a mega challenge but the 90-mile Bealach Mor Cycle Sportive is so notoriously tough that I decided to, aherm, marshall and race report at this event! To be honest that was exhausting enough. With a streaming cold and pretty much zero cycle training over the last few months I'd have been lucky to make it through the first 5 miles on the flat, let alone 90 miles with a total ascent of more than twice the height of Ben Nevis. And that included a 6 mile haul up the UK's biggest road pass from sea level to 626m.

Some 380 cyclists set off from Kinlochewe on a mega-raining day on Saturday, most with wide but rueful grins. Of these only around 40 didn't complete, either due to bike failure or exhaustion. The final times ranged wildly from Andy Strathdee's mind-boggling 4hrs 35mins to the final rider at 8hrs 39 mins. As this event is billed as a sportive, it is not a race. But, of course, most riders were out to get their best time. They had battled rain storms, side winds, head winds, thick cloud, terrible visibility and the arduous, mountainous course but still almost everyone was smiling as they finally crossed the finish line.

The comments were all upbeat: "Awesome route", "Amazing course", "stunning scenery", "fantastic organisation", "I totally loved it", "Hard and tough but amazing".

This is another fab event from the highly organised Hands On crew and now that I have seen it in action I might have to get into the saddle for next year. This event is so popular, though, that riders need to sign up within 24 hours of entries opening. Keep an eye on their website. In the meantime there's another awesome cycle challenge to round off the year, the Ullapool Sportives 130 miler or 65 miler on September 26

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