Gran Fondo Scotland

A new event and only 3 of the 53 miles had previously been cycled so a whole new experience.

Not knowing how many entries there were or how busy the before start registration would be i nipped down to Falkirk on Saturday to register. As it turns out it was a small event so Sunday registration before the start would have been fine. (Lesson for next time).

Tons of good parking at the Falkirk stadium and an easy 1 km path to the start under the Kelpies. Oh and passing 2 decent sets of toilets for pre race nerves to be settled.

Taking my place in the start pen it wasnt too long to wait before we all set off. The usual enthusiastic pace to begin with soon settled and we were out of Falkirk and bypassing Denny on our way to the first real climb. The roads were a bit on the rough side and some of our lot seemed to forget that these were not closed road but open to all traffic.

The hill wasn’t too bad and I kept pace with those around me and despite the forecast it was staying dry. I did decide i had over dressed with the cap and headband under my helmet. Down to where the two routes split and my back wheel locks but thankfully I skid upright and stop before the junction.

The feed station was well stocked and plenty of volunteers to help us. Downside it was 2/3’s up a brae.  It was around here that a Yoof in a souped turbo spluttering focus cut us up. Managed to cycle with and chat with various folk in first half of route but fell back on one climb trying to keep pace with a whippet. Seemed that from there on i was mostly in no mans land with nobody visible ahead and some a distance behind.

Over to Lochend and the Black Loch and the road was familiar from Pedal for Scotland back in 2009.  Longriggend looked a bit of bandit country!

Didi the Devil greeted us on the KOM section which had been thoughtfully placed at the 75 out of 83 km mark!! The blast down to the finish was on the Falkirk bypass so extra vigilance for idiot drivers was required and approaching the final roundabout checking it was clear and signalling to go into right lane a car decided i shouldn’t have been there and went across the otherside of the road to pass be as we approached the roundabout.  As he caught me another participant commented that “The driver certainly didn’t like me!” Blast across the line and got greeted by a nice lady offering water or a bottle of 0% beer. Beer was inhaled. Then it was past party time.

Well organised event so will certainly contemplate it again.

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