The best of the Ayrshire Alps Sportive
1. The route
Tried and tested in the 2015 edition, the route does not fail to disappoint. 403metres of climbing packed into just 60miles, with some of the best views across the Clyde coast and Galloways. The 60km route offered two shortcuts for riders keen to enjoy the best of the Alps without the stress of the distance too. Riders new to the area all commented on how quiet the roads are too, greeting other vehicles just once every few kilometres. It’s a winner!
2. The weather
We started in warm blueish skies, and finished in slightly warmer bluish skies. Sure, there was a tropical downpour crossing Tairlaw, but you’d expect that in an Alpine resort wouldn’t you? Big thanks to the sun gods for delivering another fantastic warm and still day!
3. The Team
Bravo to the Burners! 22 volunteers put in over 184 hours of their time over the weekend. From signage to bottle filling, marshalling to counting, we did it! And as organisers Chris JG and JP Baxter said, “we did it well”. Now all we need is to switch mobile provider to have some signal…
4. The unexpected strada grigio
When the routing team came back with tales of missing cattlegrids on the ‘queen stage’ of Nic O Balloch our anxiety levels grew. No fear, there is a gate with some dusty gravel! And hence we went all Eroica with a section of Strada Grigio. People pay good money to ride that in Italy, here it comes for free. Big thanks to Scott for saving the day with his gate-opening and gate-closing skills.
There is a footnote here too. Arriving at the gate with his two sons was the chief of the cattle-grid repair contractors Euan Kerr. “Honest guv, we were meant to finish yesterday but we ran out of cement” or something along the lines – it was hard to make out through his laboured breathing! Well done to Family Kerr on completing the ride!
Wow, did you try Fayes Banana Loaf? Delicious. How about James and Sarah’s brownies? Incredible. Karly’s empire biscuits? Great! Cheers team, the perfect recovery snacks! Everyone loves a good cake
6.The Midgie feed stop
New for 2016 was the Nic O Balloch food stop. Big shout out to Fresh Food Co, ACS Prestwick Ltd and Ayrshire Garden Studios for making this possible. Perfectly position at the David Bell Memorial at Rowntree Toll, the stop provided a much needed refuelling opportunity between the climbs FOR THE MIDGIES! Yup, no worries about riders spending too long gabbing, five minutes in a midgie cloud was enough to send riders sprinting away from JP’s home brew and off up Tairlaw. Huge thanks to Gary, JP and GGCC’s Chris for enduring 5 hours of this. Note for next year: light a bonfire.
7. Sparks and Flames
let’s not forget our young Sparks – Kenneth and Robin on starting duties, Ryan and Reece at event HQ, and Rory McEwan out on course keeping the riders safe….
8. The feedback
You are too kind! 98% of riders have said they would recommend the ride to a friend. Most popular reasons being:
1. The cakes; 2. The other cakes; 3. The quiet roads; 4. The great scenery 5. The great people; 6. The bargain price; 7. Those cakes again…
9. The riders
Of course! Without any riders there would be no Sportive. We had 165 people sign up this year before we sold out. Hugh thanks to the Fullarton Wheelers, Dunlop CC and West Coast Velo for coming out on mass. Many of our riders travelled several hours to join us – thanks so much!
Everyone was splendidly well behaved, and what a great atmosphere throughout the day.
— Nina Anderson (@ncma1976) 28 August 2016
10. BACK NEXT YEAR!
No sooner than we returned the signs to the storeroom were we making plans for 2017. We hope to double the capacity of the event assuming we can identify a suitable parking solution. We love the route as it is, and the great welcome we get from the people across the Ayrshire Alps in the villages of Kirkmichael, Barr and Straiton. The last Sunday of August has been kind to us weatherwise, so mark it in your calendars now!
You can find the list of finish times here: https://www.ayrburners.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2016-08-28-provisional-results-2.pdf