Over 600, (Wowee!) turned up at Scone Palace today in pouring rain and howling gales for Scotland’s only Cycletta sportive. It was an impressive sight!. After doing the Applecross Duathlon yesterday I didn’t think my legs would manage but my hardy pal, Angela, had headed down from Inverness for the day’s event and convinced me that it would be a good idea so I got my stuff together!
We turned up to Scone Palace in the morning to a throng of cyclists getting ready for the off. After getting our bikes sorted; labelled with our numbers and stickers for the timing chip, we headed down to the start line. We were grouped in bunches of around 20 and given a safety briefing for the day. Then we were off, pedaling out of Scone Palace grounds to start our Cycletta adventure.
There was a lot of familiar faces which was great to see. Within the first few miles I spotted fellow cycle coach Kirsteen Torrance, working with a group of girls on some ‘on through and off’ technique. Group riding is such a great experience and with practice can save you so much energy.
We bumped into Debbie (not literally), from Perth Road Runners. She won a place after entering a competition through the local radio station, Tay FM. She had looked at Cycletta’s website before but was trying to decide between it and the Stirling 10k. Winning the competition made the decision for her.
Cycling on a bit more we came across the girls from the Glasgow Green Cycle Club, a cycle club which this time last year had only 3 female members. Today there must have been at least 10 working together in a team to push on up the road.
Things have really taken off for them this year. Amongst them was another cycling coach Elizabeth O’Donnell, we managed a quick catch up about the club and what she has been up to recently before heading on up the road into the rain. Also out were some of the ladies from my favourite club, the East Sutherland Wheelers. They now have over 100 female members in one of the most northerly cycle clubs in the UK.
Blowing us in the right direction
It was cold and wet that’s true but once we had warmed up it didn’t really matter at all. The wind was strong but this also had the advantage of giving us a nice tailwind for some parts of the ride which we most definitely took advantage of. We stopped briefly to refill the water bottles and devour a
couple of jelly babies at one of the well-stocked food stops provided for us along the way.
This was Angela’s first cycle event. She got into cycling when she took on the Barra to Butt challenge to raise money for a Zambian charity some years ago. Earlier this year, Angela took part in some women’s specific cycle coaching sessions run by East Sutherland Wheelers. She enjoyed the sessions so much she went out and bought herself a nice new road bike. Since then, she has been on her bike getting addicted to Strava and training to tackle the Bealach climb in Wester Ross, which showed today, with her classy climbing up the Gallowhill ..twice!
Sprint for the finish
63km later we were back at Scone palace and had enough in our legs to manage a sprint over the line. There was a good buzz at the finish line and everyone we spoke to said they had really enjoyed it and were already talking about registering for next year. There was massage available for tired muscles, hot food to warm us up and cool women’s cycle wear for sale too! The event was well marshaled and had a really friendly atmosphere and for me, it was fantastic to be cycling with 600 ladies on the roads around Perth. This Cycletta demonstrated the popularity and strength of women’s cycling in Scotland today… very exciting!