Ride the UK's Highest Cycle Sportive!
The UK’s highest cycle sportive? Really?
Do you enjoy cycling? Beautiful sights? A challenge? Then how would you like to be able to tell your family and friends that you’ve taken part in the UK’s highest cycle sportive? It may sound like an unusual claim, but the route for the 3 Pistes Sportive to be held on Sunday the 1st of June backs it up. It goes over the 2 highest roads in the whole of the UK, the A93 at Glenshee and the A939 at The Lecht. (For the fact-checkers among you, It should be pointed out that the routes to the radar stations at Great Dunn Fell in Cumbria and Lowther Hill in Dumfries don’t count because they’re not officially public roads!) In total, over the course of the route, you’ll find yourself climbing 5 of the 6 highest roads in Scotland.
Where does the ‘3 Pistes’ name come from?
The 3 Pistes referred to in the name are the skiing pistes of Glenshee, The Lecht and, of course, Cairngorm Mountain, all of which are passed by the route. How did this skiing theme come about? Well, that’s down to the event’s organiser, Alan Anderson. He’s not just a keen cyclist but also a keen skier. From driving around the area on his skiing adventures, he hit upon the notion that it would make a fantastically challenging and spectacularly scenic cycle route. A notion that we fully agree with! However sore your legs get during this ride, you’ll be able to gaze up at the majestic Cairngorm mountains and feel that little bit of inspiration to get you through. As Alan himself says:
“The route is an anti-clockwise circumnavigation of the Cairngorms plateau, so on your left there’s the highest mountain range in Britain to gawp at. As well as one of the most remote bike rides, it’s also one of the most glorious.”
Although he’s from East Kilbride and now lives in Glasgow, he does sound like he’d be better suited to the Highland life. After all, when he’s not cycling or skiing, it turns out that he’s a comedian touring a successful show about...whisky!
What can you see along the route?
The route begins in the beautiful Perthshire town of Pitlochry, which became prominent in Victorian times when Queen Victoria herself was a visitor to the area. From Pitlochry, you’ll head north in the direction of Glenshee, then continue on to take in Braemar, The Lecht, Tomintoul and Nethy Bridge before finally finishing up at CairnGorm Mountain. Some of Scotland’s most wonderful scenery will be a mere glance away.
Is the 3 Pistes event for you?
Although it’s certainly going to be a memorable and fun experience, this sportive will also be be a test of physical and mental endurance. The full route is 102 miles long and features 3 climbs which have a gradient of more than 20%. As well as the climbs, riders will also face the challenge of the descents that follow. Remember that being on a bicycle doesn’t exempt you if you break the speed limit!
How can you take part in the event?
You can find out more about the 3 Pistes via its official website www.3pistes.co.uk, but entry is only via the British Cycling Online Entry System. Standard prices for the event apply until Friday the 16th of May and for bookings after that a ‘last-minute’ rate applies. You can either pay for ‘entry only’ or pay for entry that includes transport. Transport is by coach and is either from Aviemore to Pitlochry before the race or from Aviemore to Pitlochry after the race, depending on which area you’ve decided to stay in. The Standard price for entry on its own is £30, while the price including coach transfer is £49.50. Last minute rates are £35 for entry or £54.50 for entry including coach transfer.
Where can you stay?
As we’ve mentioned, the route and the availability of transport means that you can either stay in the Pitlochry area or the Aviemore area. We’d be delighted to look after you if you decide to stay in Aviemore and do bear in mind that the Hilton Coylumbridge Hotel is the closest hotel to the slopes of Cairngorm Mountain, where the route ends.
Of course, you don’t need to take part in the 3 Pistes to enjoy some cycling during a stay with us. Bicycles are available to hire within the resort from Outdoor Discovery.
To book a stay or to find out more about our bright, spacious and airy accommodation and our location in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, please contact us.
Photo by Liam Thomson