Sunday 1st June 2014 – The UK’s Highest Cycle Sportive
Entry opens Sunday 1st Dec 2013
102miles or 165km
2,000m of climbing – 2690m if you believe Strava!
The Three Pistes Cycle Sportive takes you through some of the UK’s most remote countryside, past three ski centres, ascending eight categorised climbs – including the two highest road passes in the UK – then finishes by climbing the 4th highest road to Cairngorm Ski Centre in the heart of the UK’s only Arctic plateau.
Once you have cycled all 102miles all riders who finish before 4pm can then jump on the funicular for a relaxing ride to the UK’s highest restaurant.
After all of that… jump on one of our buses taking you back to the start in Pitlochry.
Alternatively, in the morning buses will also be available to take riders and bikes from Aviemore to the start at Pitlochry.
Named after the Mountain to the west (left) at the top of the climb The Cairnwell actually forms part of the runs of Glenshee Ski Resort with the surrounding Mountains of Cairn Aosda, Meall Odhar and Glas Maol surrounding the summit of the climb. The climb of The Cairnwell is on the main A93- The Old Military Road which runs north from Blairgowrie through the Cairngorm National Park. The climb itself starts at the Spittal Of Glenshee gradually gaining altitude through the beautiful, lush valley. Once the road heads to the right out of the Spittal Of Glenshee, the gradient intensifies up to 12% for the final section to the finish for a well earned coffee and slice of cake at the cafe at the top after the lung-bursting push up over the steep last kilometre. From the Glenshee Ski area you enjoy a long fast drop to Braemar and Royal Deeside from here we leave the A93 and hit three brutal rises in quick succession.
Gairnshiel Brig brings a smile to your face as you leave Deeside and join the most wintery road in the UK… Sally Traffic’s notorious A939. The climb from Gairnshiel over to Donside has what will no doubt be the fast section of the course for many with a wide steep descent to Cock Bridge and the start of the toughest climb, to our second ski centre of the day, The Lecht. The road from Cockbridge to Tomintoul, Aberdeenshire. Photograph: Paul White/Alamy
This is how Simon Warren describes it in his book 100 Greatest Climbs “A true monster of a climb through the heart of the Cairngorms, the road up to the Lecht Ski Centre is a simply stunning ride. You start your ascent from the beautiful Corgarff castle and straight away you hit 20% slopes – rough, relentlessly steep and twisting a little. Pass through the large orange gates used to close the road in winter – proof, if you hadn’t twigged already, that you’re heading into serious country. After an age on the opening steep gradient the road banks right to plateau before a brief downhill. What comes next will take your breath away. There, in front of you, painted on to the side of the mountain and looking like a giant flight of stairs, lies the rest of the climb. A short flat section ramps up hard, then almost levels before ramping hard again. Eventually you’ll bend around to the left and the battered, rugged road levels for good. In front of you is the Alpine-style Ski Centre, a simply awesome ride.”
After The Lecht we continue on the A939 and rolling countryside through Tomintoul towards Speyside, where the legs get 50km of well deserved flat(ish) roads as we make our way towards Aviemore and the final climb of the day from Loch Morlich to the car park of Cairngorm Ski Centre.
In its own right the final climb is not the toughest of the day, however it is still the 4th highest road in the country and with 97 miles already in your legs it will feel like trying to climb Alpe D’huez after first doing the Galibier and Glandon.
Feed stations will be dotted along the route at Glenshee, Lecht, Nethy Bridge and Glenmore.
The 3 Pistes Cycle Sportive is a timed cycle event. It is not a race. Entry details coming soon.