Route report from Leitholm CC ride on 5th April

Liam from Leitholm CC rode much of the 3 pistes route yesterday. Here is his report as posted on 3 Pistes FaceBook page.

Some route info? This was yesterday’s route check. Road surfaces are good as well.

After doing the 3 Pistes Sportive Route on 5th April 2014 with my mate Andy I thought this summary may help anyone doing the event in June this year. I would class myself as a reasonably fit club cyclist so I hope this helps?

On the day I ran out of time because I had a train back to Pitlochry booked at 4.35pm and never got to the finish, which will be the Aviemore Ski Centre. So although my total mileage was 103 miles and maximum climbing elevation was 6860 ft probably 1000 ft short approx.

Start time in Pitlochry, 8.30am
Ride time, 6hrs 37mins
Distance 103 miles
Average speed 15.5 mph.
Calories, 4516.
My bike, Specialized Tarmac SL3.
Gearing, 53-39 chainset with 28-11 cassette. (consider a compact!)
Deep section wheels will not help descending in cross winds. I had mine on as the wind was light but the descents are fast, really fast!

Food, I got through x4 750ml bottles with high 5 tabs in each one, x4 jam pieces, 2 bananas, 4 gels, x1 packet bloks energy chews, a crunchie and a stop 60 miles in for a massive bacon & egg roll! Then had a sausage supper when I got back to Pitlochry.

This route starts uphill with gradients from 3% – 14% for about 4 miles, there after rolling/flat until the first major climb of the day around 30 ish miles in to Glenshee. Average gradients on this climb 4% – 13% for about 3 miles from Spittal of Glenshee. Take care on the descent!!

From the summit Its a rolling run to and through Braemar right up until the left turn for Tomintoul. Here the pain begins around 48 miles in. From this turn it’s 4% – 18% rolling gradient up to 2200ft ish. This is a B road so extreme care on the descent! A sharp right hand nearly caught me out!

When you’re down you join the A944 turning left over the River Don. Just along this road on the right is an excellent cafe and I would recommend you stop and fuel up! Because just up the road after Cock Bridge comes the Hell of the North after 60 miles in! Steep gradients x2 20%, 14%, 12%, 10% and very, very long 5-8% drags! The 3 Pistes cover photo of the road up to the Lecht looks nice, but believe me when you see it after you’ve done a sharp 18% hill its big. It’s the only time we thought “I’m not sure I can get up this”. You’ve been warned!

Over the cattle grid and you’re descending, fast! down 15-20%!!!

Enjoy the run into Tomintoul by here its about 70 miles in. Don’t think the climbings over yet tho! There are few more 10-14% hills waiting around Bridge of Brown. After this it’s rolling/flat back into Aviemore. Just remember the climbing’s still not done, the Aviemore Ski Centre Awaits!!!!!
In Summary then:

If you think you can rock up and do with little no preparation, you’ll be in a world of pain! Please dont think because you’ve done a 50 mile, 75 mile or 90 mile event that an extra 12 or so miles will be ok. It’s not on this route!

I would recommend a high quality pad in your breeks!

Do not underestimate this route!

Hope everyone who’s entering has a brilliant day on their bikes, we did but it was one of the hardest I’ve ever had.


Leitholm CC





Chappeau Liam

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