3 Pistes 2015

Hello All,

It’s only 2 weeks since 600 of you conquered the 3 Pistes Cycle Sportive. It feels like ages ago. Well done and thank you for all the kind feedback you have given us.

The provisional date for 2015 is either Sunday 31st May or Sunday 7th June. We want to make sure it doesn’t clash with any other big Scottish cycling events or RockNess / UCI Fort William so we will confirm the date in August. Entry will open in late August / early September

All 2014 riders will be given the opportunity for priority entry at a discounted rate similar to this year’s cost. Everyone else will have to pay a bit more. 😉

If you haven’t already seen it have a look at this wee GoPro video of the ride. Donate some money to Help For Heros if you can.


Cycling Jerseys

We have arranged with Champs Systems another opportunity to purchase 3 Pistes Cycle Jerseys.

Visit http://champ-sys.co.uk/ and use the following login details

login: 3pistes

password: clubkit2014

Orders are now live and can be made until 4pm on 30th June. The full order will be delivered to us 6-8 weeks later. Once you have paid for your kit direct to Champsystems we require you to send us a Stamped Self Addressed A3 Enevlope so we can dispatch your jersey(s).

Please send to:

3 Pistes Cycle Jersey, Flat 4/3, 38 Edgemont St, Glasgow, G41 3EL

Rider times have been posted on on the website and photos are available at http://www.sportivephoto.com/

See you next year.


One comment

  1. andymadill · June 25, 2014

    The worst of it was the waiting, knowing it was coming, we were on a flat and pleasant part of the route with only a few miles to go through some very quiet highland roads and stunning scenery, which under normal circumstances would have been a really pleasant jaunt. But we both knew and dreaded what was coming, the final climb up to Aviemore Ski Centre.
    Part of me wanted it to start now so I knew what I was up against but at the same time I was also relieved as every mile went by without the climb beginning. Eventually with about 6km to go it started, again, on a really nice part of the route (there aren’t any unsightly parts) on the outskirts of Aviemore. It didn’t help that a mountain biker eased passed us on the adjacent path, the miles had sapped our legs and I was only focused on turning the pedals. Jubilant and successfully finished 3 pisters freewheeling in the opposite direction did not help. at a fair rate down the road. their friendly, encouraging smiles and waves helping us, but only slightly. We looked at them with real jealousy.
    I adopted the same strategy at I had done on the previous climbs, particularly the Lecht, don’t look up and focus only on keeping the pedals moving, it was working to an extent, but by this point my thighs were so weary it was agony each time I turned the pedal. I had now covered 30 miles more than any of my training runs (won’t be making that mistake again). The climb to Aviemore differed from the other pistes as there were more far more turns, as I approached each corner I thought maybe this is it the finish line but, alas no, another stretch of tarmac ahead of me.
    It is at these points, mentally and physically wearied, layered in sweat, banana/pretzel still round the mouth that normal people enjoying a relaxed stroll on a pleasant highland afternoon, appear to be a different species. And how I longed to be part of that species again. As another turn loomed I asked some ramblers “how long until the finish?” Well that’s what I planned to say and it sounded like that until it came out my mouth when it was more like “HOOO LOONGGG TTILL FNSH.”
    Miraculously, they understood and answered “Only another mile or so, you’ll hear the music.” In what was intended to be helpful and motivational. It was anything but, ANOTHER BLOODY MILE, I doubted myself for the first time, but I put my head down didn’t look up until I actually heard the music and with the car park in sight I knew I was almost there.
    It was all so different at the start, my pal Colin and I, in the early morning Perthshire sunshine, full of hope, optimism and carbs at the start outside Pitlochry High School. We had enjoyed a relaxed evening in Perth the night before, escaping our hectic lives with three kids each (not together I may add). Although we did struggle to find an Italian restaurant in which to load up on pasta, finding ourselves, eventually, in Pizza Hut, which did the job.
    The route was not slow in letting us know exactly what she was made of as we were straight into a climb , the Moulin, but the sun was shining and we were still part of the dozen or so other pisters, chatting, laughing as we coasted up the hill. A puncture to Colin’s front tyre delayed us for 15 minutes or so at the 16mile mark but tyre fixed we were on our way. I remember noticing a gaggle of screeching motorcyclists upsetting the Sunday morning calm as they sped past, this would not be the last time they would shatter the silence.
    The first major climb was Glenshee, which was beautiful, but hard work, I must have been overtaken about a dozen times on this climb and didn’t catch anyone. They must have lighter bikes than me. (that’s my excuse anyway and I’m sticking to it.) But I made it, and the downhill was a pure joy. At this point I realised that the moniker “3Pistes” actually hid a dark secret. There were about 7 or 8 tough climbs on the route and I felt slightly deflated each time I climbed one which didn’t count towards one of my 3 Pistes.
    Following Glenshee was a really rewarding part of the route providing respite with a steady downhill, taking in some stunning scenery and picturesque villages, most notably Braemar resplendent with its castle. We decided at this point, unwisely as it turned out, to try to keep going until the psychological barrier of 100km had been broken.
    We continued through the stunning countryside before approaching the next three climbs which all came in quick succession, Crathie, Gairnsheil and the “dreaded” Lecht. The first two were tough but manageable with the weather remaining benign. However, we were placed in the horns of a dilemma as there was a stop immediately prior to start of the climb. Colin was keen to press on to try to tackle our most daunting climb, but I maturely argued my case (threw a tantrum), so we stopped.
    This break was a real delight, the sun was shining, there was a little breeze and the atmosphere was buzzing. It’s amazing how, at these points, a bottle of water and a Morrison’s flapjack taste like they were created by a Michelin starred chef. We also tanked a big bag of wine gums more quickly than a gaggle of crazed seven year olds.
    Then it was off to the feared Lecht with its 20% climbs. In same way as errant school boys can’t help the giggles, even though they are waiting outside the headteachers for six of the best, so we allowed ourselves a laugh at the “Cocksbridge” (Don’t think I’ve ever grown up) only to immediately regret our hilarity as we saw what awaited us on the other side.
    All my training had taken place in the south side of Glasgow with brief excursions into Lanarkshire and Ayrshire. These are hilly enough but nothing compared to the Cairgorms. I hadn’t tackled anything close to a 20% climb before but I had tried to play it down in my mind in the days and weeks before the event. “It can’t go on for that long.”, “20% would be a rubbish mark in a test” and “it’s only 20%, but what about the other 80%.”
    However, I’m convinced that it was actually much steeper than 20%. Try vertical. Start as you mean to go on is the cliché, so it was a snail’s pace for me. After what seemed like 20 minutes ( I had covered about 50m) I got off and walked for a while, which allowed me to make up time. Yes, I could actually walk up the hill more quickly than cycle it. Pride got the better of me, (or was it the fear of being caught on camera pushing my bike as there was a photographer stationed at one corner) so I returned to the saddle and adopted my usual approach, head down and turn the legs and make sure I don’t topple over. It seemed to last forever, but the downhill, again was 75kph of unalloyed exhilaration and beautiful views.
    There was a final stop, manned, like all the others, by helpful, encouraging volunteers, about 18 miles from home serving pretzels, cakes, bananas and snack bars. Again these tasted as if Heston Blumental himself had prepared them. My body must have been longing for salt and sugar as I didn’t even think I liked pretzels, but not now. These cravings continued well into the following week, I’m delighted to report, with Greggs assisting me greatly in my ultimately, highly, successful efforts to beat that calorie deficit.
    Now that I have had some time to reflect on the experience I have to say it was amazing, hard work but still amazing. I’m so pleased to have done it, raising close to £500 for the Samaritans in the process, so a big thank you to everyone who donated. In addition the camaraderie and good spirits throughout the day help make it a really special experience. But, next time, more training, definitely much more training. More pretzels too, now that I have discovered them.

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