Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Clarion riders make it through the Etape

Malcolm, Jim, Angus, Craig, Mike, Paul and Mark made up a group of seven Clarion riders involved in the disrupted Caledonia Etape at the weekend. The well run event was sabotaged by a local, who spread carpet tacks across sections of the course. Rannoch and Tummel community council chairman, Alex Grosset, 62, appeared in Perth Sheriff Court on Wednesday but presented no plea to the court. Luckily, this reckless action inflicted only punctures on our riders and they avoided crashing. It remains to be seen how the behaviour of a minority will effect the future of this charitable event.

Malcom said "Words escape me as to describe how big an act of stupidity this was. Those responsible could easily have had blood on their hands and should be treated as if they have. After I'd punctured, I saw a guy carrying his bike on his shoulders cyclocross style. I asked him if he'd run out of tubes but he said someone had just run across the road spreading tacks and jumped back down to the river bank. He had a pretty good description of the guy.
I saw a couple of police motorbikes being taken away on a low loader, so something tells me that they'll get their man."

Mark said "I managed to get three punctures, it was just after the 43 mile point when things went pear shaped, after the feed station there were bikes everywhere with punctures. I was going good guns as well passing the 40 mile point at 1 hour 48 mins. Apart from the sabotage, it was a good day! My time was 3 hrs 43mins taking off the time for punctures. I will be booking up for next year and taking plenty of patches with me!"

Mike said "Hats off to the event organisers who did a fantastic job in sorting the mess out as best as they could, and to all the volunteers who kept spirits up when we were all coralled at the top of the hill. Bumped into Angus and some of his mates there too so passed the time chatting.
Can't believe the idiocy of who ever did this. If you want to protest then fair enough, but risking the life and limb of hundreds of cyclists..."

Angus said "My own wee story is basically feeling good at the 45 mark with a 20mph average under the belt. Then the disbelief at the number of riders at the side of the road with punctures. Approaching the climb, we eventually got the message about the dreaded tacks. Now it was just down to statistics! Front tyre flat right at the foot of the climb! After the eventual re-start at the top I got fired on the run-in as the fast line-out groups gathered pace and I was feeling good! Then my front tyre went flat again (managed to stay up-right-just-and get over to the right hand side). Faffed around for probably 20 minutes, eventually getting back on the bike and time-trialling solo into the wind for the last 15 miles. We should return next year en force just to show the bar stewards that they haven't won! "

JIm said "I must've been one of the few that didn't get a puncture, and that is just as well because I was at Tummel Bridge before I realised my pump was still in the boot of my car!
I was in the first group to be stopped at Kinloch Rannoch and forced to wait for the sweep. I looked back along the south Loch Rannoch road and there were thousands backed up. A lot chucked it at the break, which is a shame. I had been going great until then at an average of 19mph. Once we restarted we had a slow roll out of the village which took ages. Even taking off the 90 minute hold up, at least a further 15 min were lost in just getting back onto the Schiehallion road. Still on the bright side, the firemen treated us to tea and biscuits and I got to dress as a firefighter for a wee while!

Paul said "I finished in 5:30 not bad considering I have only been out 3 times in the 3 weeks leading up to the event and the biggest distance I had covered since I started cycling again is 34 miles! I didn't get a puncture and thoroughly enjoyed the day. I will train harder for next year!"

Craig Said "I was one of the lucky few who didn't get a puncture so my heart goes out to all the cyclists who suffered at the hands of some mindless morons hell bent on ruining what should have been a great day.
I got to the top of Schiehallion with no punctures and crossed the 50 mile marker in 2 hrs 53 mins. Then spent the next 45 mins hiding from the wind before we set off again. I crossed the finish line with an "actual" cycling time of 4 hours 02 mins for the 72 miles but that obviously doesn't include delays.
The event was really well oragnised with a good course that takes you through some fanatstic scenery so it would be a shame if it was cancelled due to the irresponsible actions of a minority. I would like to go back next year but am obviously concerned about this happening again. I assume that the organisers will be ready for it next year though.
As for the boost to the local economy, I spent at least £120.00 over that weekend so multiply that figure by the number of cyclist and that is a lot of dosh."

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