CycleOps Sportives Selkirk Preview

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Posted Thursday 21 st June 2011 –

CycleOps Sportives 2011

The final round of the round of the CycleOps Power Road Sportives series is taking place at Selkirk this weekend on the 23rd July, here’s what the organisers have in store.

Course designer Pete Laing will be working hard to make sure his home round stays on top, so apart from showcasing the fantastic road riding around the greater Selkirk area. Making use of the network of narrow hill roads linking the river valleys that the Scottish Borders is so famous for you can expect sweeping hairpins, long and challenging climbs and some of the most awe-inspiring scenery the area has to offer. None of the hill climbs are Alpine in scale but only one is less than 100m vertical and if you check the course profiles, there isn’t a flat road in between, so the ascent total soon builds up.

Cycleops Sportive Selkirk Course Profile (95 Mile Route)
Cycleops Sportive Selkirk Course Profile (95 Mile Route)

Two route options are on offer, the full 95 mile route with 2700 metres of ascent or a shorter 47 mile route, also, if you’re extra keen and in possession of a mountain bike there’s the CRC Mountain Marathon event on the Sunday as well.

Cycleops Sportive Selkirk Route Map (95 Mile Route)
Cycleops Sportive Selkirk Route Map (95 Mile Route)

Everyone will head out of Selkirk along the picturesque Ettrick Valley, with 2 miles of easy spinning before hitting a single-track road that snakes its way up onto the Woll Rig. After a fast descent to the village of Ashkirk, you start a lovely undulating moorland road that takes in Blawearie, Alemoor Reservoir and The Rankle Burn before reaching the first feed stop at Tushie Law in Ettrick Valley. Here the 47’s turn east and take on two of the best climbs in the Borders, The Berry Bush and Witchie Knowe before an easy run back to Selkirk along the valley floor. The long course riders turn left and makes for the wilds of Eskdalemuir.

Given a calm day, it’s a big-ring churn up to the source of the Tima Water near the glamorously named Foulbog and on past Samie Ling Tibetan Monastery. At Eskdalemuir village (two houses and a tree) it’s a right turn and a tough peck over to Boreland through endless Spruce plantations of Castle O’er Forest. Look for a well-stocked feed table at the village.

After more winding roads, a near miss with Moffat and a marvelous 10 mile climb alongside Moffat Water (blink the sweat from your eyes long enough glance at the areas’ highest waterfall, the Gray Mares Tail if you can) the Dumfries/Selkirkshire border marks another high point, the return to civilisation and the start of a 45 minute rolling descent past the Borders’ best known beauty spot, St Mary’s Loch. Feed stop #3 soon comes into view at The Gordon Arms Hotel.

Next up is The Witchie Knowe, 167 vertical metres of hell for tired legs and the last climb of the day which turns left on reaching the Ettrick Valley road and follow the same return route as the 47’s.

The clockwise direction of each route means that the outward leg will be into the prevailing wind and like last year, there are no busy main roads included; in fact on some sections you’ll be lucky to see a car. The courses are going to be a challenge for most but choose a distance that suits your current level of fitness, get some miles in well before the big day and the reward will be some of the best sportive riding to be experienced anywhere in Britain.

Entry is £27 for either ride distance or there is also a discounted entry ticket if you want to make a weekend of it and ride both the road and mountain bike events. The entry price includes ride entry, free after ride coffee / tea & cakes, free usage of service stations, free usage of all facilities, free skills and riding tuitions (provided by CycleActive), finishing present, free camping from Friday to Monday and free parking.

For more details and entry –

www.roadsportives.co.uk