Etape Caledonia announces unique route reversal
Etape Caledonia, the UK’s original closed-roads sportive, has today revealed the route for its Autumn edition that will see participants being given a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to cycle the iconic challenge in reverse.
It is expected to be the first major sporting event to return to Perthshire since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Organisers continue to follow Government guidelines and work with the local councils to ensure a safe event takes place in line with current COVID-19 measures. In response to the restrictions, organisers LimeLight Sports had already pivoted the event from its traditional May staging to a new date of Sunday September 19th. This date change is intended to give the event its best chances of going ahead, accommodating both the gradual easing of restrictions and unrestricted access to Pitlochry’s vaccination hub located at the Atholl Centre on West Moulin Road. It is also anticipated that the event will deliver a welcome boost to the local hospitality and tourism economy this September, as the event returns to sell out status once again, with over 5000 participants expected to take part in the event. The decision to reverse the route was reached, following consultation with the local community and Perth & Kinross Council, after it transpired that the new Autumn date clashed with peak potato harvesting season in the region.
Participants will still set off from Pitlochry in the early hours of Sunday 19th September but, instead of heading North as they have done in previous years, the reversed route will now take them South towards Logierait, through Aberfeldy, then North towards Schiehallion. Participants cycling the 85 mile route will loop around Loch Rannoch before heading back towards Pitlochry along the banks of Loch Tummel. This unique route reversal gives the opportunity for participants to see the climb of Schiehallion from a totally new perspective, and to tackle the ascent from a very different angle. Riders will enjoy a very unique challenge which will be physically testing, as well as a novel way to see this iconic route from a brand-new perspective.
James Robinson, managing director at Limelight Sports Club, said:
“Etape Caledonia is a really fantastic event and I am genuinely delighted that it will be back in Highland Perthshire this Autumn. The pandemic has definitely dealt a series of major operational challenges to event operators of all shapes and sizes. Our team, the local community and Perth & Kinross Council have worked incredibly hard to develop innovative solutions to problems created by the pandemic and we’re really grateful for their support and commitment to ensuring the event goes ahead. We are all really looking forward to seeing everyone come together once again to take in the beauty of Highland Perthshire in Autumn and enjoy its much-missed hospitality. Over the years, participants have suggested to us the possibility of doing the route in reverse. Now, thanks to this rather exceptional and unusual combination of potatoes and a pandemic, this year’s participants will be able to take advantage of that once in a lifetime opportunity to cycle the route in reverse.
“Cycling has also seen a surge in interest over the last 18 months, and we are keen for as many people as possible to experience the unique sensation of cycling on exclusively closed roads, whilst taking in the dramatic hilltop views and sweeping descents that the event offers. Etape Caledonia is the UK’s original closed-roads cycling event and we hope all of the participants enjoy this unique experience being part of this challenging and exciting sportive in this once-in-a-lifetime format.”
Organisers are encouraging participants to consider riding to raise funds for the event’s two charity partners, Marie Curie and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance. Charity places at the event are still available and many charities saw their critical fundraising incomes fall over the course of the pandemic, as a result of the restrictions placed on mass participation events. By cycling for Team Marie Curie, participants are enabling Marie Curie Nurses to continue to provide essential care to people living with a terminal illness, and vital emotional support to their loved ones. Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance, the country’s only charity-funded air ambulance, delivers expert paramedic care to the scene of time-critical emergencies and participants fundraising for SCAA will enable it to continue to deliver its lifesaving work.
For those looking to participate this Autumn, charity places for Etape Caledonia 2021 are available to book online at www.etapecaledonia.co.uk