SUNDAY saw the inaugural Graeme Obree Classic Sportive which set off from Auchincruive College with over 250 cyclists competing in the event across either a 65 or 45 mile ride.
Participants in the sportive were in good company as confirmed to ride were Graeme Obree, twice UCI World Hour Record Holder and twice World 4,000m Pursuit Champion; Yvonne McGregor, Bronze Olympics Medallist, Gold Commonwealth Games Medallist, World Hour Record Holder and World Pursuit Champion; Kate Cullen, Bronze Commonwealth Games Medallist and British National Track Champion and Billy Bilsland, ex-Olympian and continental professional with the famous Peugeot and TI Raleigh Squads.
Starting at Auchincruive the route challenged the strongest riders with 65 miles of energy sapping roads heading south and south east, crossing the famous Nick o the Balloch climb before switching back up via Straiton and Dalmellington to return to Auchincruive for the finish. The Flying Scotsman himself, Graeme Obree, led theride across many of the roads he trained on as a youngster. The course has 3,750 feet of climbing and some very technical descents and traverses amidst magnificent scenery across the moorlands, high above Ayrshire.
The 45 mile intermediate ride started at Auchincruive the route headed south then south east before routing back to Auchincruive. To include a first – a women’s only cycling group led by multiple World Champion and World Record Holder Yvonne McGregor
The leisurely 10 mile family run route was a brilliant opportunity to bring out the kids and let them experience an organised cycle event in safe surroundings
Commenting on the Sportive Graeme Obree said: “This was the first year of what we anticipate will become an annual event and I would like to thank South Ayrshire Council for their assistance and input in making this event possible.
“I was really looking forward to getting out on my bike with so many people who share a common passion - cycling.
“My thanks are also due to Yvonne Mcgregor, Kate Cullen, Billy Bilsland, Jamie McGahan and Jim Gladwell for coming out to support the sportive.
Councillor Bill McIntosh, the Leader of South Ayrshire Council, added his backing: “We are very enthusiastic about The Graeme Obree Classic Sportive, it will further raise the profile of cycling in South Ayrshire, and we are keen to work with the organisers to make this event a success. This cycling extravaganza was attended by local people and visitors to the area, giving an important boost to our local economy.
“Just as Graeme Obree was inspired to take up cycling I truly believe that some champion cyclists of the future will be inspired by this event.
“With stunning scenery and a great range of cycle paths South Ayrshire is a fun and safe place to cycle either to and from work, as a leisure pursuit or as a competitive sport.”
Yvonne McGregor added: “I can’t wait for the Sportive. Graeme has often spoken of the routes he had around Ayrshire and I am delighted to lend a hand at what I hope is the first of many Obree sportives.”