Spotlight will be on Kirrie cycling event

STARS OF THE SHOW: Ride leaders paving the way.
STARS OF THE SHOW: Ride leaders paving the way.

An ANNUAL Kirriemuir cycling event will be the main feature in ‘The Adventure Show’ to be shown on BBC2 this Sunday.

This summer’s Snow Roads Audax, first run from Kirrie in 2008 and now recognised as one of the toughest long-distance cycling events in the UK, was filmed for the BBC programme. Among the field of over 50 riders was Dougie Vipond, one of ‘The Adventure Show’s’ presenters. Despite a mechanical incident and the unexpectedly cold conditions, he completed the 300km (186-mile) course within the time limit.

The ride took place on Saturday, June 2, starting at 6 a.m. Many riders chose to arrive at the event headquarters, the Northmuir Hall, the previous evening and a team from Triple Echo Productions, who produce ‘The Adventure Show’ for BBC Scotland, was already there to interview some of the riders. They also used the time to get some background from Kirrie couple Alex and Allison Pattison, who organise the event on behalf of Angus Bike Chain Cycling Club.

Show presenters Cameron McNeish and Deziree Wilson were also actively involved throughout the event, interviewing and getting sound-bites from some of the cyclists.

On the Saturday morning, several more riders were interviewed outside the Northmuir Hall, including a worried looking Dougie Vipond. Accompanied by a film crew, riders tackled the first leg to Banchory, over the Cairn o’Mount, the first big climb of the day. It was here, on the steepest hairpin bend that Dougie had trouble with his chain, but was given immediate help by a fellow rider and by David Martin from Dundee, who has become the ‘official’ event photographer over the past few years.

Another camera crew was waiting to film the action and interview the riders at the second checkpoint, Gadie’s Restaurant at Oyne, about 100 km (63 miles) in. After some quick refreshment, the next leg took them up to Rhynie, over the Cabrach to Dufftown at about half distance. Then they faced the toughest challenge of the day - a gruelling 80 km (50 miles) to Braemar, including the steep ascent of the Lecht and two other mountain roads before reaching the relatively easy South Deeside road, and the last checkpoint at Braemar.

All that remained was the last climb over the Cairnwell before descending Glen Shee and Glen Isla, which many of the later riders covered in the dark, before returning safely to Kirrie.

The first riders back were Colin Crawford from Edinburgh and Findlay Watt from Dunfermline, closely followed by local man Brian Sproull of Dundee Thistle CC, all within 13h 30m for the distance. The rest of the field returned in ones and twos over the next few hours. A shivering Dougie Vipond arrived back with a small group a little after midnight, with the last rider coming in a few minutes later.

As riders relaxed after their tiring day, more were interviewed about their experiences, and everyone enjoyed some food while recovering from the day’s exertions. Hall stewards Jim and Muriel Smith had been invited to look in to see what it was all about and they stayed to chat to some of the riders.

Despite the organisers’ concerns that having television crews involved with the event would result in them taking things over, everyone thought it added a bit more excitement to the day. Most of the Triple Echo Productions people seemed to enjoy the day too. Whether Dougie Vipond enjoyed it, you’ll just have to watch the programme and see.

It will be broadcast this Sunday, on BBC2 Scotland at 7 p.m. It can also be seen on SkyDigital 990; FreeSat and Virgin.