Highwayman Challenge – Route Update

Dear Highwayman Challenge participant,

With just five days to go until the first Highwayman Challenge, Ayr Roads Cycling Club /Harry Fairbairn BMW would like to wish you all the best with your preparation.

We have had to make an important change to the route of the event following a final route recce yesterday.  Unfortunately there is a 500metre section of the Carrick Forest Drive that we found inappropriate for road cycles so for 2012 we will have to omit our beloved Strada Grigio.  Due to logging works at the Loch Braden end there is a stone chip surface that is neither practical, nor fun for road cycles. I should add that it remains a spectacular ride with amazing scenery – we hope to return soon!

The Carrick Forest Drive – not this year sorry, fingers crossed for 2013!

Luckily we have a ‘route B’ in which the second checkpoint moves from Loch Doon to Bargrennan.  Total distance remains the same, at just over 103kilometres.  We will venture deep into Highwayman territory, descending Tairlaw Summit all the way back down passed Glentrool, and returning to the third checkpoint at Barr Village via Barrhill.  You can view the route here: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1256068

Our checkpoint controls will be at:

0km Girvan – Start Open 0900 Close 0930
23km Straiton Open 0946 Close 1102
57km Bargrennan Open 1054 Close 1318
90km Barr Open 1201 Close 1531
103km Girvan – Finish Open 1226 Close 1622

Retro-Bike Trophy:

We encourage you to dust off that museum piece and bring it out for another outing – the most handsome cycle wins our specially commissioned trophy by the Sprocket Man.  All you have to do is notify the judging panel at sign on that you wish your cycle to be considered.  To qualify the bike should be at least 15 years old and look suitably ancient to a modern teenager!

Fundraising Target:

Please please please dig deep to support our official charity partner, the MS Society Scotland.  If every participant was to donate just £10 we will have raised over £1,500 for this deserving cause!  And given the entry fee was so fantastically low, we should all have some spare change to do so…  As an added incentive, the rider responsible for raising the most money will be awarded with a free entry into this year’s FreshNLo Pedal for Scotland.  Visit our justgiving site now to make your pledge – http://www.justgiving.com/HighwaymaymanChallenge

Advice for the day:

Come prepared with clothing appropriate for the weather – we have booked Mr Sunshine, but he’s been known to be a wee bit unreliable…

Have a good audax!

Carry some basic spares – road conditions are fantastic, especially the descent of Tairlaw which is an absolute joy.  However, punctures do happen so carry a spare tube and puncture repair kit.  We’ll make sure there is a track pump at each control to help blast the air up

Snacks are good – We’ll have a tasty spread laid on at the end of the ride with donations being taken for our charity friends.  Meanwhile there a few businesses on route that would be happy for your custom, but its always recommended to carry some tasty treats in your backpocket.

Finally – don’t forget to get your brevet card stamped!  Event Registration at our Girvan Academy HQ opens at 0830 and these will be issued at the start of the event and must be returned at the finish in order to qualify as having completed the first Highwayman Challenge.

If there is any additional information you require please don’t hesitate to get in touch – ayrroads @ gmail .com

We look forward to seeing you Saturday!

Postscript: following a rider enquiry, we include the following information about our decision to re-route the event:

Why can’t the Highwayman Challenge Audax use the Carrick Forest Drive?

Due to commercial timber operations where the road forks between Loch Braden and Stinchar Bridge the section where the 2011 David Bell Memorial Race returned to asphalt last year is not passable.  A section of the weak road has been replaced by loose stone chips only navigable on a mountain bike.  As an alternative the Forestry Commission were good enough to scrape and grade an extended area down to Talleminnoch Cottage.  This section is particularly scenic, but descends quite steeply in places with tight corners on a very loose surface, making it too hazardous.

Why was the decision made so late?

The Carrick Forest Drive is open to the public between May and late September/October.  The Forestry Commission scrape and grade the route before this as the route deteriorates over winter.  Therefore, with our event running in June we expect to enjoy an excellent quality surface.  We have communicated regularly with the Forestry Commission over the past 10 months and found them hugely accommodating.  On the 30th May we were aware that there was an issue with sections west of Loch Braden with mixed reports about usability.  Therefore the Ayr Roads CC club run visited the area on June 3rd and made a collective decision to change the route.

What next?

We are very grateful to the Forestry Commission for how supportive they have been to Ayr Roads Cycling Club with our events, and we are keen to maintain this relationship and to return to the Carrick Forest as soon as next year.

Although we have lost an exciting stretch of road we believe the Highwayman Challenge still has lots to offer.   With the majority of participants being local to the South Carrick area its an opportunity for many to take part in a mass ride.  All participants can enjoy the stunning scenery and hospitality of South Carrick, to get to experience the roads the professional and elite riders will use on Sunday, to enter into the retro bike competition for those who want, and also to fundraise for a great cause – the MS Society Scotland.

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One thought on “Highwayman Challenge – Route Update

  1. Pingback: Main Race Preview « South Carrick David Bell Memorial Race

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