The Marmotte Ecosse is a new closed road Gran Fondo from the organisers of the Tour of Cambridgeshire that I rode last year. A whole weekend of cycling on fully closed roads will give all types of riders a chance to experience something that only the pros enjoy; being able to ride without the fear of vehicles taking you out or squeezing you off the road, a real joy.
Last years Tour of Cambridgeshire was the first time that I got the chance to ride on closed public roads and it was a fantastic experience; see my report here. Organisers The Very Cool Events Company, are taking the same format and repeating it around the roads of Kay Park in Kilmarnock, Scotland. Friday starts the weekend off with a 5k run, the Tour of Colour, a chance for riders and their supporters to join in a fun event before the serious stuff starts.
Saturday sees the Marmotte Ecosse Chrono, that’s a 20k time trial held on closed roads, with a start ramp, the kind you see stage races on the telly! Even better it’s under cover, to shade you from the scorching Scottish sun… Entries are limited to 600 riders, but if it’s anything like the Tour of Cambridgeshire last year you’d better hurry, places sold out fast.
Following Saturday’s Chrono, Sunday sees the main event, the Marmotte Ecosse Gran Fondo. If you’re not familiar with the Gran Fondo concept it is a format taken from continental events. The idea is to take a sportive, stick a road race on the front and hold it on closed roads. That way every one gets a chance to ride in relative safety, at their own level. If you decide to take the race option, then you will race in age categories and the top three in each category will be invited up onto the podium to receive their medals and prizes.
The course is 137 kilometres long and climbs 1535 metres through the Scottish countryside and while it might not be exactly Alpine, it includes a King of the Mountains award for the shortest cumulative time taken by riders on the nominated climbs on route, so sharpen up those climbing legs.
The Marmotte in the Marmotte Ecosse comes from the series of Gran Fondos run under the Marmotte name; these include the Marmotte Alpes, Pyrenees, Sestriere and now Ecosse. All theses events have been awarded the prestigious Marmotte title “due to the grandeur of the routes, scenery and parcours”. Tom Caldwell from the organisers The Very Cool Events Company Ltd said; “I am delighted to be able bring this iconic brand and event to such a beautiful part of the United Kingdom. The Tour of Cambridgeshire was such a success that it paved the way for us to have this event incorporated within the prestigious Marmotte Gran Fondo Series. I am also delighted to be working with the Braveheart Cycling Fund, helping to raise their profile and raise funds for such an incredible cause supporting young riders in Scotland. I look forward to seeing a fantastic race together with the legions of leisure and charity riders enjoying the beautiful countryside in and around Kilmarnock.”
We hope to have one of our Handsling Racing riders present at the Marmotte Ecosse and will bring you back a report once they have ridden it. In the meantime check out their web page for all the details.
|Chain Reaction||Wiggle||Evans Cycles||Hargroves Cycles|
|Merlin Cycles||Rutland Cycling||Cyclestore||ProBikeKit|
|Ribble Cycles||AW Cycles||Biketart||Cycle Surgery|
|Leisure Lakes Bikes||HandslingBikes|