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Arran will be shown in all its glory when the Grinduro bike endurance event is shown on TV this weekend.
The bike challenge with a difference will be shown on The Adventure Show on BBC2 Scotland at 7pm tomorrow (Sunday).
It was filmed over the weekend of July 14 when the Scottish event was staged for the second time on Arran.
‘It’s not a sufferfest,’ says co- presenter Dougie Vipond, ‘but a great social event and a chance to take part in a major 83km biking endurance event which isn’t quite so competitive.’
However, participants who do like the challenge of competing have to push hard on four separate timed stages if they want to win. The rest of the time the participants can just enjoy the ride, in amazing scenery and weather, with time to recover and socialise in between sections.
The event takes place off road over asphalt, on gravel paths through forests and on some roads. It attracts many international participants riding different kinds of bikes.
More than 240 participants came from far and wide for this year’s event. Many travelled more than 5,000 miles to take part, coming from the USA, Australia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Belgium as well as Scotland, Ireland and England.
The first event took place in California, four years ago, where organiser racer Dain Zaffke wanted to combine all biking skills in one super-sized single event.
He said: ‘Grinduro is such a variety of things. Yes, you have to have some endurance, you also have to be a skilled descender. You have to have fitness to climb and it suits all different kinds of bikes. Different bikes will feel appropriate over different stages.’
But the aim is to put the fun back in to bike riding events and get back to the simplicity – on roads, on mountains and appeal to all. It’s also a very sociable event, unlike some where you turn up, compete, then go home again. There is a big social element to it before any of the racing weekend begins. And in the rest and recovery stages between the competitive timed sections there’s plenty time to make new friends.
The television coverage is by Scotland’s own independent television company Adventure Show Productions. One of the presenters, Richard Crawford, was also a competitor with a camera mounted on his bike. ‘The type of rider this appeals to is different. In between the timed sections of the event, there is the chance to enjoy the scenery as you ride,’ he said.
In the programme, as well as on the event, you will see the best views Arran has to offer, from rugged mountains to a sweeping coastline. For the first timed section, starting from Lamlash, it’s the ‘fire road of fury’, starting with a short climb, then the high speed downhill dash – 2.5kms on a gravelly road. The second timed section is out of Brodick and on a lung buster climb through a forest. The third timed section is a 5.5km rolling challenge and in the final it’s a fast technical single track descent, dodging trees ‘roots and rocks’.
Many of the participants are interviewed along the way and feature in the TV programme including those in the top three of the leader board. Irish woman Fiola Ni Fhoghlu, a former professional athlete who took up biking of all sorts, tells the story of trying track cycling, road racing, cross bike and mountain biking. She comments that when you’re running it’s much harder to be sociable but she enjoys the people side of biking where you are not so out of breath to talk.
Californian Tydeman Newman, from the birthplace of Grinduro, who finished in the men’s top three, says: ‘You’re not racing the whole time. You’re riding and having a good time, hanging out with your friends. You’re just racing for little bits here and there. There’s this crazy concept that everyone came up with. It’s just so much more fun than a normal race. But you still get to race them and feel you want to beat them.’
The Adventure Show goes out on BBC2 Scotland at 7pm tomorrow (Sunday). It is also available on FreeSat and Sky and later on the iplayer.
The cyclists sweep through Lamalash in a shot from the show. 01_B44grinduro01
Co-presenter Dougie Vipond in front of the mass competitiors at the high school base. 01B44grinduro02
And they’re off at the start of the Grinduro race. 01_B44grinduro03
A large group of cyclists at the high school. 01_B44grinduro05
Organiser Dain Zaffke being interviewed on the programme. 01_B44grinduro06
Competitors sweep round the corner in Lamlash. 01_B44grinduro07
The Grinduro stage at Brodick Castle. 01_B44grinduro08
A cyclist gets a warm welcome from Larua Aitcheson at the Velo Cafe in Lagg. 01_B44grinduro09
A cyclist on a forest road south of Whiting Bay. 01_B44grinduro10
A cyclist whizzes down a forest road. 01_B44grinduro12