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By Colin Smeeton
Newly-formed Isle of Arran Cycle Club (IOACC) members enjoyed a weekend of cycling activities at the recent Oban Sportive where they competed in two cycling events at the start of the month.
The friendly and welcoming cycling group was started by a small group of like-minded cyclists in 2020, and they regularly meet for club rides – from easy social spins to chasing fastest segment times – and attend cycling events and activities, both on the island and the mainland.
At their most recent outing in Oban, attended by five IOACC members, the group fared really well, and attracted a fair amount of interest as a new club which is not familiar to many, but with Arran being recognised as a popular destination for cyclists to visit owing to its cycling-friendly scenic routes, gravel paths and off-road forest tracks.
The first day of the Oban weekend on Saturday May 7, saw the cyclists take part in the Ben Cruachan Hill Climb event, a strenuous 2.7-mile stretch that climbs approximately 1,044ft with an average gradient of 6.9 per cent.
The private road has an infamous ‘sting in the tail’, as the incline steepens to around nine per cent, before ramping up to 18 per cent for the final section.
Despite the tough challenge, IOACC members achieved noteworthy results with Miller Crawford coming in at 12th position, Lachlan Jones at 16th, Bill Sturgeon at 17, Lee Girbow at 18th and Craig Hamilton at 31st.
The following day at the Oban Sportive, the team had a choice of two routes, Loch Awe (87 miles) and Loch Avich (56 miles), with the group achieving good results in both of these.
In the Loch Avich ride Miller Crawford achieved second place, Bill Sturgeon, third place, and Craig Hamilton came in at 27th. In the Loch Awe ride Lee Girbow came in at 12th position, with Lachlan Jones right behind him in 13th position.
IOACC welcome any cyclists to join the group which organise and arrange events, and share information on their Facebook page which can be found by searching for IOACC.
They welcome riders of all abilities, on road or off, and they welcome cyclists who are visiting Arran to join them for friendly, fun or competitive rides, regardless of ability.
Members are also happy to offer no-drop club rides which are ideal if you are new to cycling, looking to develop your interest, or wanting to learn how to ride in a group.