Etape Loch Ness

The scottish highlands may not have the ideal weather for a 67-mile sportive ride, but it did provide a picture perfect, spectacular setting and challenging route for the inaugural Etape Loch Ness to take place

(Image credit: Tim Winterburn)

Wrestling with tyre levers and inner tubes as rain drips off the end of your nose is an unwelcome task on any ride, but when you’re attempting to avoid the clutches of the sweeper van and the humiliation of a black cross through your event number, it’s even more dreadful.

So imagine my despair when I found myself standing at the side of the road, wrestling with tyre levers and inner tubes as rain dripped off the end of my nose, watching helplessly as the sweeper closed slowly upon me and a very official-looking man (he had a clipboard) stepped out clutching a thick black marker pen. I was officially the last person. But, being only 10 miles in to the 67-mile route, there was no way I was throwing in the towel. I had ground to make up and I was going to have to work hard.

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