LISTEN: Gary Willis shares what to expect this weekend during Etape Caledonia
Thousands of cyclists are making their way to Highland Perthshire this weekend to take part in the biggest ever Etape Caledonia.
Organisers, Limelight Sports, are expecting as many as six thousand participants are set to put themselves to the test as part of the eight-five-mile route starting in Pitlochry and tours across the rest of Highland Perthshire.
Gary Willis, Limelight Sports technical director, said: “We’ve got one of the biggest numbers we’ve ever managed to get for it. So, we’ve got six thousand eight hundred that have signed up and but we’re expecting maybe a bit lower than that, just with people not being able to make, et cetera, et cetera.
“But we’re kind of looking for quite a bumper per year, which just goes to show that most people have been and whatever position they’ve been at and are just desperate to go there and, and get riding and doing events and, coming up here.”
Organisers are expecting this year to be the most popular after cyclists were couped up inside during lockdown, forcing the event to be cancelled last year.
Mr Willis added: “I was driving this morning and stopped off and had a chat with this couple that were just getting ready from their bikes. And they were staying in one of the hotels and they were doing the event, but they were out today and just made like a super long weekend of it. And there’s a lot of that going on.
“I know that there’s people coming up, they stay for a few days, have about ride about explore the area and then do the event. And then it’s maybe back off home on the Sunday night difficult if they’ve work on Monday and try to make a long weekend of it.
“So, there’s quite a big portion of our participants do that as kind of spend an area and just put it on the radar from a bike riding point of view is quite kind of high up our agenda.”
This is the first year where the organisers, Limelight Sports, are reversing the route after meeting with members of the community.
“We worked closely with the local councillors and different council groups and then a few different other business groups, farming groups. We kind of go through that and we have quite a few, unfortunately they were just online, drop-in sessions where people could come in and ask the questions.
“But it’s really through those kind of formal communication forums for people who can get in touch, or we have the point on the website as well where people can get in touch with any questions.”
More information on day can be found on: https://www.heartland.scot/community/community-updates/etape-2021-explained-in-full/