Etape Loch Ness 2018

The fifth annual Etape Loch Ness 2018 cycling sportive (that means it’s a challenge, not a race!) took place on Sunday 29th April 2018. This is one of the Highland’s flagship sporting events. It attracted over 5,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities this year. The main attraction is the chance to cycle the 66 miles around Loch Ness on closed roads. An amazing opportunity to appreciate the stunning scenery like never before!

Visit Inverness Loch Ness takes on Etape Loch Ness 2018

Blue sign with the symbol of a bike to indicate a Cycle RouteAt Visit Inverness Loch Ness, we entered a team of five into the Etape Loch Ness 2018, helping to raise funds for the event’s main charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.

Training for the Loch Ness bike ride proved to be a challenge. The hours of daylight are short during winter in the North of Scotland. It was also one of the coldest winters for a long time. Road bike tyres and icy roads are not a good combination. And the Highlands has an awful lot of hills! Who would have thought?

Etape Loch Ness Day Arrives

Inverness cityscape with blue skies and river nessSo, after months of training, we found ourselves at the start line on a bright April Inverness morning at 6.30 am. The city was buzzing with cyclists and we felt the positive atmosphere.

Like the whole event, the start was very well organised. Cyclists set off in small groups according to their estimated finish time. So the road never felt crowded. We were able to enjoy the traffic-free A82, pedalling towards the first glimpse of Loch Ness at Lochend. In spite of the early hour on a Sunday morning, locals and visitors were cheering on the cyclists in all the villages along the Loch-side. It was great to see so many friendly faces.

Water gateway in Fort AugustusSoon the dreaded hill at Glendoe near Fort Augustus loomed! Here a lot of cyclists decided to walk a bit, just to appreciate the amazing scenery. While others gritted their teeth and pedalled on to eventually hear the sound of bagpipes at the Suidhe Viewpoint.

The three food stops along the route at Invermoriston, Whitebridge and Dores were well stocked with energy gels, drinks and brownies. Many participants allowed themselves a quick break in the sunshine before pushing on towards the finish in Inverness.

We did it!

The cyclists were welcomed back to Inverness by cheerful crowds and glorious weather. Not to mention a Harry Gow’s Dream Ring (a glazed cream doughnut for non-Invernessians) and a glass of beer at the finish line. Or a bottle of water and a banana – the choice was ours!

Inside the generous goodie bag we received at the finish line was a flyer for the Loch Ness Marathon and River Ness 10k. A new challenge maybe?

It was a great experience to be part of the Etape Loch Ness 2018. Will you join us next year? Or maybe take part in one of the other great events in Inverness and around Loch Ness? There’s the Etape Loch Ness, Loch Ness Marathon and River Ness 10K, Inverness Half-MarathonLoch Ness Beast Race and many more. An event out there for everyone, if you’re up for the challenge!