FOLLOWING the success of the South Yell Sportive in July, the Tingwall Sportive held on Sunday had a lot to live up to.
Although the weather was not as nice as Yell, the breezy south-east wind and murky conditions did not deter the 56 cyclists. Twenty-six tackled the longer 36.5 mile route and 30 preferred the shorter 12.6 mile route.
After a quick safety briefing and words of encouragement the groups were set on their way by NHS board chairman and local councillor Betty Fullerton.
The shorter route started from the Tingwall Hall, passing through Laxfirth and Stromfirth before heading back up the dreaded Wormadale hill and down the other side, back to the hall. The longer route left from the hall, through Laxfirth, up to Voe and then back through Gonfirth, Aith, Bixter, up Wormadale and back to Tingwall.
The longer route in particular has some difficult climbs and can be quite technical in parts but thankfully everybody made it back home safely without too many complaints although there was some mention of saddle sores and aching legs. The main issue was hunger pangs which were soon remedied with some well earned soup, sandwiches and home bakes.
There was a wide range of abilities taking part from very experienced riders to some self-titled OAPs – “Old Age Peddlers”.
A club spokesman said: “I’m very impressed with all the cyclists. For some, the route they chose was a real challenge and they all gave it their best and made it back to the finish in good spirits.”
Although this was not a road race there were some impressive times posted, with Marvin Inkster first home from the big route in two hours two minutes.
Neil Williamson put in an impressive ride to be first home from the shorter route in a time of 57 minutes, proving that his own unique method of carbo-loading had paid off.
The first woman home was Joyce Adamson who completed the short route in one hour five minutes (for full set of results see the Shetland Wheelers website).
There were a wide variety of bikes taking part, including a recumbent bike completing the short route and a tandem completing the long route.
All the riders said they had enjoyed their cycle although the last part had been particularly tough with the south easterly wind spoiling the long descent from Wormadale into Tingwall. One of the main aims of the Tingwall Sportive was to get people out on their bikes and enjoying themselves. Many had not been on their bike in a long time with one woman saying: “I haven’t been on my bike in over five years but I really enjoyed today and I am going to keep this up.”
Another said this had given her the confidence to try cycling to work on a fine day. Another aim of the event was to raise money for CLAN to help raise funds for a new cancer support centre in Aberdeen. There were Sunday teas, face painting and cycling activities for the bairns at the hall. Each cyclist paid a fixed entry fee but in addition some riders got sponsored to cycle.
Marvin Inkster matched his efforts on the bike with his efforts in gathering sponsors, raising £790. Although there is some sponsor money still to come in it is thought that there will be more than £2,400 raised in sponsorship and the total raised by the sportive will be around £3,500. The spokesman said the event would not have been possible without professional support from two groups, Shetland Radio Club which provided communication over both routes, and Shetland Motorcycle Club which provided the travelling marshals.
He said thanks must also go to Robinson and Morrison’s shop for providing free bottled water and milk, Jeanette and the kitchen ladies, all those who baked, all the marshals, Barry Stevens, Iris Anderson, Betty Fullerton, Jim Christie, Jim Anderson, Jane Moncrieff, Laura Hutcheson, the Bike Project, “Healthy Working Lives”, Active Schools, and of course all the entrants.
If anybody has any comments, suggestions for future events or would like more information on Shetland Wheelers please visit www.shetlandwheelers.co.uk Anyone who still needs to hand in sponsor money can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.