It's cycling Jim, but not as we know it! Formerly known as the Grand Fondo d'Ardbeg this year's annual Islay cycling event will be held on Sunday the 3rd of August under the name "Ride of the Falling Rain", referring to Islay's changeable climate and another cycling event called Ride of the Falling Leaves. This cycling event however is not a race like the spring and fall classics on the continent but a challenging and inspiring trip over Islay's lonely roads or as Jeremy Hastings says: "We'd love to say that this is one of the premier cyclo sportives in western europe - but it's not. it's just a bunch of old farts out for a longer than usual sunday bike ride. While you can refuel (so to speak) at ardbeg, there's no marshalling or manned feed stops along the way. If you want munchies and drink en-route, take them with you on the bike."
brian palmer, or Islay's Colnago authority, whatever you prefer best, has set up a special website for this purpose which is both well designed and informative. On his new website brian explains the ins and outs of this fabulous ride which benefits a Scottish charity, the Braveheart Fund. The start and finish of this 100 miles (162km) cycling trip will be at Debbies CafÃ© at Bruichladdich at 10am, Islay Time. The best possible start for this cycling trip is of course an espresso at Debbies, which will give you enough energy to make it to the Ardbeg Distillery which is the second and last stop. brian: "The approximate half-way point is at Ardbeg Distillery where you can stuff your faces with the fine fare available at the Old Kiln Cafe, and Ardbeg have generously offered a free dram for all participants." Continue reading....The Route: as said before the start will be at Debbie's and from there you will head for Loch Gorm, return passing the Gruinart Flats to Bridgend, from there to Cluanach, back to Bowmore and over the low road to Port Ellen where you take the road to Ardbeg for a complimentary dram. If you can still drive your bike it's back to Port Ellen and over the high road to Ballygrant. From Ballygrant it's back to Loch Indaal and over the main road to Port Charlotte where you head over the Rhinns to Kilchiaran Bay and Portnahaven to finally return to Bruichladdich. There is a detailed description of this part of the race on the Islayinfo website. A full size pdf map will be available soon from the Ride of the Falling Rain website.
For further enquiries and a newsletter contact brian at firstname.lastname@example.org