Sportive: By cyclists for cyclists

Brian Richardson and Alistair Learmonth ride the Ken Laidlaw Sportive
Brian Richardson and Alistair Learmonth ride the Ken Laidlaw Sportive

The Ken Laidlaw Sportive has again underlined its enduring popularity among cyclists near and far with another memorable day in the saddle for all.

The spectacular sight of Sunday morning’s 442-strong peleton snaking its way along High Street gave a clear indication that this was to be the latest chapter in the event’s success story.

Organised by Hawick Cycling Club, the sportive got under way with the traditional grand depart from Mansfield Park at 9am, carried out this year by club stalwart Tosh Scott. And as the lycra-clad entrants rode up Mansfield Road, thoughts turned to an eagerly anticipated day’s cycling ahead, with two routes of 46 and 100 miles providing an often testing yet still highly enjoyable few hours in the saddle.

With hardly any wind, long spells of sunshine and no rain, the weather could hardly have been better as the cyclists shifted up and down the gears to tackle such extremes as the notorious ascent of The Swire near Yarrowford and over the Ettrick Valley, and the devilish descent at Note o’ the Gate.

The welcome sight of the two regular food stations at Newcastleton and Boston Hall, near Ettrick village, both of which were manned by volunteers, saw riders devouring staple cycling snacks such as tray bakes, bananas and jelly beans, as well as topping up on water and energy drinks; while on their return to Mansfield Park, a pasta meal, courtesy of Hawick RFC, was the perfect way to refuel after the event.

To commemorate their achievements, all riders received a medal and souvenir number, both of which were fantastic

Speaking to the Hawick News this week, a cycling club spokesperson said: “The sportive went fantastically and continues to go from strength to strength every year. Everyone was so complimentary, saying what a fantastic event it was how well organised it had been.

“We had riders from as far afield as Liverpool, Sunderland, Middlesborough, Lochgilphead, Fife and Dundee. And we still get riders who rode in the first sportive coming back year after year.

“We set out to make our sportive a luxury event compared with the rough and ready affairs. Our comfortable village halls compared with a poly tent. Our food tables groaning with goodies. And our support vehicles and motorbikes more obvious on the route. Our event is by cyclists for cyclists.”

The cycling club would like to say a huge thanks to the army of sportive volunteers, many of whom were not club members, who helped make the day such a success, as well as the motorbike marshals and the Red Cross for their continued assistance.

Quickest home in the 100m event were Hawick trio Davie Cavers, Wilson Renwick and Cameron Fraser in five hours 14 minutes, while Hawick’s Steven Walker and Calum McLeod of Glasgow were fastest over the 46-mile course in two hours and 22 minutes.