On a picture postcard perfect Autumn Sunday, hospital consultant Arthur Doyle (Dooleys Cycles) gave a lesson in how to ride a technical time trial with a two minute plus beating of the field in the classic Tour de Trossachs.
Ever consistent Jim Cusick (Glasgow Couriers) was second with Plowman Craven professional and Scottish road race champion, Evan Oliphant taking bronze.
Doyle’s recent training regime of riding 55 miles to work each way, prepared him perfectly for the climbs, descents, corners and gnarly surfaces of the “Bristly Country” as the Trossachs translates from the Gaelic language.
We decided to do the “scenic thing” first and drove the course, through the heart of Rob Roy MacGregor country.
The motel not far from the start is named after the great man – or cattle thieving rogue, depending on your point of view.
Then there was the Duke’s Pass out of Aberfoyle – the first of the day’s big climbs and named after Red Rob’s arch rival, The Duke of Montrose.
The descent to Loch Achray was bone dry, fast and beautiful with the Trossachs Hotel looking impossibly picturesque.
Romantic authors, William Wordsworth and Walter Scott first introduced the world to the beauty of the Trossachs; with Scott’s novels, ‘Rob Roy’ and ‘The Lady of the Lake’ both set in the area.
The technical section along the banks of Lochs Achray and Venachar was as rough as ever, with the ‘snap’ at Brig o’ Turk waiting to catch out those who hadn’t dropped into the inside ring.
The narrow twisting Inver Trossachs road by-passes Callendar and then it’s the second big climb of the day over to Thornhill.