Round Strathaven 50
The Round Strathaven 50 Charity cycle event was held for the first time in 2002, using the same route as two 50 mile sponsored walks organised by the Strathaven Scout Group in 1968 and 1970. It has attracted an increasing number of participants each year, and in its 15 years to date has raised £90,000 for the benefit of both the Strathaven Scouts and Guides, a number of local Scottish Charities including Capability Scotland, CHAS Scotland, the East Kilbride based Kilbryde Hospice Appeal and Child Line in Scotland and also of the Charity, Health Help International, for its work of healing and help for the poor and destitute in Southern India and Zambia.
The RS50 is held every August and is a challenging cycle run, following a route of 50 miles around the Strathaven area through the surrounding villages of Sandford, Glassford, Chapleton and Auldhouse. The growing number of experienced cyclists who take part see the 50 mile route as presenting them with a worthwhile challenge. There is also an alternative and equally popular 15 mile route for those who prefer a lesser but equally worth-while challenge and for families with younger children.
Sunshine and Smile, after the Rain Ė the 2016 RS50
The excitement built early on an apparently fine Sunday morning. Cyclists began arriving, shoes clicking across the tarmac and the hall floor even as registration desks were being set up; as the start banner was being tied to trees on the road outside. Trays of cakes were handed in.
Strathavenís Gala Queen, Carly Redmond-White, and her Champion, William McVeigh, counted down, and hundreds of gears clicked round as slowly the peloton headed for the countryside, nervously anticipating the roads ahead, some drooling, desperate to reach Sandford.
The weather changed, and those roads became very challenging as the riders headed west. A detour this year took them to Loudoun Hill, and as they threw the bikes through the bends so that mighty volcanic plug disappeared as the clouds descended, drookit, windswept. Before long though they had the wind at their backs, and the Sandford tea urn was on the boil.
Not for all was the lure of the cake too tempting. The lead riders were checking in to St Patís in indecent haste, whilst others were still feasting. Orin McConville and Rhuari Yeoman, both from EK Road Club, led the field home, by some distance. They must have known there were more cakes and gallons of tea at the finish.
Meanwhile out on the roads weather conditions became kinder, and as the family run began in the afternoon the kids were blessed with sunshine. The long slog up to Ardochrig, where the total climb for the main run rose to over 2,500ft, was packed with parents being pulled along by energy-charged children, looking for their downhill section through the former forest section, turning at Whitelaw to pick up the tail wind on the run back to base, where certificates were grasped as parents wheezed and climbed tenderly from the saddle.
Once again those good folk from Friends of Strathaven Scouts, ably assisted by Strathavenís Rotary Club and Round Tablers, amongst many others, brought smiles to the town and to the countryside around. Almost 700 cyclists took to the roads this year, with the main run booked to capacity and the afternoon family run getting busier by the year. The biggest smiles on the roads may have belonged to the marshals as the riders whizzed by, messages of sharp bends and steep hills passing along the ride, oblivious to the rain.
The funds raised by the efforts of the countyís cyclists, once again passing £10,000, will soon be distributed to benefit the youngsters of the town, and many more further afield. The Scouts and the Guides will receive essential funding, and in addition to their overseas causes FOSS are also looking at ways to have defibrillator facilities available in Strathaven. And planning is already underway, for RS50 2017 will be back by popular demand, third Sunday in August the date to mark. As always one of the highlights is the post event feedback from the riders of the day, some desperate to get back on the saddle to work off the calories gained as they lingered at Sandford and Glassford.
The second edition of the popular Round Straven 50 Route Guide published by FOSS is now available priced £5. The booklet describes both routes together with a number of variations. It not only provides a detailed description of the routes with accompanying OS maps but includes lots of information about the area and the places and items of interest which can be seen or visited and it should prove of interest to not only cyclists but walkers and even runners. Copies can be obtained by contacting Iain Park (see Contact Us for details) or a copy can be obtained at the discounted price of £4.50 from various Strathaven Business Association outlets in Strathaven for those holding The Strathaven Card visit its website.
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