ELLON Rotarians heard an interesting talk from local man Ewan Black on Wednesday, as he gave a talk on his participation in the Caledonian Cycling Challenge in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Ewan was introduced by friend Dave Torry. Ewan is an accountant with NHS Grampian. He is originally from Wick but has lived in Ellon now for 40 years. A married man with 3 children. His main interest/ hobby is cycling and he is a member of Ythan Cycling Club. This has led him to be involved in the Caledonian Cycling Challenge which is sponsored by Macmillan Cancer Support.
Having lost both his parents to cancer, he felt this would be a worthwhile event to support and raised £850.00 in sponsor money for the 2011 CCC. The cycling event is an 83 mile long road trip on mainly closed roads around Perthshire and begins in Pitlochry and goes along the north-side of Loch Tummel to Tummel Bridge, onto Kinloch Rannoch then around Loch Rannoch itself. There is then a huge uphill ascent at Scheillian before turning south to Aberfeldy visiting more villages along the way back to Pitlochry. Total ascent is 2124m - almost 7000 feet. There were over 5,100 entrants and this in itself must have been a challenge for the organisers. Ewan showed us some photos of the crowds of entrants and spectators in Pitlochry at the start of the 2011 race.
His training for the event took place over a long period and involved weight and cycle training in his garage, cycling to work daily, a 40 mile round trip to Woodend. Alongside that, he cycled with Ythan Cycle Club up to 65 miles at a time in preparation.
Although, he originally planned to take part in the 2009 CCC, an accident three weeks prior to that event saw him break three ribs and a collarbone during a training stint. This was the same year that the road was sabotaged with tacks on the road at Kinlochrannoch, which held up the race for a couple of hours.
During his 2011 race, he cycled along with a colleague he knew had taken part in longer mileages than this and he persevered along with him and completed the circuit in 5 3/4 hours. Although, this was a couple of hours slower than the winner, it was a huge personal challenge for himself and is justifably proud of his achievement.