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Pedal power was a winner for Aberfoyle; New cycling event wheeled into village.

Byline: Chris Marzella

Victory David Griffiths and Kerry MacPhee Aberfoyle played host to a brand new cycling event that saw 250 riders taking part.

The inaugural Duke's Weekender saw road cyclists, mountain bikers and gravel specialists from around the UK gather for a two day celebration of all things cycling.

The event began with a closed road hill climb up the Duke's Pass on Saturday afternoon, as riders took on the gruelling ascent with spectators gathering at the half way point to cheer them up the unrelenting two kilometre climb.

Among the competitors were a host of familiar names, including Graeme Obree, who twice broke the world hour record and was a world champion on the track, plus Commonwealth athlete Gareth Montgomerie.

However, nobody could match the speed of David Griffiths, who clocked a time of 5.38.

In the women's category, Kerry MacPhee took the win with a blistering 7.05.

The hill climb served as both a stand alone event and also as the prologue to Sunday's Gravel Enduro for anyone who still had energy to burn. The five stage race started in Aberfoyle and took in 65 kilometres of the region's most scenic trails.

Rain showers throughout the day made for some tricky conditions, but none of that bothered David Duggan, who romped home for the win. KERRYMACPHEE built on her win the day before by claiming victory in the women's race.

Sunday also saw a children's enduro race in which 47 youngsters aged between eight and 14 showed the adults how it was done.

They were cheered off the start line by none other than Skye cyclist Danny MacAskill famous for the film of him cycling round the ridge of the Cuillins on his mountain bike . Not all the action took place between the tapes though, with a sold out film night staged in the Forth Inn on Saturday night. Graeme Obree was the star attraction as he discussed his life as a pro cyclist.

Adventure athlete Lee Craigie spoke about her recent 1200-kilometre race through the mountain of Kyrgyzstan and Andy McKenna was on hand to talk about his film, 'This Way Up', a humorous look at the challenges of life as a mountain biker with multiple sclerosis.

Event organiser, Stu Thomson, said: "This was our first Duke's Weekender and it has surpassed all our expectations.

"The support we have been shown from the community has been an integral part of the success and we can't thank them enough.

" So many people got involved either through, competing, volunteering or spectating and we couldn't have done it without them.

"This is one of the best, not to mention most scenic, regions in the whole of Scotland for cycling and it's fantastic to have this platform to showcase it."

This was our first Duke's Weekender and it surpassed our expectations


Having fun Youngsters made the most of the action

Fine voice Cycling enthusiasts roared on the riders

Fanatics The hill climb saw a great atmosphere along the route

Pedal power The steep terrain and trails proved a tough challenge for riders

Leading the way A raft of racers took on the tough terrain

Tough ride Two riders celebrate tackling the gravel enduro

Sticking together The team from Stirling Bike Club were out in force

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Stirling Observer (Stirling, Scotland)
Date:Sep 14, 2018
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