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Etape Loch Ness

  • 23 April 2023
  • Age: 18 years or over

Etape Loch Ness

A cycle sportive taking place around iconic Loch Ness offering the chance to cycle 66 miles (106 km) on traffic free roads. The 360° closed-road route around the loch starts and finishes in the Highland capital of Inverness, offering 900 m of ascent. There is a timed King of the Mountain stage, with a 4.8 mile (9 km) climb gaining 380 m in height with a gradient reaching 12% at times.

Now more than ever charities need our support. Whether it’s fundraising with your own place or securing a Team Macmillan charity place – why not use your ride to help support the 220,000 people in Scotland living with cancer. As a thank you for your hard work, you’ll receive a technical jersey upon raising £200 and of course the support of our fabulous cheer squad.

Please refer to Rider Zone for everything you need to know about the Etape Loch Ness from registration, start waves, support stations and recommended kit.

Keep in touch with us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #ridelochness

Register Interest for 2023

The Route

The Etape Loch Ness follows a 66-mile / 106-km route, starting by the riverside at Bught Park, Inverness IV3 5SQ and finishing by Eden Court, Bishops Road, Inverness IV3 5SA.  Leaving Inverness, the route follows the A82 west to Fort Augustus, passing through the villages of Drumnadrochit and Invermoriston, arriving in Fort Augustus where it crosses the historic Caledonian Canal. The route then starts its return journey to Inverness via South Loch Ness on the B862/B852.

 

 

 

The Etape Loch Ness takes place on closed roads (please note that the final section of the route in Inverness is left lane closure only). Full details of the road closures are available here.

Entry Includes

  • Unrivalled scenery on closed roads
  • Finisher's medal
  • Event Giveaway
  • Electronic timing
  • Mechanical support
  • Support stations along the route
  • King of the Mountain split time
  • Downloadable finisher's certificate

Why Ride Loch Ness?

Apart from the opportunity to visit one of the world’s best known destinations, with breath-taking scenery and the centuries-old myth and mystery of the Loch Ness monster…

Etape Loch Ness riders are taking on the challenge for many reasons: to achieve their own personal goals, raise money for good causes or simply to cycle in one of the UK’s most popular cycle sportives renowned for its scenery, atmosphere and warm Highland welcome.

Rider Feedback

“ Well organised, fantastic route and a wee dram at the end! ”

Previous Participant

FAQ

What is included in the entry fee?

Your entry fee includes unrivalled scenery on closed roads, commemorative finisher’s medal, event giveaway, electronic timing, mechanical support, support stations along the route, optional King of the Mountain time trial and downloadable finisher’s certificate. 

Is it possible to enter on the day?

We’re sorry there are absolutely no event weekend entries for the Etape Loch Ness due to the practicalities of planning for a fixed number of participants. Sign up to our enews so we can keep in touch with you about next year’s event.  

Is there a minimum age?

The Etape Loch Ness is open to cyclists aged 18 and over on the day of event.     

Can I cycle with my friends?

Yes, as long as everyone who wants to cycle together put the same estimated finish time and start together name when they entered we will endeavour to put you in the same start wave.

Can I cycle with my club mates or as a team?

Yes, as long as everyone who wants to cycle together put the same estimated finish time and start together name when they entered we will endeavour to put you in the same start wave.

How do I know that my online entry was successful?

You will have received a confirmation email at the time of registering, if this did not happen please email us or visit My Events to check your entry.

Can I make changes to my entry?

You can log back into your entry here, using your email and account password. Once there you can make any relevant changes to your personal details.

Can I transfer my place to another participant?

If you are no longer able to participate, it is possible to transfer your place to another rider.  You can do this by logging into your entry through My Events.  Please note it is your responsibility to find a replacement cyclist and the transfer of place must be completed no later than 26 February 2023 for the 2023 event.  Once the new rider has claimed the transfer and paid the full entry fee online, you will automatically be issued with a refund, minus the transfer admin fee.

Please see our terms and conditions of entry for further information.

Please note: Never swap your participant number with any other participant, as this could cause problems for our medical teams and timing service. If event organisers become aware of anyone who swaps their race number they will be disqualified and reported to British Cycling.

I have entered but am unable to take part, can I get a refund?

You are entitled to a refund within 14 days of entering (the ‘cooling off period’), after this time we regret we are unable to give refunds. As stated in our terms and conditions of entry, we will deduct a £10.00 administration fee from all refunds.

Notice of withdrawal from the event must be communicated by email stating clearly the desire to withdraw and putting the word WITHDRAWAL in the subject line of the email. Withdrawals will not be accepted by telephone. Participants can withdraw at any point prior to the event with no refund.

Is it possible to defer my entry to the following year if, for example, I am injured or unable to take part for other reasons?

We’re sorry but as stated in our terms and conditions of entry, we do not operate a deferment system, so we regret it is not possible to defer your entry to another year.

What type of bike can I use?

Road bikes are preferable, but gravel, mountain, hybrid touring bikes and tandem bikes are acceptable. If you are riding a tandem, both participants need to enter as individual participants.

Please note that fixed wheel bikes (bikes that use the pedals as a brake) are NOT permitted. Please refer to the Event Rules for list of bikes that are not permitted.

An electric bike or Ebike is permitted, provided it is a UK road legal bike with maximum electro speed of 15.5 mph (25 kph) and rated power output of 250 watts or less.

A recumbent bicycle or trike is permitted however riders will be required to have a head height safety flag attached to the bicycle.

Bikes which are not of standard design must be approved by the organisers before the event. The organisers reserve the right to withdraw a participant from the event if their bike is considered, in the organiser’s opinion, to represent a danger to the cyclist or other participants. Please contact us on [email protected] with any queries.

What type of handlebars are permitted?

You are not permitted to have unconventional handlebars including triathlon bars, aero bars, clip-ons, prayer bars, Spinaci bars and cow bars. However, MTB bar ends are permitted on mountain bikes.

What kit should I wear?

Please be aware that weather conditions can change and deteriorate rapidly in the Scottish Highlands and you should bring appropriate clothing to keep warm in any adverse weather.  Please visit our Rider Zone for mandatory and recommended kit. 

Do I have to wear a helmet?

An approved bike safety helmet must be worn by all participants at all times whilst taking part in the event. Your helmet must comply with the various accepted standards such as ANSI Z90.4, SNELL B90, EN 1078 or equivalent national standard. Please note the British Kite Mark is not sufficient.

Is there a cut off time?

All riders must adhere to the minimum speed of 13mph. Riders falling behind this will be given the option of returning to the Event Hub in Inverness in the sweep bus or completing the course on open roads. This ensures that the roads are reopened as agreed with the authorities and local communities and once it is deemed safe to do so by the Event Organisers. This gives riders 5 hours and 38 minutes to complete the course on closed roads.

We want everyone to complete the course and have a safe and enjoyable experience.  For those participants who can no longer continue for mechanical, physical or medical reasons, the sweep team will take you and your bike back to the Event Hub in Inverness.

We reserve the right to use discretion to insist when riders get on the Sweep Bus. This will be on the grounds of safety of the rider or other road users, specifically on the section of the route on the A82 or for medical reasons.

Any rider who refuses to get on the sweep bus will be asked to sign an event disclaimer, will have their timing chip and rider number removed and will be advised that the Highway Code and usual Road Traffic laws apply.

Please note the Event Organisers’ decision is final. 

Can I listen to music during the event?

No, listening to portable music players or using headphones along the route is not permitted for safety reasons.

Can I use my mobile phone during the event?

You are NOT allowed to use your mobile phone while cycling. Please stop at the road side if you need to make or receive a call.

Where is the Event Hub?

The Event Hub is located at the Northern Meeting Park, Ardross Street, Inverness IV3 5NS.

Please note access is via Eden Court and Highland Council car parks and Ardross Street.

Where does the event start and finish?

The Start is located at Bught Park, Bught Road, Inverness IV3 5SQ which is approx. 0.6 miles from the Event Hub.

The Finish is on Bishops Road, Inverness IV3 5SA.

What information will I receive in advance?

You will receive an email with your final event instructions and advising your rider number and start time/wave  at least 2 weeks before the event.

If you have signed up to our e-news, you will also receive a monthly e-newsletter. We also recommend following us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for regular event updates.

 

When is pre-event registration?

Pre-event registration takes place 10.00-19.00 on Saturday 22 April 2023 at the Event Hub at the Northern Meeting Park, Inverness, IV3 5NS.  Please note there is NO registration on Sunday morning.

All participants must attend to collect their event pack. Please ensure you bring photo ID with you and a copy of your confirmation email.

If you cannot make the registration, you can get a friend to register for you. They need to bring photo ID for themselves as well as a signed letter from you (template available here) confirming that they can collect your event pack.

When will I receive my event pack?

You need to collect your event pack at Registration on Saturday 22 April 2023 between 10.00 – 19.00 at the Event Hub at the Northern Meeting Park, Inverness, IV3 5NS.

Please remember to bring valid photo ID and copy of your confirmation email or if someone is collecting on your behalf, they also need photo ID and a signed letter from you (template letter here) authorising them to collect your pack.

Please note it is not possible to collect your event pack on the morning of the event.

What do I need to bring with me on event day?

You will need to make sure that you bring your bike, helmet, rider number (collected during registration), two full bottles of water and energy snacks, and wear appropriate clothing for the time of year.

The average temperature in April is 11.5 degrees, however highs of 16 degrees and lows of 9 degrees have been recorded.  As the weather around Loch Ness can be very changeable, we strongly recommend that you check the weather forecast and bring the appropriate clothing.

Please refer to our recommended kit list here.

 

How is the start organised?

Participants will be split into 4 waves (A-D) based on your estimated finish time. You will receive an email with your specific start wave (A-D) and your allocated time to arrive at your start holding area, and these times are posted on our Rider Zone.

Groups of riders will be released at 3 minute intervals between 06.00 and 06.50.

Your start wave is based on your estimated finish time as provided when you entered online. This ensures that the fastest and most experienced riders start at the head of the field and allows you to cycle with participants of similar ability for your safety and enjoyment.

Please allow plenty of time to get to your start holding area within your allocated arrival time. The start area is 0.6 miles from the Event Hub. Please note that there are different access routes to the start holding areas for each start wave.

If you miss your arrival time for your start holding you will be asked to join the last wave of riders. If you miss the final wave we are very sorry but you will NOT be allowed to take part in the event.

What do I do with my timing chip?

Your timing chip is attached to the rider number that you affix to your bike using the cable ties included in your event pack. Please make sure that you don’t wrap the number around the tube as this may damage the chip and it won’t work! There is no need to return the chip to us.

Is my overall time affected by my start wave?

Your overall time is based solely on your timing chip, which, if fitted correctly, will record your individual time from the moment you cross the start line until you cross the finish line – it is not connected with your start wave in any way.

How will I know my finishing time?

All times will be available on our website the day after the event. Every participant will receive a finish time (subject to proper use of timing chip) and a split time from the King of the Mountain stage. If you provided your mobile number when you entered, you will also receive a text message with your time.

Will there be support stations on the course?

There are 4 support stations around the course, located as follows:

  • Support Station 1 – Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit (mile 15)
  • Support Station 2 – Invermoriston (mile 27)
  • Support Station 3 – Wildside Centre (Stratherrick & Foyers Community Trust) in Whitebridge (mile 42)
  • Support Station 4 – between Inverfarigaig and Dores (mile 54.5)

Water and energy snacks will be available at the support stations however we recommend you start the event with two full water bottles and some energy snacks.

Toilets, first aid and mechanical support will be available at each support station.

 

Where can I dispose of my rubbish?

It’s a privilege to be able to cycle around iconic Loch Ness and Inverness, so please do everything you can to keep it free from litter and dispose of your rubbish responsibly.

Please use litter bins and do not drop litter. Please keep your rubbish in your  pockets and get rid of it at the support stations, the finish and the Event Hub where litter bins are available.

In addition, there are 4 clearly signed Litter Drop Zones, which will be small sections of the road approx. 1-2 miles after each support station where you will be permitted to discard your litter. When using these zones, please take care to ensure you discard your litter at the LEFT edge of the road to reduce the risk of hazard to riders behind you

Is mechanical support provided along the course?

Mechanical support is available at the support stations along the course:

  • Support Station 1 – Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit (mile 15)
  • Support Station 2 – Invermoriston (mile 27)
  • Support Station 3 – Wildside Centre (Stratherrick & Foyers Community Trust) in Whitebridge (mile 42)
  • Support Station 4 – between Inverfarigaig and Dores (mile 54.5)

Mechanical support is also available during Registration on Saturday at the Event Hub.

We strongly recommend that you come prepared, and we advise all participants to carry a pump, puncture repair kit, tyre levers and a couple of spare inner tubes with you. 

Are there toilets on the course?

Yes, portable toilets are available at the start, all 4 support stations on the route (at mile 15, 27, 42 and 54.5), south of the King of the Mountain (mile 37) and at the finish line. There are also toilets at the Event Hub. Please use these facilities and respect the local area and residents.

What is the King of the Mountain?

During the Etape Loch Ness at approx. 34 miles (55km) into the route as you leave Fort Augustus, there is a 4.8 mile (9km) climb gaining 380m in height and at times with a gradient reaching 12%.  The start and finish of the King of the Mountain section will be clearly marked and all participants receive a split time for this section, which will be included with your time.

Is there a GPX file of the route?

You can download a GPX file of the route from our Rider Zone.

Is massage available?

Yes, massage is available on Sunday at the Event Hub for a small donation to our official charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.

Is there a baggage drop?

We’re sorry but there are NO facilities at the Event Hub for storage of participants’ baggage or belongings. All items left in parked vehicles are left at the owner’s risk.

Are changing facilities or showers available?

There will be no changing facilities or showers provided at the Event Hub. 

Who do I contact for lost property?

Please hand any items found to the Info Tent at the Event Hub. We will keep lost property for 2 weeks after the event. Please email  to register any lost items, giving as much detail as you can about the item and where it may have been lost.

Where can I find a photo of myself?

We have teamed up with Marathon Photos Live, the leading event photography company in the world photographing over 700 mass participation events in over 35 countries. Every rider will find their photos and video within 24 to 48 hours after the event and can also download a FREE personalised Event Certificate.

Your official photos from the Etape Loch Ness will be going LIVE from the moment you pass a MarathonPhotos Live photographer around the course. Share your race number with your friends and family and they can register here to be notified as soon as your first photos are available online. They can then see your progress throughout the event. They might even buy your photos and your video as a well-done gift before you’ve even crossed the finish line! Don’t forget to share your photos and video on social media and with friends & family so they can share your achievement.

Find your photo here.

Where can I buy an official Etape Loch Ness cycle top?

Our Etape Loch Ness cycle tops will be available to purchase very soon.

Please visit our online shop to purchase our official Etape Loch Ness cycle tops for collection at registration.

It will also be possible to buy cycle tops over the event weekend at the Event Hub, subject to stock availability.

 

I have ordered an Etape Loch Ness cycle top, where do I collect this?

If you have pre-purchased an Etape Loch Ness cycle top from our online shop, this will be available for collection from our Merchandise stand during Registration at the Event Hub on Saturday. Please remember to bring a copy of your order confirmation with you.

It will also be possible to buy cycle jerseys over the event weekend at the Event Hub, subject to stock availability.

When do I receive my iTab?

If you ordered your iTab at the time of online entry, you don’t need to do anything – just wait for your iTab to arrive in the post after the event.

If you would like to order an iTab, engraved with your name and finish time, please visit our online shop

Can I raise money for any charity I choose?

As a charity event, we welcome all cyclists who wish to raise funds for charity. We would also love it if you chose to raise funds for our official charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.

Do I have to fundraise?

Whilst fundraising is not compulsory, we encourage all participants to consider raising money for our official charity, Macmillan Cancer Support, or a charity of their choice. Small amounts make a big difference and the monies raised by the Etape Loch Ness will directly benefit thousands of lives across the UK.

Is there a minimum amount for fundraising?

You should contact Macmillan Cancer Support or your chosen charity direct to discuss their fundraising requirements. Many charities and groups will directly benefit from the funds raised by the Etape Loch Ness. Find our more here.

Is parking available?

Please refer to our Rider Zone or your final event instructions (emailed at least 2 weeks in advance) for parking locations.

We recommend cycling to the Start if you are staying locally to help reduce congestion on the day.

Please note the temporary traffic restrictions in place on the event morning and plan your journey carefully, allowing plenty of time for parking.

Where can I find out about road closures?

Temporary traffic restrictions have been kept to a minimum to ensure the safety of participants and other road users. Roads will be closed in both directions to create a safe traffic-free environment for the event. Full details are available here.

If you or someone you know has an essential journey to make, please let us know in advance and we will work with you to find a solution wherever possible. Please email us.

Where can my friends and family watch me?

The final 2 miles through Inverness and the finish line and Event Hub at Eden Court Theatre provide the best vantage points for spectators. First cyclists are expected across the finish line from 08:45 onwards, and the bulk of cyclists expected between 08:450-13:00.

If you live in or are visiting any of the following villages along the route – Drumnadrochit, Invermoriston, Fort Augustus, Foyers and Dores – why not get your friends and family to give riders a cheer as they go past, it really does make a difference, however please be aware of road closures.

Temporary traffic restrictions and spectator viewpoints along the route will be available nearer the time here.

 

I would like to volunteer at the event, how can I apply?

There are a host of volunteer roles at the event. Please visit our volunteer page for more information or email us.

How do I get to Inverness and Loch Ness?

Inverness is the Highland capital and gateway city to Loch Ness and the Highlands, with an international airport and it is well served by public transport. Please check out our Visit section, which lists flights, trains, buses and car hire companies serving Inverness.

 

Where can I stay?

There is a wide variety of accommodation to suit all budgets in Inverness and around Loch Ness although we recommend you book early as it does get booked up over the Event Weekend.

To help you plan your trip, please visit Visit Inverness Loch Ness or our Visit page.

Will I see Nessie?

Maybe aye, maybe nae!

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