We are thrilled to bring you the official 2022 Etape Caledonia route! We interviewed our Event Manager and Technical Director about all things Etape Caledonia and this year’s route announcement. Take a read and get a sneak peak behind the scenes of the event.
We are also excited to announce that today marks the launch of the Etape Caledonia Community Group. Community is at the heart of Etape Caledonia. Get priority access to the latest event news and information, be a part of the decision making process and shape the future of Etape Caledonia for years to come. You can join the Etape Caledonia Community Group here!
Meet Your Etape Caledonia Team
Meet Cat, our Event Manager, and Gary, the Technical Director. We delved more into the route and how they bring Etape Caledonia to life, but first, we thought you might want to get to know them a little better…
What is your job at LimeLight and what’s your role with Etape Caledonia?
Gary – “I’m the Technical Director for the event, which means I look after everything that’s involved with the riding elements of the event. I basically make sure that we are putting the riding at the forefront of all the planning that we do. I ensure that the event is safe, relevant and fun for everyone taking part. I do this for a number of other events as well and I’ve been involved with LimeLight for quite a few years now.“
Cat – “I’m Cat, the Event Manager for Etape Caledonia, I also work across other LimeLight Sports Club events, but within Etape my role is to manage the Events and Operations team. I oversee a lot of the planning basically.”
What’s your experience within cycling and the mass-participation sports industry?
Gary – “I’ve been involved in cycling since forever, that’s my sport and background. I was originally involved at home, in Scotland, and then moved down to London for the Olympics in 2012. I’m now based out in France and working all over the place really, so it’s nice to have an event at home so I can go and see my folks. When I’m not working if it’s not biking it’s skiing, and if it’s not biking or skiing it’s family.”
Cat – “I’ve worked in the industry for 12 years now. I started organising cycle rides from Land’s End to John o’ Groats and 24 hour cycle rides from London to Paris and London to Land’s End. One of the first events I delivered was from Harwich, in Suffolk to the Hook of Holland. We cycled through Amsterdam and Belgium and finished in France. I’ve also led hikes and trips around the world; up Mount Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp and The Great Wall of China. I’ve organised muddy obstacle events as well. In my last job there was a series I did for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home which was an obstacle course for dogs and their owners. It was probably one of my career highlights as it just sounds so ridiculous and is also one of the funniest things I’ve seen, especially when you get a pug trying to go through some mud.”
Tell us a bit more about this year’s Etape Caledonia route
Gary – “We’re back to our traditional route after the change last year. So there are two options, 40 or 85 miles starting and finishing in Pitlochry. The route takes in all the main climbs in the area and the two lochs riders pass by. It is quite a historical and established route now and has been in the cycling calendar for a long time.”
What goes into the logistics of organising the route?
Gary – “The route is pretty established, it’s been going a long, long time now so it’s more just refining it and then looking at how we can make it better, safer, and more interesting for everyone. We look into investing in better signage, what safety elements we can bring in, for example, where we put the hay bales and hundreds of meters of scrim. Lots of work goes into the preparation of the route in the weeks and months leading up to the event. On the event weekend, there’s a couple of long days preparing the route for everyone to ride it, it’s not just putting some cones in the road and going for it.”
Cat – “From my point of view, I deal with all the stakeholders that are out on the route which is mainly Perth and Kinross Council, the Forestry Commission and any private landowners. I gain their permission and write up risk assessments. We always do a couple of recce’s a year to check the surface of the road, for example.”
What is your favourite part of the route?
Gary – “I’m quite lucky as I get to roll out in front, I go on the wee car and do a final check and balance. There are quite a few elements I like out by the lochs when you’re in by the side of them and you can see the vast expanse of water that’s there. And then obviously at the top twisting up the big climb of Schiehallion. They’re probably my two favourite areas.”
Cat – “It’s probably the second loch that the route goes past, it’s really beautiful and secluded down there and just very picturesque.”
If you could ask our participants anything what would it be?
Gary – “I’d be interested to hear what it is that makes those come back year after year. What is it that they’re looking for and what do they feel is special about Etape Caledonia?”
Cat – “Following on from Gary’s question, I’d love to know what would make participants want to come back for those that don’t. What could we improve for the event? What else could we do in the event village to make it more atmospheric?”
Thank you for taking the time to read this, we hope you found it insightful! Now that you have heard from us, we would love to hear from you. We are excited to announce that today marks the launch of the Etape Caledonia Community Group. Community is at the heart of Etape Caledonia. Get priority access to the latest event news and information, be a part of the decision making process and shape the future of Etape Caledonia for years to come.
Join the group by completing this form to sign up the Etape Caledonia Community Group today.