Organisers of the Enduro Tour o’ the Borders hope the sportive will become “one of the biggest events in the country”.
For the first time, the bike ride, the largest mass-participation cycling event in the region, will take place on closed roads. And entries stand at more than 2,000 for the 76 and 55-mile rides from Peebles on Sunday (August 10).
One of the organisers, Neil Dalgleish said: “From our research we think that’s probably above average for the first time: the Etape Caledonia had about 1,600 entries in its first year.
“We are getting fantastic support from the community. We know there is a bit of inconvenience for people (because of closed roads), but we hope that in the long term we can do something really special.
“We hope amongst ourselves that we have all the ingredients for a classic event that can grow and grow and become one of the biggest in the country.”
The routes go in and out of three valleys and out as far as Roberton. Climbs on the long ride include Witchy Knowe, Ashkirk Heights and Berry Bush.
Neil said: “It’s a real bike rider’s course and probably a bit more of a challenge than a lot of other events like this in the UK, which is great for most cyclists. We are blessed with these uppy, downy roads across the valleys when there are some exciting fast descents and some real long climbs.”
He said it’s all systems go as organisers finalise details: “We’re getting all the feed stations ready, which will include, of course, Forsyth’s macaroni pies.”
Unusually, women cyclists are making up just over 10 per cent of the participants, which is above average.
Neil said: “There are a lot of female cyclists around here, but that’s obviously growing throughout the country.
“Maybe it’s also because it’s in the summer, which encourages more people to have a go.”
Online entries have closed, but people can still sign up on Saturday (August 9) at Peebles Burgh Hall, or turn to p19 for our competition.