The Stages


The Dukes Hill Climb - Saturday 7th 4-6pm



Elevation gain: 151m

Gradient 7%

Description: The clue is in the name. This is a CLOSED ROAD tarmac hill climb. Take the shortest lines through the corners and give it your all through kid’s corner, past drummers, DJs and a bar. This is going to be a blast.

Bike: This is up hill and on the road. Light and fast rolling is best. But please be aware riders competing in the Full Dukes Weekend will have to use the same bike for the weekend. We accept wheel changes so please feel free to fit some slicks if you want. Riders competing in just the hill climb may use a fixed gear bike with a front brake. Remember when descending the hill to find out your time other riders will still be racing. Please go slowly and avoid their line.

Stage 1

Millenium Falcon


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Elevation loss: 64m

Gradient -3.5%

Description - After climbing out of Aberfoyle, the riders will start to descend towards Loch Drunkie. Near the top we take a wide forest gravel track. It’s all downhill and the first few bends come fast, with some of them tightening up, so take care. However, downhill it may be, but easy it isn’t. After leaving a tight right-hander, now is your chance to open the tank with long straights taking you to the finish.

Bike setup / choice. Loose fast corners require some grip and confidence in your tyres. The second half is fast, straight and pedally. We’d probably opt for a drop bar bike to get your head down, but big tyres for grip on stage 1.

Stage 2

Venachar Side


Elevation difference: 34m


Description - The most beautiful singletrack in Scotland? The UK? The World? We think so. But keep your eyes on the trail. Swoopy smooth singletrack with some tight bends and sharp climbs to start, keep you on your toes. A bit like in stage one, it speeds up towards the end, but this time remains a singletrack. Probably our favourite…..or in the top 5 for sure. It’s fantastic!

Bike Setup / Choice: It’s a twisty singletrack again requiring some grip and ability to slow down quickly, but it also has some high speed pedalling. We really don’t know. An XC bike, a CX bike or a gravel bike will each have their own advantages on this one. Take your pick.

Stage 3

“Sorry…..Not Sorry”


Elevation gain : 41m

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Average grade: 13%

Description - After following a beautiful burn up through the forest at the foot of Ben Venue, riders are faced with the shortest stage by far. It might be small, but it still packs a punch. It’s a 250m grunt of a hill climb to reach a wide forest trail. It starts steep and gets steeper. Beware - go out too hard and you might regret it! But it’s only short, do not give up. You’ll be there before you know it.

Bike setup / choice: You can forget aerodynamics on this one. Low enough gears and decent rear grip to get you over the line are important, but legs, lungs and smooth climbing finesse will be more important than bike choice.


Stage 4

The Green Gate


Highest Elevation: 205m

Lowest Elevation: 83m

Description: Absolutely World class gravel! Wide open, smooth and grippy. The views that greet you after cresting the rolling gradual ascent are absolutely stunning over the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. However, keep your eyes on the trail as you wind down towards the finish on a long exhilarating descent. We predict top speeds to be hit here. It’s pedally, it’s twisty and it just gets faster and faster.

Bike setup / choice:

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This one has some smooth gravel so a fast rolling tyre would be good, but watch out for some of the corners. These are fast and can be loose, so you will still want some grip. Once again, the ability to be able to stop quickly will give everyone confidence going down here. Aerodynamics, rolling speed, cornering grip and braking are all important.

Stage 5

Statute Labour Trail


Elevation High Point: 142m

Elevation Low Point: 80m

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Description: Aptly named, this trail just makes you work hard. It is just so much fun to open the tanks, you can’t help yourself. The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that this one drops more than it climbs, but you might be doubting this at the finish line. A flowy high speed blast gently descends through swoopy forest trails for a few km. There is a real chance to push hard here, but save a little bit. This one has a sting in the tail as the finish line comes overlooking a viewpoint to the west of Loch Ard, having climbed up a 500m long stretch of trail between 4% and 6%. Worth having some strength left for!

Bike setup / choice: More World class gravel. More high speed cornering. More fast rolling. We’d pick a bike with a drop bar again on this one to get aero, but keep some grip for the twists and turns as usual.

Stage 6

Rob Roy’s Cave


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Elevation Gain: 29m

Elevation Loss: 32m


Short, with not much elevation change?? Don’t be fooled. Another beautiful Lochside singletrack. But this one has some tight twists and turns and although only short, some steep kicks. It’s a physical final stage that will be sure to have you smiling, before you pick up your finish line treat.

Bike Choice / Setup: Twisty and lots of accelerations. Go for grip over rolling resistance and control over aerodynamics for this one. Bike choice. An XC bike would be great or a drop bar bike with grippy tyres. Have your gears from “Sorry…Not Sorry” at the ready too!

Robert Friel