'The Braveheart' 2013
Tuesday, 29th October, 2013
There's not much doubt that the 2013 Braveheart Fund ride and dinner was a big success. Any way you want to measure it, the bike rides, the dinner, the auction, the entertainment and the bar room banter were up the standard of previous editions. And the ride was - for most people - completed in dry conditions. Bonus!
The 'weekend' started with the Braveheart ride from Kilmarnock and, with around 700 names down to take part, it's clear that the ride has grown since its inception. It was noted though that there were many, many more women riding than when the Fund was inaugurated 11 years ago. More riders of all sexes riding road bikes - who would have thought it was possible over a decade ago?
As soon as she arrived at the start, Marianne Vos
was signing autographs and being photographed from every angle and the 2013 World (and cyclo-cross!) world champion took it all in her stride, commenting later that she had been impressed by the number of women out riding "not just racers but just women and girls out to ride their bikes, women's cycling is definitely growing, even in the last five or six years." Vos then cruised around the route, happy to chat and drift around the group rather than worry about training or racing. "You know, if they had told me that there was a line at the finish, I would probably have ended up sprinting for it, but there wasn't, so today it was a relaxing ride,"
she laughed. Though a 30kph average for the 43 mile 'lumpy' ride was far from relaxing for some participants.
That evening, the 400 guests were treated to a variety of entertainments, from Dan Martin
in a panda 'bunnet' to Disco Inferno and karaoke belters and everything in between. And of course there were the various auctions and blind bids, the tenners in the envelopes and a raffle. Scotland might not be riding the crest of an economic wave at the moment, but there's something about the 'Braveheart' that loosens the purse strings. Before the final totals were tallied, between bids and the ride, Fund co-founder Alan Miller
reckoned that around £50,000 had been generated. Astonishing.
And then, after the battle in the bar to claim the prestigious 'Last man standing' award (rumoured to have been won by a woman!) it was all over for another year. As one hangover wag Tweeted later on that bleary Sunday "Only 364 more sleeps to Braveheart 2014!"
It may take that long for some livers to recover.
*A huge thanks from the Funded riders to all who helped and who put their money where their mouths were!