Lee Craigie is saddling up next to her older sibling Kim, a rugby international, to take on this Etape Loch Ness.
Inverness-based Lee, who was recently appointed as Active Nation Commissioner for Scotland, signed up her sister in secret, to encourage her return to cycling after a six-year absence.
While Lee, 40, has travelled the world representing Scotland, 43-year-old Kim has also made her mark on the sport. As well as being a Scottish women’s rugby international, she has also competed in mountain biking, clocking impressive results at a national championship level.
But that all changed for the older Craigie sibling when her son, Moss, came along and she decided to focus on her family.
Kim had mentioned that she missed her active lifestyle and wanted to return to fitness with a goal to aim for – so Lee took the initiative and entered her sister into Etape Loch Ness without her knowledge.
Lee has previously clocked a sub-three-hour time on the course but has no plans to put the hammer down when she returns with Kim on April 28. She said: “I’ve been saying to Kim for a few years that she should try a sportive and Etape Loch Ness stood out as the one.
“It is an iconic course and it is an incredible privilege to be able to ride it on closed roads. For me, this is not about getting to the front and getting around it as fast as I can: it’s about riding this with Kim and enjoying a unique and special experience with her.”
Kim, who lives in Glasgow, said: “Over time, I just lost confidence. I still did the odd little ride now and again, but I found it so hard to drop my ego. I kept comparing myself to how I had been able to ride before: I couldn’t just go out for a nice little ride and enjoy it.
“I kept saying to Lee that I needed to refocus and that I wanted to set a goal. The next thing I knew, Lee had decided to enter us into Etape Loch Ness. I’m grateful to her for doing it as I would never have entered myself – I definitely needed a kick up the bum.”
The sisters will be among 5,600 riders who will be taking part in Etape Loch Ness – a 66-mile closed-road sportive that circles the world-famous loch. It starts and finishes in the Highland capital of Inverness, passing through some stunning scenery along the way.