Thursday 17 August 2017 06.45 BST
Held on the first Sunday in August, there is no entry fee, no feed stations, no timing chips and no medal or certificate at the end. Yet in its 14-year history, it has attracted a hard core of regulars who travel from all over the UK.
“It’s remained popular because there isn’t the ‘free’ T-shirt accompanied by a £75 entry fee typical of most sportives,” says Brian Palmer, who came up with the idea after advertising in the local newspaper for riders to join him on his annual century ride. Of the three riders who joined him that first year, one “was never seen again after stopping to take a nap on a bench in Portnahaven”.
Another, Tom Hunter, recalls the look of horror on a rider’s face when he was told there was no route card. “He was an audax rider, and you know how hardcore and no-frills they are. So for him to be shocked says something about the nature of this event,” he said.
Hunter was one of about 30 riders who turned out for this year’s event. Sure enough, it was raining (and continued for most of the day).
As well as the 100-mile route, there was the option to join the “conversational group” that rides a shorter version at a slower rate.
Among the riders were Jeff Winstanley and Suzanne Duncan-Gilbert, coaches at the national cycling centre in Manchester who were making their 11th visit to the event.