This is the inaugural event, for charity, starting in Kilrymont School and looping round the East Neuk of Fife, Cupar, Newburgh, Freuchie and back. What can be described as a “rolling” course, i.e. lots of wee hills and some bigger ones too. As this is the first time for this event and its for charity, can’t be too harsh, but there are a few things for them to improve on for next time.
Arrived at the school at 7:45am for registration to be met by two lines of cyclists waiting at two tables outside. Not sure why the registration was outside, as there was a massive school building behind them, but I was glad the weather was kind. After about 30 minutes sign on was eventually complete. I picked up my free water bottle and High5 gifts along with a timing chip (which was a sticky strip to attach to your helmet, simple but worked well). The rest of the Wheelers arrived and it took them even longer to get through registration.
Eventually, after 9am, the five of us head out for the 80 mile circuit– Ian Anderson, Jim Foulis, Joe McFadyen, John Osbourne and myself (Graeme). Kate was signing up for the 48 miler with her son, his first cycling event and given the time they did I’m sure he’ll be out giving us all a good kicking soon.
Having cycled a wee bit in Fife over the last few years I knew the route. Just as well as the signage wasn’t always up to much and I’m sure lots of people who don’t know the area will have missed a few turnings. As usual the plan was to “stick together”, where have I heard that before…. But we did try to, even though we weren’t all in tip top shape – some self inflicted hangovers (no mentioning names, Joe and Ian) and some man flu (me). Not one to crticise anyone’s training plans but I’m not sure going out on the lash the night before riding 80 lumpy miles at a reasonable pace would work for me, but credit to Joe and Ian, they are giving the Hangover Training Plan a good go.
The first part of the loop is a fair drag round towards Crail and then on to Pitscottie before the first descent into Cupar and then a rolling up and down section to Hazelton. It was after 32 miles at Hazelton that we lost Joe….
Descending into Newburgh Jim needed to top up his water at the first feed station, only to find there was no first feed station….They hadn’t turned up yet. Not good, we were late starting and so there must have been a fair few folks passed through already – confirmed by the numbers outside the local shops. Quick thinking by John and soon Jim gets some Holy Water from the local church and so with some divine intervention we set off.
Up over Glenfarg, across to Glen Tarkie and down to Falkland, then over to Freuchie and a nasty wee climb up. This is where we lost Ian as he was seeing stars at this point. We decided he would be fine and we would wait at the feed station at Hill of Tarvit (we didn’t).
Arriving at Hill of Tarvit, the feed station was a bottle of water and a banana followed by the bumpiest speed bumps you’d ever want to avoid – not ones to hit at full speed with carbon rims.
So the 3 amigos pushed on to the end with the nasty hill up to Strathkinness finishing us off before a blast down to St Andrews. The finish was a wee bit underwhelming as the registration table now had some bottles of water and a few tray bakes. Would have been nice to get a cup of coffee and some proper food, even if we had to buy it. Unlike other Sportive events where you get some memento and / or certificate we didn’t get anything (not that this matters to me, but I think there were a good few folks doing this as a challenge for charity and I’m sure they’d have liked some sort of souvenir).
The positives are that it was a good rolling testing run in cracking weather and at least 3 of us did manage to stick together to the end. I’m sure the organiser will take on board the feedback as he was keen to talk to people and with a few issues sorted out will be even better next year.
Results for the Wheelers and Thistle are:
Here’s the link to my Garmin file for the run (think it had a wee fit as I’m sure I’d remember hitting 69mph max speed) – http://connect.garmin.com/activity/215158617