Fife Century Sportive

Another cracking turn out for the end of (my) season event. From Dundee there was Jim F, Scottt McC, Jim Brewster, Charlie M, Eric S among the usual suspects you see at these events. Due to the numbers, we were split into three groups – first timers, steady group and the fast group. Before we set off thereย was a poignant minutes silence for Ali Speed.

The fast group set off to Auchtermuchty for an extra couple of miles rather than hang around at the start (weather wasn’t too bad, but was really windy). Must have been 30+ in the group as we sped away and then turned left at Auchtermuchty into a full on headwind for the next 10+ miles – at least it kept the pace sensible. As we hit the first climb of the day at Glendevon the pace really picked up and the first splits started. Over the top and fast descent to Dunning, with the added fun of gravel patches to add to the excitement!

The next 15 miles are a blur. The pace with a tailwind was relentless, only occasionally dipping below 30mph! We passed the steady group around Forgandenny and then another bunch further up the road. By the time we passed through Newburgh I was looking forward to the hills to slow the pace down. The group was being driven on and upwards and by the time we got to Hazelton cross road we were down to 10ish.

The run back was now with strong cross and headwinds but we were still pushing on. The drag out of Cupar was particularly horrible. As we hit Ladybank the group split as there was some confusion about which way to go, so 4 went off one way and 5 of us went another! More wind and hard efforts back to Freuchie and finally on to Falkland.

Was a cracking run, a really hard effort for me just to hang on to the fast boys! All followed by copious amounts of coffee and cakes, made the effort worth it.

Here’s my Garmin stats:


Run Report 14 September

There were 7 of us at The Gates including a couple of new faces, always nice to see. Was a definite chill in the air and breezy, but nice blue skies, so not a bad day. Kept a steady pace out to Newtyle, Alyth and then right to take the quick route to Peel Farm. We caught the steady group (was around 7 of them too) just on the last hill before Peel Farm.

We all kept together for the run home, route back was right out of Peel Farm past the Loch, turn right and then a bit of cyclo cross through a closed road, these signs don’t apply to cyclist ๐Ÿ™‚ before heading back to Meigle, Newtyle and home.

A short, but enjoyable social run on a lovely sunny morning.

Bealach Mor 2013

You know it’s going to be an interesting day when you get rudely awakened at 5:30 am by the noise of driving rain on the windows! I’ve done the Bealach once in sunshine, the rest of the time it has been cold, wet or windy. This year we were treated to all 3 during the event and the sunshine after the event – only in Scotland…..

Arrived for sign on with an ominous heavy grey sky to be met by the TV crew recording for the BBC2 Adventure Show. Sign on was as usual quick and easy in the hall and then time to get ready. Met the other Wheelers (Jim F, Ian A, Joe McF and Fergus) as they were getting ready and off to the start – still dry and not too cold…..

Waiting for Fergus…

Always good fun judging when to leave, too early and you may arrive at the Bealach before it opens at 11am. Ian set off, as he was planning to take it easy and not go all the way round.

Here he is, is it a duathlon?

Then Joe set off, and finally Jim, Fergus, me and Brian S set off and were joined by a small group. Up over the first climb we lost Fergus, who continued round with Joe. A good sized group assembled over the top and on towards Achnasheen. It was now driving rain and I couldn’t see a thing so glasses were removed! We picked up Ian after Achnasheen and sped along to Lochcarron, tailwind helping, with Jim and myself working with a few others to keep us moving in the awful weather. Always find it best to be nearer the front on this stretch as the road narrows and oncoming traffic dodging can be fun!

Lochcarron climb is where the selection starts and the group thinned down as we got over the top and down to the start of the Bealach climb itself – perfect timing as we arrived at bang on 11am! Brian, Jim and myself had agreed to regroup at the bottom, and see if we can form a group to help get round the peninsula. So off we set at our own pace, by now the weather was atrocious and on reaching the summit, it was howling gales, freezing cold and lashing rain. I almost got blown over stopping to “dib” and didn’t hang around, electing to hit the descent without my jacket on just to get off the hill! Descent was scary with wet slippery road and very strong crosswind – glad I didn’t have deep section rims, some did! Almost worn my brakes out as they were on the whole way down, trying to brake while shivering with numb hands is no fun and I did have Fred Whitton Flashbacks to my crash in May, which wasn’t fun! At the bottom, got my rain jacket on, just as Brian, Jim and a few others reached Applecross and so we kept together from there.

Round the peninsula was the usual slog, this time cold, wet and with a headwind! Jim was doing very strong shifts on the front dragging us along as the group swelled with each rider we passed. The undulations finally got to some and as we got closer to Sheildaig there was a core of 6 or so. A quick stop for water and to take off my jacket as it was now dry and warmer! Tried to catch back on to Jim who was 20 seconds up the road and it took me the next 5 miles. My wife passed by me in the car, but she needs lessons on how to pace a struggling rider back to the front as she drove on past ๐Ÿ™‚

Eventually got back to Jim and Brian just as we hit the descent to Torridon and the right turn for the last 10 miles, which were into a very strong headwind.

Look closely, Brian and myself are tucked in behind Jim….

What a slog, brutally hard and soul destroying with Jim once again doing a big shift to get us there. I managed to come through for a wee spell, just as we passed a TV camera. Would be an injustice if that’s what makes it onto the show. Last 3 miles were downhill, so a little easier, but still strong wind as we tried to push the pace on and give Jim a welcome break. I hit the front for the last 1/2 mile to lead out Jim for the final sprint where there was only ever going to be one winner! The last 10 miles had taken us 15+ minutes more than last year!

Home at last.

So the 3 of us Jim, Brian and myself crossed the finish line pretty much together to finish 13, 14, 15 overall! All the times seemed to be down this year on 2011’s (last time the event was run as last year it was cut short due to the stormy winds). Only 6 riders under 5 hours, there were 46 in 2011.

At the HQ we learned that Kate had to turn back due to the return of the speed wobbles and that Fergus had a crash. His wheel slid away from him just after Kishorn, before the start of the Bealach, and he was bloodied, battered and bruised, although no bones broken. Joe had stayed with him making sure he was okay and got picked up and looked after. There seemed to be a fair few casualties in the hall, no surprise given the terrible conditions. Expected to see Ian at the finish, but he was not far behind us, having “taken it easy” under Doctors orders and went the whole way round!

Results for the Dundee folks are:

Name Gender/Age Time Bottom of Climb Top of Climb
Brian Sproul M42 05:08:55 01:39:33 02:19:30
Graeme Carruthers M46 05:09:03 01:39:40 02:21:21
Jim Foulis M49 05:09:28 01:40:08 02:22:50
Jim Walker M41 06:31:15 —– —–
Fergus Dargie M51 dnf —– —–
Joe Mcfadyen M53 dnf —– —–
Kate Russell F48 dnf —– —–

*couldn’t see a time for Ian.

Run Report 1st September

A good group of Wheelers and Thistles left The Gates for a slog up to Tully in a very strong headwind. At the foot of Tully, Brian, Kate and Alan M carried on for a mega run but the rest of us turned left towards Collace and the usual route to Perth.

Out of Perth and down to Bridge of Earn we had a strong crosswind and at the roundabout, half went the traditional route to Abernethy while the other half of us went straight on and up the Binn wood climb and the fast descent to Gateside. Turning left at Gateside onto the main road we had the full force of the tailwind as we sped along at 30mph without having to pedal ๐Ÿ™‚ At the Strahmiglo junction a left turn and up over Glen Tarkie and the fast descent to Aberargie. After a 12 mile loop we were now 500 yards up the road from where the others had left us! On to the cafe at the farmshop for some shelter from the howling gales.

The run home for me was with a tailwind all the way and was fab. We kept it steady, or as steady as we ever do on that run back from Newburgh, with the usual blast through Gauldrie and on to Wormit at a cracking pace. Made the slog out (almost) worth it. Hope the wind drops before the Bealach next week…..

Run Report 31 August

There were 6 of us at The Gates on a cooler and windy morning. We caught the steady group (8 of them) near the top of Tully and picked up Andy Yorke at the foot of the descent. We then split into two groups with 6 of us trying to push on into the headwind to Murthly then round to the Tower Cafe where the steady group soon joined us.

After a wee extra mile we all regrouped on the way home and near Kinclaven we picked up a guy training for the Barcelona Ironman. He seemed a good bloke, but did have a tendency to drop onto his tribars and drive on and as he is so small and skinny there was nothing to draft behind ๐Ÿ™‚ Good to catch up with John Osborne and good luck in Barcelona in 5 weeks – hope you’ll come out with the run again soon.

On to Newtyle and a nice tailwind back to Dundee.