Generally considered to be the hardest of the 4 traditional Reliability Trials we do, what’s needed is a nice day with plenty of wheels to hide behind. What you don’t want is a low turn out on the windiest day of the year :-0
The weather was dry, mild but ridiculously windy. Only 20 signed on for the long run (fast and slightly less fast) with 12 of those from the Wheelers and Thistle so we all rolled away together.
We had a tailwind for the first half, keeping the pace high as we headed out to Pittenweem and the coast road and by now the group had split and there was about 12-13 of us. The coast road to St Andrews was a mix of fast tailwind sections and painful headwind sections. Have I mentioned I don’t like the wind? The road from St Andrews to Guardbridge had really really strong crosswinds and I was blown onto the other side of the road at one point, fighting to keep upright. On through Leuchars and on to Tayport for some not so friendly road rage while dodging flying debris from the trees just adding to the morning’s fun.
The climb up to Gauldry is where the fun really begins as it is lumpy all the way from there and we had a mammoth headwind. The rolling bits towards Cupar thinned us down again and were 9 who hit the Hill of Tarvit. Jim Foulis and myself got distanced by a few bike lengths near the top of the climb, just managing to get back in touch on the descent. Then on the dig out of Craigrothie as I stood to force my way up another hill the cramp struck, I sat back down and that was the end of my day with the lead group.
The group split with 4 left at the front, and the rest of us strung out for the last 7 miles into the frankly soul destroying headwind. Jim was about 20 seconds ahead of me for 5 miles, but I couldn’t close the gap, until he sat up and waited and then towed me home for the last couple of miles (thanks Jim). It was a blessed relief to roll back into Balgonie and the welcome sight of the hall and respite.
My Garmin stats were 67 miles in 3:29 @ 19.2 mph.
Looking around in the hall everyone looked knackered and all had tales of how brutal the wind was and how hard a day it had been.
Food at the end was great and with such a low turn out there was plenty to go round with offers of doggie bags for all who wanted one. Thanks to all the helpers, we really needed the food after such a hard day out.
Two down, two to go, and we get a weekend off in-between to recover.
A great turn out, as usual, for the first event of the season. Think there was 65+ on the steady ride and 45+ on the faster one. There was the best turn out of Wheelers I’ve seen, with at least 15 of us on the various runs. It was cold and breezy but nice blue skies. Unlucky for Jim as he made it to Freuchie before a loud bang and shout of puncture. Like the good teammates we are(nt) Colin and me sped past him.
The wind kept the pace at hard rather than intolerable with the roads not too bad as we headed from Freuchie down to Newburgh and on towards Bridge of Earn. The roads were icy after Dunning and we called truce and crawled through, thankfully all making it safely. Not so lucky were the second fast group who had a few tumbles, hope they aren’t too badly hurt.
As we slogged up Auchterarder the steady groups going the clockwise route sped past us. The pace up Glendevon climb was steady until the final 500 metres when the pace increased and the cracks appeared. Around 7 of us crested the summit and another 3 joined us soon on the descent as the pace picked up towards Yetts.
As we turned left at Yetts the headwind became a strong tailwind and the pace really cranked up. My legs seemed to be working okay so managed to take a good few turns helping drive the pace along at a brisk 27mph all the way to Strathmiglo. Final drags up towards the end with tired legs, glad to have a safe, fast run to start the reliability season.
The post event chat and food were fabulous.
Well done to everyone who took part, a fair few on their first Reliability.
My Garmin was playing up, but according to Strava it was 63 miles @ 21.1mph average for me. Not a bad morning’s work 🙂
All smiles before the fun begins
Well earned grub!
Reflecting on what just happened.
There were 7 of us at The Gates on a cold and windy, but DRY morning. Looked like another big turn out for the steady run as we passed the Millennium Hall and headed to Newtyle, where Li turned off. On to Alyth then passed the golf course and stayed on the low road. There were patches of ice on untreated bits so we took it steady and we all managed to stay safe.
Got to the cafe after the steady run and there was around 20 of them! We all headed away together but 9 of us went to Glamis and the bigger bunch turned to head back to Newtyle. A good climb up Lumley Den into a brutal headwind and then down to Duntrune before turning towards Baldovie and home.
Got home windswept but dry.