Evans Callander Ride It Sportive 2016

What a difference a year makes. Last year we had gales, rain and sleet and even though it’s being held a month earlier, the weather was ideal (for March). Only challenge was deciding what to wear so as to not overheat! There were 4 in Team Wheelers (Robin, Karen, Ciaran, myself) joined by a guest Thistle Steve K for the first timed event of the year for us. The event HQ is the Mclaren Sports Centre in Callander, so parking , changing facilities etc all available. Registration was painless and easy and you get a High 5 Race Pack as a goodie bag too.

The plan was to stick together until the last climb and so we set off as one social bunch. You don’t get much time to warm up as you hit the first hill of the day after a mile (according to Strava is known as Cockhill). It’s a steady climb into what feels like the middle of nowhere before a fast descent to a left turn. Ciaran and myself waited at the bottom as we split up on the hill and regroup at the top / bottom. Just as we thought “they should be here by now” and we set off back to find them, Robin, Karen and Steve came flying down the hill to us. An early mechanical for Karen, but all sorted. We then head off towards Thornhill and another wee rise and descent almost back to the first junction before heading off on some rolling roads towards Doune.

After Doune a left turn and through some flattish sections towards Kippen and on to the busy main road for a blast along to Cambusbarron. Legs all warmed up, it was time to hit the hilly bits….Some tough little climbs takes you out to the Loch Coulter and beautiful views before a descent to Carron Bridge. It was here that Robin had a puncture, which given the state of the roads was not a surprise. What was a surprise was this was the only one we had in the group all day! Just as the midge bites were getting a pain, we set off on the lovely road past Carron Valley Reservoir and then a blast down towards Fintry.

Coming out of Fintry is a drag of a climb to what’s known as The Top of the World, where we regrouped for the descent to Arnprior. On the rolling road along towards Lake of Menteith a couple of hills saw Ciaran and myself a wee bit ahead of the others and with Ciaran’s leg warmers becoming ankle warmers we decided to push on and wait at the feed stop before Aberfoyle while he sorted himself out. Turns out unlike 2 years ago, there was no feed stop before Aberfoyle!

So now all we had left was the climb up Duke’s Pass (couple of miles about 5% average), which starts off steep through some hairpins before becoming more of a drag for the second half. Great descent, not too technical and then a right turn back towards Callander with great views over Loch Achray and then Loch Venachar. We both remembered this as a quick blast back to the HQ, but we had forgotten there were a couple of nasty little rises that test the legs after 75+ miles. Unlike last year we didn’t miss the turn off to the sports centre and so we did avoid having to go through Callander centre!

Cairan and myself then got showered and up to the sports centre cafe for some sugar rush and soon Robin, Karen and Steve joined us for a debrief. All agreed it was a good day, a cracking route, but the elephant in the room once again – the state of the roads was shocking. Steve raced there as a 15 year old in the Tour of Trossachs and we reckon that’s the last time the roads were surfaced! Shame, as it is a great early season event.

Cairan and myself had a moving time of about 4:45 for the 81 miles, so with stops and puncture added a wee bit on. The official times are:

Ciaran (who shows as DNS??) and myself were 5:07:53
Steve K was 5:26:44
Karen was 5:26:47
Robin was 5:27:03

The route from my Garmin:

Kennoway Reliability 2016

After last week’s non starter, this was the first road event of 2016 for most and what a difference a week makes. The weather was much better, a balmy 4 degrees, sunny, but as usual a bit of a gale wind!

There were 7 Wheelers signed on, Jamie, Ciaran and me for the fast group with Ian A, Rob, Davie R and Andy A on the steady group. Bang on 10am we set off on the tailwind fast section! The first hour was a blur as we averaged 24mph out through Colinsburgh and round to Kingsbarns and through St Andrews. Then on to the Guardbridge bypass due to the road closure and it was here a load bang was heard and shout of puncture. So very sportingly, and a first I think, we pulled in at the top of the rise out of Guardbridge to wait. A couple of riders then came up to say the guys tyre was ripped to bits and pointed to me and Cairan and said “one of your guys”! We thought Jamie was missing! Ever the good teammate Cairan said we should turn back but there really was nothing we could do so…..we all set off for Dairsie then Balmullo and drop down to St Mikes to get back on the route.

As usual Gauldrie marked the start of the “race” as the strong boys (and girl) made a break for it. About 6-7 got away with 3 of us trying to chase back on in a headwind – was never going to happen. The descent down from Gauldrie was awful, road really broken up, lots of rubble and just not safe at all, so caution here was the sensible option. There were 4 of us together as we crossed the A92 and could see Rachel C about 30 seconds up the road, with the rest of them out of site now. It took the 4 of us working very hard together to reel Rachel back in on the road to Cupar, but I really think she had sat up and waited for us as she didn’t know where to go! Up the Hill of Tarvit I took it at my own pace, which was about 100 metres behind the others, and managed to get back on at the top as they slowed to let us regroup. There was now 4 of working into the wind on the section towards Kennoway on the way home, bit of a slog. The little downhill section to Windygates was welcome and we were soon back home where we started.

My stats were 64 miles in 3:10, so 20.2 mph average, which given the windy day I can’t complain.

Glad to see Jamie made it back to the hall ahead of me, but surprised to also see Davie R and Ian A too as I couldn’t remember them passing me en route 🙂 Turns out Jamie had been rescued by Ian Stewart (early entry for clubman of the year coming out to rescue him) and Davie and Ian had decided at Dairsie to carry straight on to Cupar, missing out the loop round Gauldrie. Cairan soon arrived and a little later Andy A who had done the full 64 mile loop. That just left Rob out on the road and soon enough he arrived home safely too.

The post event buffet was excellent, soup, stovies, and loads and loads of sandwiches and cakes, well worth the effort.

So one down, 2 to go….

 

Bealach Mor 2015

I’m a bit of a veteran of this event now (8th time) and it’s usually lashing with rain, gale force winds or more often both. So it was a nice change to have blue sky, dry roads and a breeze (that got stronger as the day went on, but nowhere near previous howlers).

There were 4 Wheelers (Joe, Jim F, Jamie, Graeme) and guest Thistle (Jim OCD) gathered at the start. First Jim OCD disappeared then Joe as we looked for them and we realised they had snuck off for a head start! Jim F then decided he was heading off sharp too as “you two will catch me quick enough”, leaving Jamie and me to do the Mexican stand off watching who was still waiting to go… 🙂

You have to time it so as not to be at the start of the Bealach climb before 11am when the road closes to cars and opens to cycles. Previous Garmin files told me it takes about 1:45 to get there so said to Jamie we’d leave at 9:15, which we did.

Crossing over Ozzy’s Cattle Grid you hit the first climb almost immediately and we settled into a wee group. About 3/4 of the way up there was roadworks and the lights changed to red just as we got there and we then had to stand for a full 2 minutes until we got going again! It did give the chance for a group to form and 7-8 of us then worked out to Achnasheen and turned down to Lochcarron. Making good pace, all working well we made good time without feeling like I was in the red.  The next nasty climb out of Lochacarron was kept sensible and we swept down through Kishorn towards the start of the Bealach. It was just as we started the climb that Jamie and me finally caught Jim F, bang on 11am!

The Bealach climb wasn’t too bad this year, although Jim OCD didn’t look like he was having much fun when I passed him as the ramps kicked up ;-). At the steep section near the end, before the switchbacks, the wind picked up just as the gradient did too. Nothing like a full on headwind blast as you grind up 18-20% ramps!  I didn’t push too hard as the section after the descent to Shieldaig is the killer bit, and reached the top with legs feeling okay. The descent is very technical, and with crosswinds for the first section was the usual brake-fest for me. The view as you turn the corner about halfway down and the Applecross bay opens up below you with views over to Skye and the Cuillins was breathtaking.

At Applecross, I sped up to catch a couple of the original group who had passed me on the descent and the 3 of us worked as we started the undulating / rolling / leg breaking section to Shieldaig.  As we pushed along I could see a larger group ahead and decided to bridge over and as I approached could see it was Joe driving them! It then took me an age to bridge the last bit to them, wasn’t until someone relieved Joe at the front that their pace dropped enough for me to sprint to them.  This group then worked well, but was a war of attrition as legs popped with each of the multitude of short sharp hills. This left 5 of us to drop down to Shieldaig.

Shieldaig is where my fabulous DS (Lindsay) and support crew congregate to cheer everyone on and pass me a bottle / jacket / whatever. I was very mindful I didn’t want to lose the group I was with and with a fantastic 6th sense Lindsay must have known that too and so did a fantastic bottle hand off to me as I sped by without stopping – all felt very pro 🙂

There is then the last couple of hills that we all struggled over before the descent to Torridon and the 10 miles to go sign. Maybe just the legs, but didn’t feel there was a tailwind here that I was hoping for, seemed a struggle at times, but we managed to keep the pace up. With about 8 miles to go one of the group was starting to drop off and his very strong mate was dropping back to bring him back up and then taking a good pull on the front – very strong rider. So it was a wee bit of a shame when they sat up for the last few miles, leaving 3 of us to drive on to the finish. Think we all pretty much emptied the tank in the last few miles.

Then it was time for the usual excellent post event food as all the others started to arrive with varying tales of good, bad and ugly….. It was Jamie’s first time and we weren’t sure if it was better or worse to know how bad the Applecross – Shieldaig section is!?

The times for the Dundee folks, out of about 300 starters are:

Pos Name Club Gender/Age Time
4 Graeme Carruthers Dundee Wheelers CC M48 04:58:03
25 Jamie Costello Dundee Wheelers CC M33 05:28:30
68 Joe Mcfadyen Dundee Wheelers CC M55 05:49:11
94 James Foulis Dundee Wheelers M51 06:00:30
101 Jim Walker Dundee Thistle CC M43 06:05:26

Very well done to everyone, it’s a tough but beautiful route and everyone should do it at least once (preferably in the dry).

Ken Laidlaw 2015

Given the choice I’d rather have cold and wet than warm and windy – just can’t cope with wind! So even though the weather was bright and warm, the brutal wind made it another very tough day.

Thanks to Jamie (and Rob the driver), the Team Wheelers Bus got us to Hawick in nice time for the easy register and get ready for the mass start. There were 7 of us, Ciaran, Jamie, Davie (not Jim OCD) Ross, Jim B, new Rob, another new member Kenny 😉 and myself.

And so at 9am prompt 400+riders did the mass start behind the lead car with the good residents of Hawick having no chance of  Sunday long lie as the highly entertaining (for us anyway) loud hailer was put to full use. After 2.5 miles the lead car peels off, but in a break with tradition all hell didn’t break loose and we kept a steady pace, led by Hawick CC for the next couple of miles. Even had Jamie asking me what was going on as it was all a bit easy…not for long though. As we got to the approach of the first climb, Bonchester Brae, all hell did indeed break loose as the first selection was made and about 25 of us sped off from the rest. Fast descent and then we hit the second climb of Note o the Gate and I was not alone in toiling! Got over the first big lump and as we hit the second part of the climb I just couldn’t keep the wheel in front and about 20 sped off,dropped already. This now left 6-7 of us on to Newcastleton and the sharp dig followed be a very long drag over Holm Hill.

The descent into Langholm is notorious for crashes and unfortunately this year didn’t escape. A few from the lead bunch were being loaded into the broomwagon, all seemed okay, just bumps and broken bikes. Shouldn’t laugh, but it was literally a broomwagon as the van belonged to the local chimney sweep 🙂 Later learned this is where new Rob came a cropper, breaking his top tube and a nice few scrapes on his face – nothing too serious, but a new Bianchi  frame is now required!

So the descent to Langholm was a bit more reserved than usual, and we started the long slog on undulating roads. About the half way mark as we hit yet another hill and yet more headwind I physically and mentally gave up, I just wasn’t enjoying it and had had enough suffering! So I sat up and was dropped for a second time and let them speed off over the horizon.

I now just settled myself to spinning round at my own pace, thinking a group will catch me and I can tag on – it never happened, I cycled the second half solo, enjoying the scenery.

Passing the second feed station after 65 miles, with  40 to go I was still making good time, but that soon changed. There are 4 nasty climbs to go and they were all brutal, with the wind at one point almost bring me to a standstill. I looked down and saw 5.5mph on my Garmin! The lovely folks at the top of The Swire were a life saver with water and jelly beans and then a cracking descent ruined a bit by a ferocious crosswind. It was around here I lost one of my contact lenses, it blew out my right eye, which was a tad disorientating. It made for an interesting run home as I tried to dodge potholes, horrible gravel patches and bits of trees strewn across the road, all while partially sighted and with even worse spatial awareness than usual.

The Leap Lins climb is now a gravel track with the road repairs being a pile of gravel which is pretty thick in places. The descent wasn’t much better and even though there were lots of red flags and warning signs at the bottom, it was still a surprise to hit a 3 inch deep section of gravel. Fortunately not everyone was lucky and there was a guy by the side of it bloody knees and broken bike!. The Hawick Team had been out on Saturday sweeping the worst bits and putting out lots of flags and signs, but the overnight thunderstorms had washed all the crap back on to the road!

One last long drag over the last hill and then with 9 miles to go it is mainly a descent back to Hawick. Having done this event a few times now this is where you blast back home with all you’ve got left. Not this year as the headwind was full on and I was struggling to get above 15mph pedalling hard downhill at some points. With 2 miles to go you still feel you are in the middle of nowhere, and then a left turn takes you along a wood and you finally hit Hawick town center. A dash through the town and on to the home straight for the best site of the day – the finish caravan and the commentary welcoming you all back by name.

Welcome back

My time was unsurprisingly down on last year at a shade under 6 hours, but I was told I was 20th, so happy enough with that.

Other than new Rob, the rest of the Team, all made it back safely with similar tales of struggles and swearing at the wind. Not sure of everyone’s times, but will post them when they are available.

Once again a great event, very well organised and run, very friendly folks and good facilities with showers and hot food at the end.

And as I was partially sighted I was even more happy that we had the Team Bus home and I didn’t need to drive as Driver Rob got us home in good time while we all “recovered”, okay slept. One final note as I was dropped off at the Tay Bridge car park I cycled the 1.5 miles home, in civvies, INTO A HEADWIND, aaaaaarrrrrgghhhhh.

Garmin stats for the day:

Deeside Loop

Copied from Andrea’s post in the Wheelers Facebook page so the non Facebookers can read about our fab day.
Absolutely brilliantly awesome day! Twenty cyclists left Baldovie Toll at an unsociably early time on a Sunday of 8am. The pace was brisk as we flew past Monike, up to Brechin where Fergus joined us and along to Edzell and Fettercairn. It was just past here that the weaker sex decided they needed a pee stop and we also lost Kenny and Fergus as one only had a half day pass and the other remembered he was missing his helmet – either that or they remembered the joys of Cairn O’Mount 😉
Gillian and I took full advantage of this and made quite possibly the greatest breakaway in the history of the club and carried on upward! The guys, trying to hamper our progress feigned concern as to our whereabouts and rang us on our ascent not once, but twice. However it didn’t work and we duly arrived at the top of the hill, breathless, very sweaty and before any one else☺. It wasn’t long before the real QOM, Rachel appeared followed closely by Ciaran, Graeme and Jamie.

Top of Cairn O’Mount

We caught our breath then started the fast descent down into Royal Deeside. My fastest descent ever at a scary 47 mph and still I was dropped! We refuelled at Aboyne where the guys decided the pace had been a bit brisk. Joe kept a brilliant pace on the front and we mostly stayed together along the banks of the Dee and into Braemar. At this point, whilst the rest of us were refuelling, Gillian had insider information of a strong southerly blowing through Glenshee and as her family just happened to be in Braemar she decided to call it a day leaving 18 intrepid cyclists to continue.
Buoyed by the first breakaway success I managed to persuade Robin to leave early and off we went, onward and upward once more. The ascent to the Cairnwell was long and rolling, not helped by the strong wind or Gillian waving to us from the car! Still we managed to get there in time to see the look of pain on Graeme C’s face as he raced Rachel and Ciaran to the top (or what turned out to be not quite the top according to Strava).
Wind cheaters and arm warmers on, and off we went down, down, down. The remaining 40 or 50 miles is a bit of a blur, we had a spell of losing people, but always regrouped and there was a lot of hanging on to the wheel in front. Home via Blairgowrie, Iron Bridge and Pitnappie!
Scenery was stunning, weather was fantastic and company outstanding. A brilliant day and one to remember for a long time!

Here’s my Garmin to show the route etc:

ETAPE DU TOUR 2015

I will post lots of photos of before, during and after when I get back from holiday, here’s the story of my day for now.
This year’s Etape Du Tour is stage 19 of Le Tour, 138K from Saint-Jean de Maurienne to La Toussuire with 4,500m of climbing over 5 cols. Six Wheelers were entered (Ciaran, Jerry, Jamie, Jim Foulis, Joe, Graeme C) and Joe’s nephew James (who some will know from Majorca trips).

We were split across 5 start pens so didn’t really get to see everyone before or after, but here’s my adventure.
Ciaran was staying with Lindsay and myself at the top of the Mollard and so at 4am we got up and ate breakfast and got ready in near silence, had a lot on our minds, not least the weather. Ciaran is a part time meteorologist and had kept me updated every hour on the days forecast – which was thunderstorms from midday (oh how we wished for thunderstorms later…). My fabulous DS, Lindsay 🙂 dropped us off near the start and as we got ready met Jerry on his way down from Le Corbier where he was staying. Then it was off to the start pens.

I was in Pen 0, the first to go and was surrounded by mahogany coloured racing snakes, I have never felt more out of place as a pasty Scots bloke! Lindsay had wandered to the start and as we chatted spotted Jamie in Pen 1 – these Wheelers tops make you very visible. At 7am sharp and with the helicopter overhead, we set off at a frantic pace. I had already decided my pacing and no way was I going to even try to stay with the pace setters, just as well as I don’t think I could have stayed on their wheels even if I had tried! After only 3K we hit the first climb of the Col Du Chaussy (16K @ 6.3%) a very rude awakening. Nice steady pace, weather not too warm yet and it was a stunning climb, especially about 10K in when you cycle under an overhanging cliff with the valley below – stunning. Then it was the first descent of the day, and also where the first casualties of the day were to be found – always pays to descend very very carefully, even in the dry.

At the foot was the flat section, a 30K run up the valley and back to almost where you started. I latched onto a big group that grew as we passed others who tagged on and the pace was fast but comfortable as we flew along and back to Saint Etienne Du Cunnes and the big climb of the day.

The Croix de Fer (via the Glandon) is 22.5K @ 6.9% and is brutal. I managed the first steady half in good time, still not pushing hard, but keeping a good tempo with an eye on what was to come. Once past half way the real fun begins and it is mainly 9-10%+ for 9K. By now it was hot and I got the first warning twinges that cramp was coming so really reigned in the effort and took it nice and slow for the last 5K+. I briefly stopped at the top of the Glandon to fill up my bottles and set off for the last 3K to the top of the Croix de Fer, where the cramps hit for real!

I actually enjoyed the descent, helped by already doing half of it the day before, and made up some lost time as I hit the next climb of the Mollard (6.5K @6.1%). Now I got very very very bad cramp and was in agony trying to turn the pedals. I stood up on the pedals to try and stretch as I went, and after a few minutes the agony subsided to just be uncomfortable and I very gingerly made my way to the top. It took all my effort to not take a left turn at the summit and go the 200m to where we were staying! Strangely for me, I enjoyed the descent here too, again helped as I had already been down once on a bike and several times in the car! So again made up some time and hit the bottom after 5:30 or so with “just” the last climb to the finish!

NEVER have I suffered like I did on the climb of La Toussuire (18K @ 6.1%). I knew the cramp would slow me down as I was in and out the saddle trying to stretch as best I could and could only manage a very slow pace to keep the pain at bay. Crawled along for an eternity with the K to go markers taking an age to pass in baking heat praying for a thunderstorm! Then about half way the blurry vision started and as I have been here before knew it was the end game with heatstroke and I better find some shade, quick. As I reached Villarambert (I think) there was a village water trough with cyclists filling their bottles. I almost fell off my bike, barely able to walk as I was so dizzy and disorientated, but at least I still knew I had to get my core temp down! I sunk my head in the trough, filled my bottles and poured them all over me and then I repeated this! I stumbled to some shade, where others were flat out and sat down trying to get back to some normality, repeat trips to the trough to pour water over myself. Only 9K to go, temp down, I set off, knowing I would have to stop again. I crawled at 4mph most of the way and stopped twice more to briefly curb the dizziness and pour water everywhere.

Eventually I made it to the end, with cheering crowds and I limped over the finish. Cannot wait to see the photos as I don’t think I could lift my head, never mind smile. I collapsed in a heap and sat down for 15 minutes, cramps still shooting through me before I hobbled slowly to the pasta party tent in search of liquids.
So, that was my day, bloody awful and borderline dangerous. On the plus side, the event is superbly organised and an amazing experience as you feel pro for a day.

As for the others, they can tell their own tales, but most of us had a trauma or two. Ciaran had heatstroke too and almost quit at the same point I collapsed in Villarambert (now known as the foamy vomit moment). Jerry got round, amazing as he had been very unwell the days before and wasn’t sure he’d start. Joe had foot problems again and the two Jims had long hard days too. Only Jamie seemed to get by without mishaps and ahead of what he planned to do! We all think it was his week of acclimatising that helped, or his magic Rapha cap 🙂

And a final note, as I sat with Lindsay at the finish, I did do the Steve Redgrave speech, “If I ever suggest doing this again, you have my permission to shoot me!” I am now looking for events in cold, wet countries, sod this warm weather stuff it just doesn’t agree with me!

The results, out of 12,092 who started, 9,877 finished, the fastest was a frankly ridiculous 4:52! It was an achievement just getting round, so well done everyone.

Graeme CARRUTHERS 07:31:40
Jamie COSTELLO 07:45:30
Ciaran HANNON 08:10:25
Jerry TOY 08:14:43
Jim FOULIS 09:24:04
James MCFADYEN 09:56:38
Joe MCFADYEN 10:13:05

Fort William Weekend Day 2

Waiting at the meeting point with blue skies, sunshine on our back and amazing views over the loch would have been fantastic, so you can just imagine the mood as we sheltered in the wind and rain, tired with a few hangovers waiting for the stragglers to get to the start of day! Some left before the last man standing turned up to try and get warm, which meant we had a nice 25 mph sprint out of Fort William led by Jerry to catch them once we did leave.

The mood didn’t really pick up in the first section, a combination of sore legs, rain, wind and a very busy road which had us strung out in single file all the way to the first stop at Tyndrum. We did try a few steady through and off, but that didn’t seem to work too well and we struggled to find a rhythm that suited all. It must be compulsory for it to be dreich, with hill tops covered in cloud as you go through Glencoe as all the times I’ve been there I don’t think I’ve ever seen blue sky and today was no different! As we passed Bridge of Orchy, Mags and Gary were sitting outside having coffee and it is here that Fiona called it a day leaving the rest of us to go up over the long drag to Tyndrum for a welcome break. Robin, who had been having a struggle called it quits here and with support car full Gary and Mags headed home – thanks for the support, much appreciated.

So the 16 left headed out, with the rain now off, down to Crainlarich and a tailwind to Lix Toll before the climb over Glen Ogle. Then a fantastic descent down to Lochearnhead on a smooth sweeping road with only maniac caravan drivers to worry us…. Now things improved dramatically as it was warm, sunny, blue skies and Joe sitting on the front tapping out a great steady pace all the way to Comrie. Smooth quieter road with spectacular views that we could now appreciate. A final stop at Comrie for a last top up of coffee and cake and we could actually sit outside in the sunshine 🙂

Having slogged along towards Madderty into a block headwind a few times, what a pleasure to go the other way with a tailwind and we made good time to Perth, and on to Balbeggie, before up over Tully for a final blast back to Muirhead. A longer return leg of 125 miles in 6:55 @ 18 mph average – no bad for day 2, well done everyone.

Overall a great weekend, but the weather does make a difference. Thanks to all the support crews for your help and encouragement. Well done to all the riders, some major PB’s again for the weekend.

My Garmin stats which shows the route etc:

Fort William Weekend Day 1

A lovely warm and sunny morning as 33 of us left the Hall, 19 for Fort William and 14 day trippers coming with us to Pitlochry. A nice social pace as we head out to Meigle and then the Hill of 3 Cairns where we did split and regroup at the bottom. Then up over the Moulin Moors and a fast descent into the first cafe stop of the day at Pitlochry. This is where we split, the cafe couldn’t cope with us all, and after a less than warm welcome it turned out okay.

Suitably fuelled the 19 then had the fun middle section. The first event was Jim B hitting my wheel, bouncing off and then just missing taking Karen out as he hit the tarmac – great bike skills by Karen to stay upright! No damage done and we were soon off again. We then hit the cycle path section which was interesting. A fair old mix of road surfaces, twists and turns, saw 4 punctures in the group and Cairan quite correctly deciding to hit a ditch rather than me 🙂 We all made it out safe and to the second stop at Dalwhinnie.

It was here that Gary decided having did his longest run of the year so far it was time to help out in the support car, leaving 18 to ride the last section. After a wee sharp dig, the rest of the next 45+ miles were surprisingly flat to downhill, on smooth roads and we made cracking time without really trying. After 117 miles we arrived at Fort William to meet up with the support crews, pick up our bags and head off to the various places as we are spread out over the town and beyond!

A cracking run, weather stayed okay and all set for the return leg tomorrow. Time for dinner….

Before the off:

Ready to go

My Garmin stats for the day:

 

Archie into Space

A twist to the usual sportives as this was a fund raising event run by the Carse of Gowrie Velo in aid of the Archie Foundation a very worthwhile local cause, details here http://www.archiefoundationhome.org.uk/).  The event aim was for everyone to do as many hill repeats at Abernyte as possible and try and pass the 100,000 metre mark, the height at which Archie would be in space!  Registration was £15 and you attached a counter to your bike and after each loop you had the number marked off and the organisers kept a running total.

The loop was a 5.4 miles up and down, and up and down, repeat – you get the idea… I counted 11 Wheelers and we must have completed 100+ laps between us so a good contribution to the overall total. The CoG organisers were very appreciative of the our club’s efforts to turn up in numbers and support their event and have subsequently emailed the club and posted a thanks on our Facebook page too. So big pat on the back to us for being nice 🙂

The event was very well run, good vibe and plenty of cakes and drinks for everyone, which were delicious. I found it strangely okay, thought the repeat would be mind numbing, but was fine as you chatted and smiled to folks and just spun the morning away. Flew by very quickly.

Archie did make it into space as the total everyone climbed was 123,847 m and raised over £1,680 too.

Special mention for Jill as she tried to duck out the hill repeats by arranging to have her rear mech shear off on the first climb! However a bike was hastily arranged and she did have to take part after all 🙂

The Archie Loop

Here’s Archie after his journey to space and back

Archie resting after an exhausting trip to space

Springwatch….!

If anyone is interested there is apparently a new species of mamil which can be seen in and around the Dundee area. However one must be prepared to get up very early to catch a glimpse of the new mamil but reports have it they look something like this……