16th February 2013.
Stevie Potter had kindly agreed to pick me up pick up en route to Stu’s in EK and duly arrived at 8.40am. Having been ready and waiting for him I realised that I had forgotten to put my new heart-rate monitor on so it was jacket, top and base layer off and monitor on.
I hadn’t seen Stevie for a while and he told me he was taking antibiotics for a stomach problem and was a little below par.
We arrived at Stu’s just behind Davie Mullin and Ian Hockey appeared as we were getting organised. Stu then informed us that he was coming down with a cold or something similar.
With the boys all sporting their new Warriors kit Stu produced his camera and Gail proceeded to conduct a team photoshoot of the new kit.
It was not the only new kit on show, with Davie debuting a new pair of carbon soled road shoes and 105 cleats (I would say the transition to the “dark side” is gathering pace Ricky), Stu’s shiny new Garmin 810 was also breathing fresh air for the first time and it was the first outing for me with Stu’s old 705 which I bought off him when he upgraded. Little did we know it but big brother was also watching us, or more accurately big Chris was tracking us, on our pedal via Stu’s 810.
Ian had set us a 47 mile course, more of which later, and we set off. It was a lovely morning for it, no frost or ice, little wind to speak of and dry. We set off though Eaglesham and turned into Humbie Rd to take us over to Newton Mearns. We separated a little and Davy and Stu were almost wiped out on a roundabout in Newton Mearns by todays arsehole driver (as always sponsored by Anusol and SMIDSY, Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You).
The lads were a little rattled but we pressed on and stopped for a blether just past the Malletsheugh Inn. There was a bit of a Southerly headwind at this point so we decided to get a chaingang going along the old A77. We kept talking to each other and it worked really well, with us eating up the miles on the road to Fenwick. We did at this point discover that big Stu’s mystery illness wasn’t a cold but was either pre-senile dementia or laryngitis as he consistently either forgot to shout “clear” as his man passed him or he was shouting and we just couldn’t hear him. My money is on the former.
Through Fenwick and on to Stewarton and our stop at the Thirst cafe on the main street. I had been in another one in Stewarton with Andy Bennett last year but this one allows you to take your bike in, leaving it in a wee passageway off to the side of the main cafe area. The Specials board mentioned Banana cake and pretty special it was too. The cake and coffee was scoffed to the collective sound of various Garmins beeping away ten to the dozen trying to find their favourite satellites.
Getting started again after a stop is always a wee bit difficult especially when you are immediately into a long steady climb out of Stewarton. It was head down and spin for a bit but we soon made it to the top and regrouped before the descent. Ian gave us the heads up that we had to make a right into Malletsheugh Rd after a couple of miles and thankfully no-one missed it. We were back at the old A77 and got the chain gang going again up to the turning to our wind farm.
I hadn’t done much on the road this year, although I have been doing a bit on the turbo. My last outing was a 26 miler with Chris a couple of weeks ago so this was a big step up. We had covered over 40 miles at this point and I think most of us were starting to feel it. The climb over Eaglesham Moor certainly put the burn on the thighs and it didn’t help when Ian crests way in front of you, passes you on the way back down and climbs it again behind you. As someone famously said ” Ye cannae change the laws of physics Captain” so what goes up must come down and it was descent time again. The skelp off the Moor is always fun and yesterday was no exception but I am determined to get through those lights at Eaglesham Cross one day. I will give them another few chances to redeem themselves before threatening vandalism.
After the wee hill up to Jackton I had to question Ian’s maths. The 47 miles total had long gone as we were only at Jackton and I made it 50.1. Plausible excuses offered, Ian peeled off home and we crawled on to Stu’s.
I must admit I was feeling close to a bonk and may have to think about fuelling up a bit more. 1 slice of toast + 2 gels + 1 slice of banana cake < 55 miles. Thoroughly enjoyed it yesterday with the lads, if in hindsight and in a slightly masochistic way. It was great to see everyone in their new kit. Well done Stu in pulling it all together. You probably wished you had been given a slightly easier task, like keeping horse meat out of the food chain, herding kittens or leading out the peloton. To be fair you were on the front twice yesterday but you did rectify those mistakes quite quickly. It was encouraging to get 55 done at this stage of the season and hopefully the weather will be kind to us, allowing us to get out more frequently. Well done guys. Chris is going for 50 miles today heading back home from a party in Dalmellington.