With a few call offs, mainly down to babysitting, Stevie Potter and I met Stu Russell at Muttonhole Rd end (this end) at midday. It was a cold but dry day with a 14mph wind. We set off through Quarter and up to Stonehouse, climbing up to the cross past the big chute. Climbing was to be the theme of the day but with Stevie the mountain goat Potter in charge of route planning it shouldn’t really have come as a surprise. I can’t believe that Stevie and Alan the Dutchman McKee are mates, although they do say that opposites attract.
Early on I was feeling quite strong and had prepared well for the ride. No, not like that! I had the Camelback full of dilute with a Zero tablet in there as well, a roll and jam in the back pocket, with 2 gels and some money for chocolate or whatever if required. I would have had a Contador steak for breakfast, with double celmbuterol sauce had I known we were off on a leg of the Giro Stonehoosia.
We then climbed out of Stonehouse and over towards the steep descent and subsequent climb back up at Tillitudlum. Stevie, playing at home, was in his element in his own backyard and crested the majority of the hills first, although Stu and I took one or two off him. I was starting to feel it and had lost about 50 yards on a hill when I looked down to find that I had a rear wheel puncture for the second pedal in a row. I shouted to Stu but it was so windy that he didn’t hear me. I started fixing the puncture and the lads appeared after about 5 mins to help me. Stu got the CO2 canister out and Wiggle will be sending me a kit this week along with some other goodies courtesy of Santa Mummy. Reassuringly, the lads told me that they could see the light on my bike flashing from about 300 yards away. With my fellow travellers complaining about climbing the hill twice, we set off again. With about 10 miles to go I started to get cramp high up at the back of my left thigh! I took another gel in the hope that it would stave the cramp off and it did to an extent. The hills were increasingly becoming more and more of an issue with the cramp feeling close to kicking in again on a regular basis. Stevie wanted to add another hill in to our route home but I managed to convince him against it, with little complaint from Stu. We had already agreed that Stevie was a sadist when he was with us and a masochist if he is putting himself through these routes for training. It is evident though that a masochistic streak does wonders for your form as Stevie is looking very strong. With about 5 miles to go my left knee, which had been grumbling for the last month or so really started to get sore. I was toiling. Chapeaux to the lads for waiting for me and hauling me over the line as I tried to tuck in and hold their wheels. As we turned into Muttonhole Rd we were hit again by a nasty headwind which we really didn’t need at that point in the day’s proceedings. Stevie and I said our goodbyes and well done’s to Stu and we went our separate ways. It was a joy to crest the last wee hill and batter down the hill to my house. I thanked Stevie, didn’t feel like it but I did anyway,(f*ing sadist) , hosed down the bike and got the Radox out. Bath run and bubbles sorted, it was get the Wiggo book out and soak for a bit. I took some solace from a paragraph in there where Wiggo stated that there is no rhyme or reason to the state of your legs, after a really hard day at the tour he can get up and have great legs and other days have shit legs for no reason. Hopefully the next time out mine will be better. We should benefit from today but I said that last time.