Sat 21st of April saw the Whitelee Warriors split into two groups to tackle two different disciplines. ASBO, Ricky and Davie went back to their grass routes and replaced the slick tyres with the Knobblys and hit the Whitelee Windfarm for off-road action!
The hardcore roadies Alan, Chris and myself hit the road. Alan had arranged to meet Chris at 7am and head out for a pedal then I sent a message around and a phone call later Alan had arranged to meet me at 8am for a 40 miler! I didn’t know anything about the original arrangement Alan had made with Chris until I text Chris to see if he fancied it to which he replied he was meeting “Wee Al” at 7am and heading out. After a little clarification we realised that Alan had doubled booked us! We arranged that we would meet at the bus stop across at High Common Road at 8am. Alan had planned a 40 mile loop taking in Galston, Moscow and Loudon Hill.
My alarm clock went off and I set off on the usual routine of having breakfast and then getting kitted up for the pedal ahead. The conditions were excellent so I treated the world to my bare legs once again!
I set off from my house to the rendezvous point and met up with Alan and Chris for what was to end up an eventful pedal! We headed along Stroud Road and onto Greenhills road and then onto Eaglesham road. I mentally prepared myself for the steep accent up Eaglesham hill and over the Moors but we swung a right at the traffic lights and by passed the aforementioned accents.
We passed the Eglington Arms and swung a left onto Humbie Road crossing the A726, then turned left onto Mearns Road and faced a steep but fairly short climb. We then followed the A77 heading towards Galston. At this point Chris suffered the fate no man deserves…… he got a puncture! He managed to carry on until the turn for the Eaglesham Moors where he stopped to repair the puncture. We said our goodbyes at this point as Chris had planned to head back over the Moors as he was working later that morning. Alan and I continued along the A77 chatting away and before we realised we had passed the tuen for Galston!
We got to the roundabout at Fenwick and decided to carry on down which turned out to be a bad idea as we ran out of road and ended swinging a right down Kilmaurs road heading for Kilmaurs. After stopping a fellow lycra clad cyclist he confirmed that the road we were on would not take us to Galston, we turn back and headed to the roundabout at Fenwick. We then headed through the cafeless Fenwich and out the back end heading toward Kilmarnock on the B7038. So from heading to Galston we ended up in Kilmarnock!
To be fair it was a nice wee route down to Kilmarnock. We arrived in Kilmarnock then took the Dumfries road and found ourselves back on track for Galston. We headed along Galston road and back into familiar territory. We arrived in Newmilns and stopped at a cafe for a roll and bacon which came highly recommended by Alan who had stopped off there before with his new tri-athlete friends! I was not disappointed as the roll and bacon matched the hype. We sat at the window and I continually checked on my £1500 Carbon Bike sitting outside without a lock on it! Alan paid for the rolls and juice which was very kind of him but that cost me a small fortune later in the day…… more on that later!
After refuelling we headed to Darvel, through Quarter and up Loudon Hill past the visitor center. The climb up passed the visitor centre at Loundon was a tough one and Alan dropped off the pace a little. I was surprised at this as he powered up the hills during the Sportive. After we reached the top we re-grouped and swung a left passed the top of Loudon Hill which took in a few more tough climbs before heading back towards Ardochrig.
With Ardochrig and the Windmills in the distance we came round the corner to meet a car racing along the road. I managed to pass by without any event but Alan end and coming off the main road and puncturing his rear tyre! We stopped to change over the inner tube and Alan showed that he had been in the Boy Scouts as a lad, pulling out 3 spare inner tubes and all the other bits and bobs that went with it. The first spare inner tube wouldn’t inflate and we discovered it had a split in the side. We then fitted the second spare inner tube and wrestled with the tyre to get it back on the rim. Next we went to load Alan’s CO2 inflator with a cartridge to discover that he’d bought threadless cartridges instead of threaded! (*it later turned out that his CO2 inflator accepted both types – didn’t find that out until he took them back to the shop). Fear not as I had CO2 cartridges with me too! As I emptied one full cartridge into his inner tube the tube remained flat! After inspection we discovered that we had nicked the tube when re-fitting the tyre! So off came the tyre and in when the third inner tube which again took no air and was damaged! Alan must have bought them at a flea market!
I then give Alan my spare inner tube and we get the tube and tyre fitted and inflated without no further issue. We both pack up our stuff and jump back on the bikes to set off again when a string of swear words streamed out Alan’s mouth……… his front tyre also had a puncture! With no spare inner tubes left we had to repair the puncture on site. Replacing the tube and tyre was straight forward this time……. to be fair we’d had plenty of practice!
After around 45 mins or so and a phone call to my mum to confirm that I was still alive and that I would be picking the boys back up off her at some point, we headed off climbing up the back of Ardochrig. It was at this point that Alan’s tyre was rubbing off his mudguard, but he chose just to ignore it and carry on.
We climbed the back of Ardochrig and enjoyed the fast decent down the other side swinging left at the bottom and along to Auldhouse and back towards Langlands. As we headed towards Bennet’s corner there was a crunching sound from Alan’s bike and we pulled over to find that his front brake caliper had completley detached from the frame! Thankfully that never happened on the fast decent at Ardochrig! After I completed quick repair job on the caliper I noticed that his front wheel was rubbing off the left had side of the fork. It turned out that when Alan had replaced the front wheel he hadn’t fitted it properly and that was where the noise was coming from.
The rest of the journey was uneventful thankfully as we returned to High Common Road and me swinging a left back to my house and Alan carrying on to Hamilton.
So the free roll and bacon and milkshake I got ended up costing me an inner tube and 5 CO2 canisters!
All in all, taking away the unplanned pit stops and change in route, it was a great cycle. We completed 52.76 miles with an average speed of 14.6mph.