With the weather here in so called Bonnie Scotland being anything but Bonnie, it had been a couple of weeks since I’d made it out on the bike. As you know or may not know, I’ve been battering the early morning 3LCTV turbo trainer sessions 4 days a week for the last 5 weeks, so my legs had still been working out!
We had decided on a 9:30am start, leaving from mine and the peloton would consist of Stevie Potter, Gilly & myself. With the alarm ringing in my ears I got out of bed and headed downstairs for a bit of Snap, Crackle and Pop, that’s Rice Krispies to the uneducated. It also gave me the chance to sample the weather condition and decide what would be the riding attire of the day. Dipping my big toe out the back door I confirmed that it was infact “Baltic“, a term that us Scots use for “bloody freezing!”
That was it, I finally had to admit that the summer was over and dig out the winter clothing. It was baltic but at least it was dry, well it was at this point! So the winter clothing consisted of:
- Base Layer
- Bib Tights
- Bib Shorts
- Cycle Jersey
- 2 Pairs of Socks
- Over Shoes
- Winter Jacket
- Skull Cap
- Liner Gloves
- Sealskinz Waterproof Gloves
There you go, that should give you a rough idea of how baltic it was, for those of you who were man enough to head out will know what I’m talking about. Lol
Now that I was looking like the Michelin man with all those layers I was ready to hit the worst the weather could throw at me! At that point, like a well planned army manoeuvre, Stevie and Gilly turned the corner into my street in their respective cars. Gilly jumped out his car and headed straight to the local Asian establishment and came back with a dozen rolls! Sadly the rolls weren’t for us.
Gilly and Stevie got kitted up and we decided that the route for today would be one that used to be a regular for myself and Stevie, EK – Eaglesham Moors – Fenwick – Kilmarnock – Darvel – Loudon Hill – EK. With the route decided and the conditions cold but dry we headed off managing only 50 yards before Stevie realised he’d forgotten to put his overshoes on. Back we turned and Stevie finally managed to dress himself properly!
Setting off again we only managed to make it out my street when I heard a thud, turned round to discover my saddle bag was lying in the middle of the road…… cue a barrage of banter from Stevie and Gilly, as this wasn’t the first time my saddle bag has hit the tarmac, the last time it nearly caused a 40 rider pile up!
After reattaching the little bugger that doesn’t seem to want to stay in place I caught back up with Gilly and Stevie and off we headed towards Eaglesham for the first of the days climbs. Arriving in Eaglesham at the foot of the first climb the weather was cold but still dry, that would soon change! With the first climb out the way we were onto the Moors with the next three climbs in succession. I was feeling really strong at this point and made mince meat out of them. As we crested the 2nd of the Moors climbs the heavens opened and we were treated to an absolute downpour! So not only was it baltic, we now had to deal with torrential rain and strong winds!
It didn’t take long for the waterproof clothing to become, eh, un-waterproof! We were soaked and frozen, rapidly losing the feeling in my fingers, but like a true hero we carried on, heading down the M77 and swung a left into Fenwick, taking shelter under the flyover while planning our next move. With very little feeling left in our fingers and toes and no immediate sign of the torrential rain easing we decided that we’d change the planned cafe stop from Newlines some 20 odd miles away to the wee cafe in Fenwick, some 500 meters away!
Stepping into the quaint wee cafe looking like a couple, well three, droont (Glaswegian term for soaking) wee rats, we weren’t quite sure how welcome we’d be, but since there was only one person in the place, who looked like a friend rather than a customer we were made welcome. We were treated to a Smoked Salmon breakfast by Stevie! Ok it wasn’t as posh as it sounds, we all had a bacon baguette which I paired with a hot chocolate which I cuddled more than drank, in an attempt to defrost my fingers! The smoked salmon part of the breakfast came in the form of a free sample that was on the serving counter, but hey Stevie still bought us a Smoked Salmon breakfast!
There’s nothing worse than putting soaked clothing back on, that was after I stepped outside to squeeze all the water out them! The rain had now stopped, but the temperature certainly hadn’t risen. In fact, after coming from the warmth to the freezing cold I was now chittering and was eager to get moving again to warm up.
We left Fenwick and headed down into Kilmarnock to be met with yet more torrential rain! In an attempt to lose my unjust tag of wheelsucker I took to the front on several occassions and did so as we headed through Galston. It was hard work as we were getting battered by the wind and driving rain, and surprise surprise the wind was in our face! Trudging on we passed through Newmilns and passed Bobbins Cafe which was our original planned stop. As we left Newmilns Gilly shouted on us to pull over into the bus stop, he’d hit the wall and was needing to take on a gel in an attempt to recover, and recover he did, I think he actually popped some EPO the way he recovered!
We carried on out of Newmilns into Darvel with myself putting in a shift on the front, strangely feeling very strong despite the conditions. Our next climb was up to Loudon Hill which again I felt strong on. It was at this point that Stevie’s legs gave up, he too had hit the wall. From here on in Stevie was feeling it, but stuck on in there and did himself proud. Heading over the back of Ardochrig we had now completed all of the climbs for the day and enjoyed the decent of the rig on what was now a newly laid and smooth road!
Arriving back at mine some 46 miles later after battling the wind, torrential rain and baltic conditions, we’d all certainly put in a shift and a half! With the rain still bouncing down there was no time for chit chat, we said our goodbyes and headed for the warmth of our respective houses.
Strange as it may sound, despite the horrendous conditions I actually enjoyed that pedal. I felt really strong even into the wind and felt good powering up the hills. I put that down to 5 weeks beasting or being beasted by the 3LC Turbo Training Sessions!
Great effort by all who braved the elements!
Oh well, time to hit the publish button and set up the Turbo for tomorrow’s 6am session with the 3LC crew!