The forecast looked good, if a little chilly. After a great response to the curry night, we had 3 Warriors willing to brave the elements on Saturday morning, David Mullin, Stu Russell and myself. All was fine until Stu’s attendance was kiboshed by Gail’s appointment at the hairdressers (which apparently was in the calendar). We were soon back up to 3 when Stevie Potter got in touch to say that he would be joining us. We agreed to meet at my house at 9am and look to get 30 or 40 miles in.
Davie text me early Saturday morning saying it was pretty frosty and should we delay the depart by maybe 30 mins or so. I thought we would be ok but with hindsight ……..
The lads arrived and we set off up the hill to Muttonhole Rd, with Stevie and I on our winter bikes, I had dusted off the Tricross out of hiberation and put Ruby into turbo mode for the winter, and Davie on new Continental tyres which he had wrestled onto his new bike. About 2 miles into our pedal, and not even warmed up against the 2 degree temperature, Davie noticed that I had a rear wheel puncture. The lads pitched in and we changed the inner tube pretty quickly and thanks to Davie for the use of his CO2 canister. I was advised to put the old tube inside my jacket which prompted comments of me having another spare tyre in there. We set off again and started to encounter quite a few patches of frost and worse still ice. We were cawing canny as we had to deal with the occasional rear wheel spin as they lost traction and we were having to pick our way rather gingerly on the climb up to Browns Soils. Within a mile or so Davie’s leggings were nearly soiled brown. He was in front of us as we rounded a notoriously wet section on the road to Chapelton when he encountered an ice coated corner which was also covered in OIL. The bike slid away from under him and he came down rather heavily on his left hand side, hurting his hip, elbow and also giving his head a bit of a whack on the Tarmac. After assuring us he was ok, if a little dazed, we set off even more cautiously than before and within a mile the dazed man was again on the deck after another spill. This one was a bit less dramatic, was on Davie’s right hand side and at least he was looking for symmetrical bruising. Davie 0 – 2 Ice. It was reassuring to hit the main Strathaven Rd and get onto Millwell Rd which appeared to have been gritted. As we made the cut off for the Rig Davie told us that he was heading home, had the fear and could not be persuaded to carry on as he wasn’t enjoying it. We respected that, said our goodbyes and headed off up the Rig.
With a lot of work going on up there we were passed by about 6 lorries on our way up the Rig, with the road consequently dirty and icy, this was a bit tricky at times. Our average speed was being seriously reduced due to the conditions and we couldn’t really relax on the way down either, keeping the speed down because of the regular icy patches. We headed along the usual Wednesday night route into Strathaven, then out towards Sandford and into Stonehouse. Having covered about 22 miles at this point I suggested we extend the route and Stevie took us up the steep hill at Candermill Rd and over towards Netherburn. From there it was Draffen, Kirkmuirhill, Boghead, back into Stonehouse, up to Quarter and Home. En route we also climbed Tillitudlum and Stevie pointed out a new wind turbine which had recently been erected just off the road we were on. We felt compelled to pay homage to the structure, opened the gate and walked down to it. Undoubtedly one of our newest and biggest fans.
Despite a couple of gels and a Zero tablet in my drink bottle I was close to hitting a bonk. Luckily Stevie had some money and a peanut Lion Bar and a bottle of Lucozade out of the wee shop in Quarter saved the day. The chocolate / sugar hit was enough to get me home. Our spies had informed us that Stevie had been out with The Albert last week and had coped admirably. Today he was flying, crested every hill first and I was feeling a little embarrassed about holding him back. King of the Mountains jersey to Stevie Potter.
On my return I gave Davie a phone and was pleased to hear that he was ok but receiving little sympathy from his good lady.
This was quickly followed by a hot bath and I must admit I haven’t felt this tired after a pedal for a long time. Should get the benefit from today though. Looking forward to Friday night’s curry and a few beers. See you all then.