Wednesday 1st August. A Birthday Pedal.
Decided to head out for a birthday pedal and Chris and I made our way over towards Big Stu’s for the usual 6.45pm depart. Chris was still smarting from his 2 punctures during Sunday’s Graeme Obree sportif and stated that “he would be retiring if he got another puncture tonight”, I winced at the statement replying “Be careful what you are saying”, more of which later.
We pedalled over to big Stu’s and we were amazed to see Stu, Stonehouse Stevie, iron man Ian and a new face, belonging to Shaun, another Hamilton boy. Stu made the introductions and we set off and up the rig behind Ian, as is always the case, and skelped off the back of it. My forgetful moment / schoolboy error for that evening involved forgetting to take any emergency gels. En route back from Strathaven I started to develop some cramp in my calves. Being gel less I dropped back to my faithful domestique and big Stu duly provided me with a wee energy booster. I find they take effect quite quickly and was feeling better moments later. As we hit Millwell Rd Chris picked up his fifth rear wheel puncture in 3 outings. The usual photos were taken and we fed the midges while the puncture was repaired only for it to puncture again within less than a kilometre.
Chris was understandably pissed off and decided to phone his missus to come and get him. Stevie offered to come back for him which he accepted gratefully. We made our way back to EK and Shaun and I broke off at the park to climb over Newhousemill Rd.
Having been home for around 15 mins I had to interrupt my habitual recovery cup of coffee to take another picture to the sound of a foulmouthed tirade along the lines of “This is what f*ck**g happens. You get another bloody puncture and everyone reaches for their cameras.”
I predict a pair of Gatorskins being purchased very soon and no retirment although he got 2 punctures.
Stats 29 miles 14.9mph average 1923 feet climbed
Friday 3rd August.
Having taken Wardy for a wee pedal in 45 degree heat in Turkey from Icmeler to Marmaris and back, the big chap fancied another wee go at it so he headed over to my house. After a few alterations to my Tricross, mostly raising the seat as Wardy isn’t as much of a shortass as me, we set off on the Chapleton loop. Treating it as a wee recovery ride I soft pedalled and attacked the occasional wee hill. All things considered Wardy did ok and thankfully he had purchased a pair of padded shorts or my ears would have been bleeding. I must admit that the sound of my Tricross gears crunching behind me was a little disconcerting.
Stats 13.07 miles 11.7mph average 398 feet climbed
Saturday 4th August.
With everyone and their dug either working, recovering from a bevvy, on holiday or probably just giving us a body swerve Shaun and I met at 9.30am and headed for Muirkirk direction via Ardochrig. The plan was to get a 40 miler or so in but we ended up doing around 34 as Shaun was feeling it a little bit. As we headed back towards Strathaven the road was closed as a lorry had careered off it and into a field. We pedalled on and arrived at the scene just as they were tensioning the ropes so the banksman told us to wait.
Being impatient to get on we decided to climb over a barbed wire fence at the side of the road and go cross country to round the lorry as had several other cyclists from a large group who were heading in the opposite direction. I went first and turned round to see Shaun with his leg caught on the fence and doing his best Johnny Hoogerland impression. I couldn’t get the camera out in time. There was no real damaged done with only Shaun’s pride taking a dunt. We emptied the dirt from our shoes, remounted and headed home via Strathaven and Muttonhole Rd, with a wee stop in to see Shaun’s missus who works in the Strathaven Thomas Cook travel agents.
Stats 33.5 miles 14.5mph average 1451 feet climbed
Wednesday 8th August.
With Stu in St Andrews at the caravan, Ally a late call off, Ian in St Helens and others in France and Oz, Chris and I met Shaun at Muttonhall Rd before joining Willie the Hawk at Calderglen Park. The Hawk was hoping to mature into an Eagle after the purchase of some nice new wheels. After exchanging the usual pleasantries and a swatch at his new additions we set out for the rig. Chris was obviously hoping for another puncture free ride to make it two in a row following an uneventful solo 70 miler to Balloch and back on Monday.
It was nice to be out in short sleeves for a change. We set a decent pace and overtook a wee group just before Strathaven. My old nemesis of cramping calves threatened to jeopardise my evening but I had packed a couple of gels, knowing that I was sans domestique and they helped to keep it at bay.
We parted company with Willie at Millwell Rd and headed home via the tail end of the Chapleton loop. It was then our turn to be passed by a group of 3 riders at the top of the climb to Brown’s soils but Chris and I managed to rattle past the remaining one after going our separate ways from Shaun. Another nice wee pedal and the average speed isn’t too bad considering we have around 1500 feet of climbing on that route.
Stats 28.85 miles 14.9mph average 1447 feet climbed