Having not been on the bike for nearly 3 weeks due to four days away on the swally in Belfast, followed by a chest infection, then a week in Eurodisney, today’s ride was always going to be brutal, and brutal it was!

Arriving back late on Friday night and with the Graeme Obree Sportive being this Saturday I really needed to get out on the bike, and get decent mileage in the legs.

Gilly and Stevie Potter would be my partners in crime for the ride. We arranged to meet at Muttonhole Road at 9:45am and take in some of the climbs that the Graeme Obree route covers.

I left my house at 9:30am and got the first taste of how brutal the day would be as I crossed the Hamilton backroad bridge and huffed and puffed my way up the steep climb then onto Muttonhole road where Gilly and Stevie joined me shortly after.

Five miles in and I was struggling, blowing out my arse and with my legs offering very little! It was at this point that I seriously thought about giving up, well that’s not entirely true, I was going to let Stevie and Gilly continue and do a couple easy laps myself as I felt I was holding them back but was promptly told where to go……. and that wasn’t home! Gilly and Stevie told me to tuck in behind them, and I must take my hat off to them as they worked hard in the wind and rain to pull me along! Nothing new there some of you would say! Appreciated guys!

We took in several tough climbs, made tougher by the fact my lungs and legs were not working to full capacity. To be fair some of the climbs were brutal, reaching 15% at points!

As we cycled through Newmilns we stopped off at a newsagents to replenish our depleted water supplies and take on a bar of chocolate. This was a sore one for Stevie as Gilly and I had both left the house without our wallets! Cheers for looking after us Stevie!

At one point we hit a tough climb which took a sharp left hand turn. I was in the lowest gear and swung out right to reduce the gradient of the turn, got out the saddle and as I pushed down felt my rear wheel slip, thankfully I managed to catch it and crested the climb without incident. Stevie followed behind and we made our way along the flat straight road after the climb, Gilly was leading and I was behind him, we heard the unmistakable sound of a bike crashing to the tarmac behind us, which turned out to be Stevie. With a small van approaching in the other direction we had to signal for it to stop as we were on a narrow country road and Stevie was sprawled across it.

Gilly and I turned back and immediately made a dash for Stevie’s bike, picked it up, checked it all over and once reassuring ourselves that there was no damage, went over to Stevie to make sure he was ok!

Stevie's first question after his crash
Stevie’s first question after his crash

mr-bumpStevie came away from it relatively unscathed with just a scraped knee, nothing a Mr Bump plaster won’t fix, and a dent in his pride!

The final 20 odd miles were tough as the legs started to feel heavier, if that was at all possible! Stevie started to struggle from this point and had nothing left in the tank but managed to soldier on and make it to the end. Well I think he made it as I left them at the end of Muttonhole Road to head home.

It was a brutal day in the saddle, but that was to be expected due to my layoff and the fact we climbed 4,301 feet in 59 miles! The intermittent heavy rain and strong winds didn’t help the cause. Lol

Glad to get the miles in after my hols and a huge thanks must go to Stevie and Gilly for not allowing me to chuck it and for working hard between themselves at the front to get me through that initial pain barrier!

Hoping to head out a couple of times this week before the Graeme Obree Sportive with Tuesday and Wednesday looking like 27 miles if anyone fancies it?


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