Last Saturday saw us tackle the Drumlanrig Sportive. Originally there was 5 of us signed up for this event but Gilly shat it, literally, and pulled out. Being off work the week leading up to the event with a sickness and diarrhea bug Gilly sensibly pulled out and concentrated on recovering for the main event this weekend, the Etape Caledonia.
So that left Chris, Robbie, Hugh and myself to don the famous colours of the Whitelee Warriors and wear the heart of the Beatson Cancer Charity on our sleeves.
It was an early start, I set the alarm for 5am as I was picking Robbie up at 6am then over to Uddingston to get Hugh. Robbie was suffering the opposite from Gilly, pre-race nerves I reckon, but I won’t go into graphic detail. Lol
The Drumlanrig Sportive was split into two routes, the 50 mile route in the morning followed by the 38 mile route in the afternoon. You could do either of these routes or both if you wanted. Our plan was to combine the two routes and rattle up 88 miles in the legs.
The weather was a mix, typical of Scotland. We had sunshine, hail, heavy rain, strong winds, the lot! We collected our race numbers and set off on what would turn out to be a tough day in the saddle. 13 miles in and my legs decided to stop working…… 13 miles!!!!! What the heck was going on! I struggled to turn the cranks on even the flattest of roads. A few miles later they seemed to find a new lease of life and started working again!
Chris on the other hand started strong and then his legs packed in at the 30 mile mark. Think the two of us should morph into one rider! Either that or do a relay, with Chris starting off and myself finishing and taking all the glory!
Hugh and Robbie were looking strong and proved this as we turned the corner and came across the steepest hill I’ve cycled up! Averaging 16% and with my Garmin showing 24% at one point, it was a beast! I powered off far too fast and got half way up before my legs packed in and I had to pull over, shortly followed by Chris. I tried several times to restart but the gradient was too steep so had to push a 100 yards or so to a slightly flatter section before mounting the bike again and this time managing to get started.
Hats of to Robbie and Hugh who made it up without getting off! Hugh commented afterwards that the front wheel of his bike was literally coming off the ground!
After cresting the hill I waited for Chris who informed me that he would not be heading back out to do the afternoon route. I plodded on, dropping Chris in the process as I wanted to catch up with Hugh and Robbie before they headed out for part 2. I did catch up with them, at the feeding zone back at the car park.
It was here that Hugh informed me that he also wouldn’t be heading out for the afternoon’s 38 miles. He said he would happily wait in the car for Robbie and myself to finish. After a short discussion and a look up at the Radar Station we decided to call it a day and save ourselves for the Etape Caledonia.
The after route took in Mennock Pass and Scotland’s highest village, Wanlockhead. As we stood in the car park which was also the feedstation we could see it was covered in snow, then as we looked away and looked back we could no longer see the Golf Ball as big angry grey storm clouds and encased it.
Turns out it was the right decision to chuck it as those I spoke to who went back out said it was brutal. They were battered with hailstones all the way through Mennock Pass and up into Wanlockhead.
So that was that, 50 miles in the legs with over 3,000 feet of climbing. Not the 88 miles that was originally planned and that I’d hoped for but a tough 50 miles all the same.
After a tough day in the saddle training for the cycle part of the Etape Caledonia, it was time to train for the social side as I knocked back 3 rapid Jagerbombs! Well earned Jagerbombs I may add!
After having a shower I joking said to Gail if she’d take me to the shop to get some recovery shakes which she duly obliged!
I think the training for the social side of the Etape is going well……. maybe too well!