Dukes Pass 14 Months On

After yesterdays day lazing about in the back garden basking in the sun with a light refreshment or two, it was time to tackle the Duke Pass again. The last time and only time I’ve done the Dukes Pass was 14 months ago during the Scottish Bike Show Sportive. That time I was 2½ stone heavier and no where near as fit as I am now, so I was looking forward to seeing how I coped this time. Last time I had to stop half way up for a rest, hopefully this time I could make it without stopping, only time would tell!

The roll call consisted of only Stevie Potter and myself as the rest of the boys were either at the UCI MTB World Championship at Fort William or missing in action. Stevie picked me up at 8.30am and we headed off to Balloch and pulled into the car park at Garadhban Forrest on the West Highland Way. We would be doing the same route as the Scottish Bike Show Sportive took last year without the first 8 miles as they were over busy roads and we had no marshals today.

Having parked up we got out the car and started kitting up only to be attacked by swarms of midges! A quick turnaround time and we set off along Old Drymen Road, through Dalmary, Gartmore and into Aberfoyle. There were no feed stations awaiting us at Aberfoyle this time so we headed straight for the beast that was the Dukes Pass!

We swung a right straight onto Dukes Pass and the climb began in earnest. I soon distanced myself from Stevie and felt very strong on the climb, making it to the top without having to stop! Huge improvement from 14 months ago! Having reached the top I stopped and waited for Stevie. The beast had been tamed, we had smashed Dukes Pass!

We then took the opportunity to get some photographic evidence.

Stu at the top of Dukes Pass
Stu at the top of Dukes Pass
Stevie at the top of Dukes Pass
Stevie at the top of Dukes Pass

With new photos taken for the Whitelee Warriors 2014 Calendar we continued on our way with a wee bit more climbing before enjoying a long winding decent to the Trossachs. We continued round Loch Katrine with a few cheeky wee digs along the route before coming to Stronachlachar where we had a cafe stop. Stevie and I both went for the Bacon and Brie toasted wrap and a milkshake before setting back off on our merry way.

We arrived back in Aberfoyle and I suggested to Stevie that we tackle the Duke Pass once again but after being reminded of the long steep drag near the end we opted to give it a miss and carried on our way.

Before we knew it we had approached the long steep drag that was the Drymen climb. At the Scottish Bike Show Sportive 14 months ago I had to stop 2/3 times during this climb but this time round there was no stopping me! Another major climb had been tamed!

We finally reached the car park again racking up 48 miles with 4,249 ft of climbing! Great day was had and a good days work in saddle by us both. Felt really good today and very strong on the climbs, a huge improvement on 14 months ago! Amazing the difference losing weight and getting more miles in the legs can make! Great performance from Stevie who is well on his way back to full fitness!

Stevie and I weren’t the only Warriors in action today, my eldest son Callum (7 yrs old) took part in his first 5k run with his mum and finished it in an impressive 39 mins, wearing his Whitelee Warriors top! Well Dome Callum, so proud of you!

Callum after completing his first 5k!
Callum after completing his first 5k!

Stu