End of Season Review

2012 is nearly over so I thought I’d take a look back at the last 12 months rekindling some of my favorite moments.

Literally 12 months ago this whole adventure started! Having spent many a day out cycling on my own and commuting to work by bike I wanted to have a bash at a Sportive……… my eye was on the Scottish Bike Show Sportive……… why? Well that was the first Sportive I’d heard about having never done one before. My work had booked exhibition space at the very first Scottish Bike Show and that’s how I got to know about the Sportive which was also the first one organised by the Scottish Bike Show. So all I needed to do now was try and convince others to join me! That would be a challenge in itself……. or so I thought!

The day it all began I traded the road bike for the hardtail and headed off to the Whitlee Windfarm with a couple others. We parked the cars at Ardochrig and headed the 11 miles off road on dusty dirt tracks to the visitor center for cake and coffee. This was where I was going to drop my bombshell, I had my collective audience so this was it, the moment where it all began! While the boys were happily tucking into large slices of carrot cake, chocolate cake and, well any type of cake, I produced the blueprints, OK it wasn’t actually blueprints but more like information printed from the Scottish Bike Show website! Having put my desire to enter a Sportive across to the boys they hit straight back with a resounding, “I’m in“. That was a lot easier than I thought it would be! It was one thing saying that they would do it and another actually signing up for it. Within 24 hrs we had 6 entries into the Scottish Bike Show Sportive 65 miles route! We were doing it!

Gilly had phoned me to say that he was registering for the Sportive and that it had asked for a team name on the form, he suggested the name “Whitelee Warriors” as the suggestion and decision to enter the Sportive took place in the cafe at the Whitelee wind farm. Boom! The Whitelee Warriors were born!

Most of us had never cycled anywhere near that distance before, I had completed 70 miles cycling to Balloch and back a good few years previous, when I was in my prime and putting a little less strain on my bike than I do at the moment!

Friends of the BeatsonI thought to myself……. why don’t we kill two birds with one stone and raise some money for charity at the same time. Again this idea was welcomed warmly by the boys, and I suggested Friends of the Beatson as our chosen charity as my dad at the time was a Cancer Specialist at the Beatson (has since retired), and I had lost family and close friends to Cancer. With no objections from the rest we adopted Friends of the Beatson as our official Charity.

Tacx Satori Pro Turbo TrainerAll that was left now was to start training and so the fun and games started, blood, sweat, tears and spat dummies! We wrapped up warm and headed out in the worst of the elements but were halted in our progress by the deep freeze that we suffered in Dec/Jan. It was at this point that several of us took advantage of the cracking deal Decathlon were doing on the Tacx Satori turbo trainer. We had something to train for now and we sure as heck weren’t about to let the weather stop us! OK the weather did stop us getting out but we still managed to get the legs spinning indoors and build up a good sweat.

Scottish Bike Show LogoAfter several months of training the Scottish Bike Show Sportive was now upon us, this was what we had all trained for. Our target for Sponsorship was set at £1000 but we managed to smash that total by raising £2,661.00 for Friends of the Beatson! The Sportive turned out to be a tough day in the saddle but a thoroughly enjoyable day, being spurred on by the fact we were raising money for charity. The inexperience in us meant that we set off at a very quick pace, letting the adrenaline dictate the pace. We also spent too long at the feed stations allowing our muscles time to cool down. Lessons were learnt from that day but all in all it was a great day with a few pints and a curry thrown into the mix in after the event.

You can read my full review from the Scottish Bike Show Sportive.

Next up on the Sportive calendar for myself, Chris and Gilly was the Graeme Obree Sportive (48.5 miles) in Ayrshire. We started strong on in this event then Chris collected the first of two punctures that day! This was one great wee sportive covering a lovely scenic route and was well organised. This is one event I’ll be doing again next year.

Graeme Obree Sportive Review

I had planned to do the Scottish Whisky Trail Sportive (81 miles) but sadly my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly at the age of 55. I missed a couple of weeks training and my head wasn’t in it so I decided to scrap it.

The third and final Sportive of 2012 came in the form of the Fresh n Low Pedal for Scotland Glasgow to Edinburgh Sportive (110 miles). I had actually signed up for this event before I had even completed my first sportive! The thinking behind this was to enter before I did the Scottish Bike Show Sportive so I was pot committed and couldn’t back out!

Now this was an eventful Sportive! I really wanted to get my first ton plus under my belt before the end of the year and nearly never made it! The first 30 miles went fine then I managed 6 punctures in the space of 5 miles! Nearly threw the bike away! Was ready to chuck it when I turned round and saw the mobile mechanic van appear. I purchased a new tyre and set off on my merry way and completed what was a challenging day on my own with no wheel to hug! Was really chuffed to get my first ton plus under my belt especially with all those punctures!

Pedal for Scotland, Glasgow to Edinburgh Review

So that was the past year summed up in a few paragraphs. What a year it was, we had many laughs, blood, sweat, tears, met new friends, lost weight and got fitter all in the space of 12 month! Several of the boys bought new bikes and we even managed to convert Davie Mullin and Stevie Haining into MAMIL’s!

I personally have enjoyed every minute of my cycling this past year, came across many challenges and tackled them head on completing three sportives, completing my first ton plus, lost weight, got fitter and set a new PB and group record for the most punctures in one day! It’s funny looking way to just 12 months ago when I was well chuffed at completing 10 miles on the bike to having complete 113 miles in one day! We enjoyed a trip to Arran where I learnt that infarct Arran isn’t a flat Island!

So far this year with 9 days left of 2012 I have completed 2,768.89 miles on the bike compared to 525.16 miles in 2011, that’s an increase of 427.25%!

So what’s next for 2013? So far I have already signed up for:

  1. Scottish Bike Show Sportive 65miles – raising money for Friends of the Beatson in the process
  2. Etape Caledonia – 81 mile Sportive on closed roads
  3. London 100 mile Sportive – in ballot for this

Other events I’ll be registering for in 2013:

  1. Graeme Obree Sportive – 48.5 miles
  2. Pedal for Scotland Glasgow to Edinburgh Sportive – 113 miles – hooping to set a new PB of under 6 punctures!

We have also recently managed to secure kit sponsorship from local businesses to fund custom kit:

At the time of writing this blog I’m awaiting confirmation of Integrated Water Services coming on board.

Really is an exciting year a head for the Whitelee Warriors, as we continue to grow in numbers and set new personal and group goals.

Whitelee Warriors

I have set myself one other challenge for 2013……. this challenge will be one of the biggest challenges I have faced to date! The challenge is to get more people, other than Gilly and myself writing blogs!

Stu