First REAL Ride of 2012

After spending time on the turbo trainer I eventually got to hit the tarmac again, not literally thankfully, and let the wind flow through my hair again! It must have been windy because when I got home my hair wasn’t there!

Anyway, after a call from Gilly last night we agreed to meet at the start of Muttonhole Road, this meant me having to cross the wee bridge at the bottom of the Hamilton back road and climb that HUGE hill! Not long after the phone call with Gilly I got a text from him saying, I quote,  “Slight change of plans. Can we meet at the END of Muttonhole Road at 9.30am. Cheers. Hope to see you all tomorrow. Please text back to confirm that you have received this.” Which I did. That’s where the confusion started.

When I first passed my driving test many moons again I bought a Vauxhall Nova Saloon 1.0l car and I had to drop down into first gear to climb that hill, so I wasn’t looking forward to doing it on my bike!

To be fair the hill turned out to be ok apart from me feeling like bringing my weetabix back up! Really need to get up that wee bit earlier to have my breakfast before I head out.

I left my house at 9am as I wasn’t too sure on how long it would take me, better early that late. The weather was good, well at this point anyway, there was little or no wind and the skies were clear albeit a little chilly. I arrived at the END of Muttonhole Road at 9.18am, plenty time. As I waited for the others to join me at the END (get the theme here?) of Muttonhole Road a storm started to gather, strong winds and rain appeared, not what the forecast was! 9.40am and still no sign of the others so I called Gilly on his mobile to discover he meant the start of Muttonhole Road, where I had originally planned to meet him before that confusing text. They had stopped to fix a puncture (puncture no.1) that Andy had got. As I was now getting a little cold standing about waiting I headed back to meet them on route.

Met up with them about a mile back up the road and dropped into the back of the pack. We were now up to full quota, tallying 6, Gilly, Martin, Alan, Si, Andy and Myself.

We headed back along Muttonhole Road and I had a wee dejavu moment as I was sure I’d cycled that road today already, took a right onto Limekillburn Road and into Quarter.

At some point along the route, can’t remember exactly where abouts, Andy gained puncture number 2 on his shiny new Specialized bike. As we took relative shelter from the elements beside a row of houses 10 mins passed and still there was no sign of the support vehicle so we came to the decision we’d need to change it ourselves! Inner tube eventually fixed and we were back on the road again.

At one point we had to stop as Gilly fixed Alan’s brakes as the toe of his trainers was wearing thin using them to stop. As we started back off Andy and I were chatting and lost the pack. As we turned the corner we were faced with a choice of routes, straight ahead to Larkhall or right heading to Stonehouse. After a couple of minutes evaluating the situation we made an educated decision based on Andy seeing tyre tracks straight ahead and none to the left, and myself remembering Gilly mention Larkhall the night before. About a mile along the road our educated decision proved to be the wrong one as Gilly phoned to see where we were, they had taken the right turn as the sign for Larkhall had been blown round and was now facing the wrong direction. So Andy and I retraced our route and met back up with the pack. All miles are good miles and all that!

We then headed onto Strathaven road and into Sandford, past Stonehouse and then into Gilmerton. We then turned onto the A71 then swung a second left onto Ardochrig Road where the long climb began. Around the 26 miles mark my legs packed in and I was starting to struggle, Gilly dropped back and encouraged me to keep going. He told me to drop down to a lower gear but I informed him that I was already in the lowest gear and had run out of gears, or so I thought. It wasn’t untill I rounded the corner with 500m to the top of the hill and the waiting pack, that I looked down and realised that I was in the lowest gear in the back but the highest gear at the front…….. Doh! Not to worry lesson learnt Lol!

As I joined the pack at the top of Ardochrig Alan saved my life and legs by giving me an energy gel, boy those things really are a life saver! Thanks Alan! Then we were off down the hill with my new legs! At the bottom we stopped so Gilly could get a team photo for what I imagine is his up and coming blog post. At this point Gilly and Alan swung a right and headed homeward bound with the wind BEHIND them! Martin, Andy, Si and Myself swung a left and headed towards Auldhouse. As we approached Auldhouse the unmistakable choice of swear words from Andy alerted me that he had received his THIRD puncture! I didn’t even have to look round to work that one out lol. That was Andy finished, he phoned his wife to come and pick him up and Si, Martin and I carried on. At this point Martin said his goodbye’s and shot off as he was already running late.

Si and I headed back to East Kilbride without further incident and clocked 35.96 miles in the process!

All in all it was a good day and an enjoyable ride, not sure Andy would agree with that statement tho lol. A wee bit dodgy at bits with the strong cross winds but thoroughly enjoyable and great company.

The only other incident we had was when Si lost a spoke and knocked the balance out of his wheel, that was soon rectified when he moved his wallet from one pocket to the other!

Stu