Sunday 29th July saw 3 of the Whitelee Warriors travel to Ayrshire to compete in the Graeme Obree Sportive 48.5 mile route.
The Whitelee Warriors numbers participating in this event compared to the Scottish Bike Show Sportive back in March dwindled significantly from 11 to just the trio of myself, Gilly & Chris.
The trio had all been away at separate training camps prior to the event, Gilly opting for the sizzling heat of Turkey, Chris in Wales (I think) and myself Belfast! Not your traditional training techniques as Gilly concentrated on the Effes training plan with myself concentrating on the Jack Daniels & Coke and Harp Training plans!
Anyway arrangements were made the evening before and Chris kindly offered to pick myself and Gilly up and drive down to Ayrshire. We arrived at the College where the event was starting from we started unpacking the bikes and getting kitted up. I looked round to the car parked next to us to see that the guy had pretty much emptied his whole boot of bits of metal and stuff. As we curiously watched him piece the contraption together we discovered that it was one of those horizontal bike things, not too dis-similar to the one pictured below:
It was at that point we came to an agreement that if the guy passed us on that contraption we were chucking it!!!
We cycled up to the registration point about a mile away and joined the long queue of entrants waiting to register. One of the organisers kept popping out to apologise for the delay. Just in front of us in the queue was the very eccentric Graeme Obree who mingled and chatted with the crowd.
We eventually got inside the registration building and registered, collecting our numbers, one for the back of our tops, one for our helmets and one for the front of our bikes.
The weather at the start was dry but windy with some very grey clouds above and the forecast was for thunder and lightening around 1pm, due to this Gilly and I opted for the waterproof jackets while Chris opted to go with just the base layer and jersey!
The first four groups, which belonged to the 68 mile route set off at timed intervals followed by group 5 which was the first group of the 48.5 mile route, and our group.
We set off and Chris shot straight to the front thinking he was Mark Cavendish in the last 200m of a race, obviously not realising he still had another 48.48 miles to go! Lol
We had literally travelled 1-2 miles and came across the first casualty of the day, one of the riders had suffered a puncture so early into the route. As we rounded the corner we were met with another rider having problems, this time it looked like a snapped chain!
As we covered the first 10 miles or so we had set quite a decent pace and done a few climbs. It was at this point that I got stuck behind a group of riders while Chris & Gilly shot round them and into the distance. I decided to stick with this pack for a wee while and pace myself as I was worrying that I wouldn’t be able to maintain the fast pace.
Around the 15 mile mark I rounded the corner to be met with abother rider suffering a puncture, this time it was one of our own, Chris!
I pulled in and waited while Chris and Gilly fixed the puncture, losing around 10 mins in the process! It was at this point I looked behind me and saw the sight we’d vowed not to allow to happen……… yip you got it, the guy on the horizontal bike was approaching and duly passed by us!!!
We quickly got the punctured repaired and set off on our way chasing back a number of riders who had passed by us including the horizontal bike man! Little less than a mile up the road we restored our dignity and shot past the horizontal man!
Just after the 20 mile mark we pulled into the feed station to quickly stock up on water and a quick banana while Chris attended to a gearing problem he was suffering!
So far the weather had been kind and actually very warm, with myself having to open every vent on my jacket to cool down! Had Chris made the right decision to leave the waterproof in the car? We hit the 32 mile mark and the clouds opened and it pelted down with rain, and I’m sure we had a wee bit of hail mixed in there too! It was at this point that I turned to Gilly and said, “That’s why we brought the jackets!” Lol
During the last 10 miles we managed to reel in quite a few riders and pass by them which was satisfying as it gave us a good indication of the fitness level we were at. At the very end we were met with 3 tough climbs one after another, cheeky cheeky!
The three of us approached and crossed the finishing line together and collected our medals, a chew bar, a banana and a bottle of water, then headed to the grassy area to chill for five and reflect on the days ride.
As we picked up our bikes to head back to the car Chris shouted to us that he had yet another puncture! How had he managed to get another puncture between finishing the ride and the bike sitting on the grass with no-one near it!!
All in all it was a great day on a great route. The event was well organised, well signposted and marshaled very well.
We completed the 48.5 mile route on 3hrs 2 mins with an average speed of just under 16mph which we were well pleased with! We worked well as a team taking turns at the front.
I will defenately be back next year to compete in this event.