The day had arrived, the day we tackled the Round Strathaven 50, an event that we did 2 years ago which turned out to be brutal, not helped by the wind and rain that was present on the day. Would today, 2 years later, be any different?
The team sheet for today looked like the following:
Last night we made the decision that we would cycle the 7.5 miles from East Kilbride to the start at Strathaven as our warm up. As if 50 miles isn’t enough, we decided to increase our distance! Part of the reason for this was due to limited parking because of construction works going on at the new school. The plan was to leave mine at 9am which would get us to the start at around 9:30am, giving us plenty time to sign on.
I awoke before my alarm clock strangely, but didn’t rise until it went off! Upon getting up I was sure I was still half asleep as I thought I could see the sun peering through the curtains! Upon further investigation I was shocked to see that it was in fact the sun and it was out to play! Don’t get me wrong, living in East Kilbride we don’t often get to see that glowing yellow ball in the sky, and when we do it’s usually followed 5mins later by snow!
I headed downstairs and treated myself to a slap-up breakfast of Shreddies, infact it wasn’t even real shreddies it was Morrison’s own version, Malties! Well come on you can’t drink the best malt Whisky AND eat branded cereal at the same time! Priorities! Lol
Robbie and his neighbour Andy arrived first followed shortly by Stevie Haining. We were meeting Stevie Potter and Hugh at the sign-on point in Strathaven as they were coming from different directions.
So off we set in the direction of Strathaven, a nice wee relaxed 7.5 mile warm up for the main event which would follow shortly. We soon arrived at Kirkland Primary School, the start and finish point of today’s event. We met up with Hugh and Stevie P and headed in to sign on and collect our race numbers. These things were like bloody wind sails they were that big! Lol
With our wind sails attached to our bikes we made our way to the start line where we waited our turn to set off. It was at this point that Stevie Potter and Hugh commented that they’d seen someone else in the Warriors kit further up the line. Now this confused me as everyone that said they’d registered for the event was with us. True enough I spotted the famous Warriors kit further up the line.
Apologies in advance Chris Hunter as I thought you’d pulled a fly one and entered at last minute and not let anyone know. The guy was the same height as you and was wearing the same type od bib-tights you wear, I was convinced it was you!
Before long we were off, the road was narrow and we were stuck in a bottle neck as we tried to chase down the Warriors jersey further up the road. With a bit of weaving and undercutting we slowly made our way through the bunch and started closing down on the elusive Warrior ahead.We got within shouting distance and I called out “Chris” several times but still the elusive Warrior never turned round! OK so it wasn’t Chris, so who could it be then? I made my way up along side and as he turned I discovered it was Andrew Brawley, the owner of IsleBay Ltd and Sponsor of the Whitelee Warriors. We had a quick chat before he sent me on my way to catch up with the rest of the team who’d powered on ahead.
The first half of the course went by very quickly and seemed relatively flat in comparison to what I remembered. The only real incident in the first half was when Hugh clipped the side of the grass verge and somersaulted over the bars and into the ditch! Thankfully he landed in the grass verge and not on the tarmac!
The first feedstation was at 19 miles which we decided to skip as bottles were still well stock with fluids. The 2nd half of the course was where the majority of the climbs were, or so it seemed.
The sun was beating down now and it was getting very warm. We powered on as a group and stopped at the 2nd feed station in Glassford where we were treated to an awesome selection of home baking! It was hard to sticking to moderation, but knowing we still had 19 miles to go including the beast of Ardochrig I stuck to moderation.
Now fully refueled we head off for the final leg of the 50 mile course. Before long we’d passed the foot of Ardochrig, swinging a right and heading the long way round past Langlands golf course, into Auldhouse and onto the beast that is Ardochrig. I got my head down and spun it out. To be fair it wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be, even tho I was nearly a minute slower than last Wed on the climb. Saying that, last Wed I arrived at Ardochrig with fresh legs with only 10 or so miles in them, today we hit it with 40 odd miles in the legs.
As we hit Ardochrig the fitness levels of Robbie and Stevie Haining showed as they powered on and distanced the rest of us. Please not that Robbie sent me a text telling me to make sure I mentioned that he powered on to the finish dropping myself and the others, but not Stevie Haining who crossed the line first! *Robbie turned up at my door with his team kit in his arms saying that if I didn’t update the blog post to say both he and Stevie crossed the line at the same time he was handing his kit back in! I took his kit off him and closed the door!!!! Lol Naw seriously he did ask me to correct the blog. In my defence I had gone by the Starva times and his showed 2 mins slower than Stevie!
With Ardochrig out the way it was onto the home straight, the last few miles, well the last few miles of the event, we still had 7.5 miles to get back home!
Before long we’d arrived on the home straight and across the finishing line to be greeted by Stevie Haining and Robbie, who’d already started stuffing their faces with cakes from the home baking!
Hugh followed on a short time later, suffering from the stomach bug he’d had last week and the fall he took from the bike today. Battered and brusie he showed his true Warrior status and finished the event!
Handing in our race numbers we hit the home baking and boy was it good! Well earned without a doubt!
All that was left was to complete the 7.5 miles back home, which surprisingly we powered on and completed in no time at all.
Great day and a well organised event. Last time we did the event two years ago I commented on the several of the marshals/Volunteers who sat at junction either on their phone or talking to fellow volunteers instead of checking the road was clearing and pointing out the direction. This year I could not fault them one bit! They were a credit to the event, offering encouragement, pointing us in the right direction, keeping an eye on our safety and serving us with an awesome selection of home baking at the feedstation and at the end! Well Done Guys!
Felt strong today and really happy with how I’m progressing. Ended up a little sunburnt with wasn’t expected. Lol
Great performance by all the Warriors today! Keep up the good work lads!