Saturday 7th January 2012.
To round off a personal record breaking week (mileage wise) we met at 9.30am at the end of Muttonhole Road. Well, Andy and Si Bennett, Alan McKee, Martin Wilson and myself did. Unfortunately Muttonhole Rd has 2 ends and Big Stu was at the other one, a wee case of miscommunication. Andy was out on his new steed, a thoroughbred Specialized Secteur and very nice and flighty she is too. Before discovering Stu’s whereabouts, and whilst waiting for him, we fixed a frontwheel puncture on Andy’s bike, or should I say we reshod the front hoof which had become momentarily lame. The weather was rather chilly, overcast, windy and not sunny as forecast (damn you Michael Fish, Sean batty, the BBC weather website et al).
Martin had a 30 mile route planned, so we headed through Quarter towards Larkhall and on to Glassford. As we climbed the hill into Glassford, Si’s rear wheel threw a spoke. Having removed it Si and Martin pressed on whilst the rest of us stopped for a few adjustments to Alan’s brakes, good job he had his trusty mechanic alongside who had some tools with him. Pit stop complete we clipped in and set off. Alan and I followed Si and Martin, more by luck than judgement as we couldn’t see them, and Andy and Stu, who rather than follow us, decided to have a wee blether, then take a wrong turn at the next junction and head for Larkhall. This added an extra mile or two to their pedal. Can anyone see a common denominator or a theme developing here? Where were the cycling Gods? Were they nursing a Saturday morning hangover or possibly smiling on another group, as they certainly didn’t seem to be helping us a great deal.
We headed on towards Sandford. This section was pretty exposed to the strong winds which were gusting across us and testing our bike handling skills. We played safe and proceeded in single file instead of 2 up. Andy then picked up his second puncture of the day. We sought a little shelter from the wind in front of a wee row of houses and set about trying to repair the damage. The inhabitants of the houses seemed a little concerned at having so many MAMILS prowling around (Middle Age Men In Lycra) outside, but after a bit of faffing about, where I almost cryogenically suspended one of my fingers with a CO2 inflator which Alan had bought but was too frightened to use after making an arse of one on the Friday night, we set off again more than a little chilled. ”I’ll need to read the instruction” was the quote from Alan. Typical West Of Scotland male. Buy something that comes with instructions, try to use it the way you think it should work, make an arse of it. Try it again slightly more successfully and then go looking for the instructions. Admit it, we’ve all done it.
Back on the road again and the next test came in the shape of the climb up to Ardochrig. Si and Martin were setting a keen pace up front and somewhat surprisingly I was feeling pretty strong, although a little sore, after Thursdays 55 miler with Martin. Andy’s text after the first pedal on his new Secteur stating “Beware boys, an old spring uncoils” would appear to be justified as he seemed to enjoy a liberation from the weight of his Dawes tourer with a Contadoresque like dance up the Rig. I noticed that Stu was toiling a bit and dropped back a little to try and offer some help and encouragement but the big chap appeared to have bonked. I tried to give him some shelter but he couldn’t hold my wheel. Reading his blog offers an explanation. Having been in a very similar situation only days beforehand while out with Martin, I could empathise with the big chap. As we regrouped at the top of the climb Alan offered Stu a gel sachet as a tonic, Stu’s eyes lit up at the mention of medicinal tonic and although it wasn’t his favourite brand the gel seemed to do the trick.
We enjoyed the descent off the hill and parted company at the bottom with Alan and I heading home to Hamilton via Chapleton and the rest of the lads heading to EK through Auldhouse. Andy’s luck for the day, or lack of it, had not run out and he made it a hat-trick of punctures minutes later. After the air turned a serious shade of blue, with another sighting of the wolf with tourettes, Esther was called to pick him up.
Another great day in the saddle lads. Thoroughly enjoyed myself and probably clocked up around 29 miles or so, will have to map it as the intended route was curtailed a little and my trip computer failed. Hope to see you all soon, although I’m working next weekend.