Due to a wet forecast to the west around the Balloch to Aberfoyle route we decided against our planned 2nd recce of the sportif route, although I’m sure we’ll have a wee swatch at it before the event.
The local forecast was decent and proved for once to be accurate. Apologies to Ricky, Stu, Davy and Willie for me being 10 mins late but my chain was needing a little TLC, so it was a quick clean and lube up and head off up and over the hill to meet the lads. As always, what little wind there was was against me but constants are comforting, right? After almost developing cramp in my arsecheeks when attempting to slow down at the wee bridge at St Leonards I adjusted my brakes when I met the lads. We didn’t hang around as it was rather chilly and you cooled down rather quickly when you stopped so we headed off and almost forgot about meeting up with Scotty who was waiting near Langlands Golf Course. A quick call sorted out a new rendezvous at the top of Ardochrig so we pressed on and it was nice to see Scotty waiting for us. Big Stu was loving the role reversal having been on the end of “Scotty time” quite a bit recently.
With Willie as our guide we headed down off the Rig and turned right along some nice wee quiet singletrack roads which I hadn’t been on before. There was a bit of ice about on the roads and we were having to take it easy at times.
The road rolled along, undulating for a few miles before we came to a couple of seriously steep wee descents, thank God I’d adjusted those brakes.
As we came into Darvel we had our first go at a through and off which went pretty well until we got to Loudon. Inevitably our train fragmented as we climbed out of Loudon and through Moscow, it must have been the outskirts as the Kremlin was nowhere to be seen. We headed onwards and upwards and upwards and upwards to the top of the moors above Eaglesham where it then became payback time for all our effort on the climbs. Don’t you just love going down, or a good descent I believe is the cycling fraternities parlance.
We went straight through Eaglesham cross and along the Queensway, where Stu and I said our goodbyes to the lads and we went our separate ways. I tried to hold the big chap’s wheel to St Leonards but had the thought of the hill back over to Hamilton in the back of my mind so the elastic eventually snapped. It was nice to crest the last climb of the day and roll down the warm up hill having completed a fairly demanding route.
Hats of to big Stu who was the King Of The Mountain jersey winner today without doubt and well done to Willie who has not been out for a while. Ricky, Davy and Scotty did well with their hardtails which must be harder work than being on a roadbike or a hybrid.
So basically a big well done to all the lads in getting around 40 miles in with an average speed of about 13.1 mph. My total for the day was 46 miles following completing the Chapleton Loop clockwise with Alan McKee on Friday and having an hour on the turbo on Wednesday night.
After a nice wee run around Chapleton with Alan McKee on Friday, dodging a wee bit of ice now and again (well done Alan), we stopped at the fire road above my house where we normally go our seperate ways. The usual well done’s exchanged, Alan with only one toe out of his clips, decided that he needed to lie down and to do so very quickly. So he did, much to the amusement of 2 young ladies in a passing mini and, I must confess, myself. Having now completed a hattrick of Superman impressions he is getting better at it. Thankfully he didn’t need any assistance as I think Jo’s “Do Not Resuscitate” order still stands.