After much talking about and little doing, we eventually managed to sort out the Arran trip. The roll call was myself, Gilly, Stevie Potter and Davie.
So it was all organised and happening……. Stevie Potter was to pick me up and Davie was picking Gilly up…… or that was until Davie decided that he probably wouldn’t be fit enough to drive after tackling the dizzy heights of Arran. So it was all change, Stevie was now picking up Gilly and I would be picking up Davie.
Friday night consisted of checking the bike, changing the tyres and packing my kit for the early start the following morning.
My alarm clock goes off at 7am and I get myself ready, get the bike on the car and head over to pick up Davie at Drumsagard. We loaded his bike on the rack and headed to McDonalds to meet up with Gilly and Stevie. Gilly didn’t look or sound a picture of health as he coughed up a lovely green foreign object from his lungs.
We set off from McDonalds and made our way to Adrossan to catch the 9.45am ferry. Once we arrived and got kitted up we headed off to the ticket office to purchase our day return tickets. Davie bought mine for driving him. We let Davie keep the return tickets as his security ticket that we wouldn’t leave him!
We boarded the ferry for the 45 minute journey across to what was the beautiful island Arran.
Gilly grabbed a map and had a quick look over the route for the day, not that it was hard to plan, you could only go left or right out of the ferry terminal and it was a straight road all the way round!
I had actually managed to accomplish something that I have never managed to do before…….. remember to bring my bank card and some money with me! Just for all you doubters I have photographic evidence!
I put it to the boys that we should turn on our Garmins and take the extra miles from the ferry crossing but we decided that the speed of the ferry would bring our average speed down!
We arrived in Arran, departed the ferry and stopped to make a decision on whether we were going right or left……… we decided on going left while everyone else went right, did they know something we didn’t?
So we turn left straight into a tough couple of climbs! Now that was a great idea wasn’t it! Lol. My thighs felt very tight after only 3 miles climbing the hills. Didn’t help that we had been sitting about on the ferry for 45 mins and an hour in the car prior to that! An energy gel and 10 miles later and the legs had returned to normal.
During that first climb straight out of the ferry terminal Davie decided to give us all a break halfway up the hill my attempting to remove his buff while still wearing his helmet, resulting in it getting stuck on his helmet and rendering him blind, nearly resulting in a face plant with the tarmac!
After a short wait while Davie re-dressed himself (his mum and Lucy weren’t with us so it took him a little longer than usual), we carried on up the accent stopping off at the top to get a couple of photos of this picturesque island.
As we hit the 7 mile mark with only 50 miles to go Stevie made an early break for it. I think he’s been watching too much of the Tour de France!
Gilly kept going on about this Loch Ranza climb and how brutal it was. I was hoping that the fact he kept going on about it and how tough it was that we would arrive at it and it would be a wee mole hill……. more on that later.
The roads were mostly immaculate and some of the best surfaces I’ve cycled on, although it was winding roads and some of the bends that were sheltered by the tress were wet and littered with leaves making the corners a little dodgy at times. At one point I came flying around the corner into a steep decent and into another corner when I heard Davie shouting “Wooo” and assumed that he was just enjoying the adrenaline rush, only to find out later that he had hit the corner too fast and slammed the brakes on resulting on his back wheel sliding out beneath him, but somehow managed to keep upright!
We were now at the 23 mile mark and were starting to get hungry, especially Davie, when we rounded the corner and were met by the sight of a big hotel. We pulled in but Gilly managed to talk us out of stopping here as 2 miles around the corner was a golf course which did cracking bacon rolls. Davie let out a grunt which we took as he wasn’t too happy about this but as it was only 2 miles away and better views accepted the decision. Well that 2 miles was more like 4-5 miles! Not to worry we eventually came across said golf course and was shortly joined by a very happy looking Davie……. his happiness was soon to disappear tho!
We parked the bikes up and I took out my padlock and locked a couple of them together then the colour drained out of Gilly’s face as he read the sign on the door saying that it was closed! The look of fear in Gilly’s face is a sight that will never leave me, how the hell was he going to explain to Davie that it was closed and that he wasn’t getting fed at this particular moment! That’s a fate I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy!
To say that Davie wasn’t happy was an understatement! We jumped back on our bikes and continued on our way looking for the next cafe which came after several miles and some pretty tough climbs! By this point Davie was so knackered that he didn’t even have the energy to close the door behind him as we entered the cafe, resulting in about £45 worth of heat escaping into the sea!
We placed our order and waited, and waited and waited a little longer! Exactly 44 mins later (thanks to our master statistician Davie for this data), our bacon rolls arrived, in a toasted bun which explains the time taken to make them. These were quickly polished off and we settled our bill. Thanks again to Stevie for treating me to my lunch.
As we left the warmth of the cafe and headed outside it didn’t take me long to cool down and at one point I was shivering so we set off on the road again, heading towards the famous mole hill of Loch Ranza.
As we left for the last leg of the journey we were faced with strong winds battering head on into us. We got a half mile through and off going which worked well in the windy conditions. After a few more steady climbs we entered the village of Loch Ranza, this was it, the mole hill was afore us. I popped an energy gel in the anticipation for this bad boy, secretly hoping that I was right in assuming that because Gilly kept going on about it that it was just a wee mole hill……. sadly that was not to be the case!
We traveled through the village and turned the corner and there she was! She was anything but pretty looking! I turned to Stevie and said, “Oh golly gosh that looks a naughty little slope“, ok that wasn’t quite the words I used but this is a family blog.
Gilly put his head down and rattled up Loch Ranza like a man possessed, with Stevie arriving second shortly followed myself then Davie. It was a tough 2.5 mile climb but sadistically I actually enjoyed it!
Every inch of pain during the Loch Ranza climb was worth it for the decent on the other side. It was by far the most enjoyable decent I’ve ever had on one of the best road surfaces I’ve ever ridden! The decent was on newly resurfaced winding roads covering 4 miles. What a buzz we all got flying down that stretch. I reached speeds of 41.3 mph! Stevie got stuck behind a car that was braking at every little bend and I was just waiting for it to slam the brakes on and Stevie to go flying into the back of it like the scene out of the smurfs!
After that decent we had a nice flat rolling 6 miles back to the ferry terminal arriving with plenty time to spare for the return ferry. Once we arrived in the car park Gilly informed me that we had only done 56 miles and since I’d been chinned before for being a mile short of said distance I proceeded to completed about 20 laps of the car park to gain that extra mile!
We boarded the ferry for the return journey and toasted a great day with a double Black Bottle!
Gilly was choking for a fag so decided to try his luck with the classy chick sitting opposite (top left of above pic) us who smoked roll ups, only to be told that she had no skins left! Just like my family friends edit earlier, I’m sure that was her family friendly edit!
So back to me actually remembering to take my bank card and money with me………. I managed to return home with the same £10 note as the photo below shows. Shortly after this photo was taken I let go of the £10 note and it sprung back into my pocket due to the elastic that was attached to it!
It really was an excellent day and hopefully next time more of the boys will make the trip. We hit it lucky with the weather as it was dry and sunny with windy spells.
57 hilly miles completed in 4hr 2 mins with an average speed of 14.1 mph
King of the Mountains jersey went to Gilly and a special mention has to go to Davie. Well done bro great effort!