When we get released…..

With the weather as nice as it has been I’ve certainly started to dream of where I would like to cycle once we get release from lockdown and can cycle with friends again. Some cycling is just not the same solo.

I’ve been trying to keep within a 15 mile radius of home which still gives plenty of roads but still somethings are missing.

Mine are – Out and aroud Loch Earn, Over the hills and lochs to Kinloch Rannoch oh and Inverness to home.

So comment below your top 3 place you wish to cycle once released from Lockdown

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The Sunday After VE Day.

It’s been a tough week, not getting out enough on the bike for that essential daily exercise.

But never fear Sunday will soon be here and I have a target of some wee off highlighter roads that are actually quite close to home. Now while I have navigated one on foot before and the other prior to the electronic heat map, this makes their ticking off no less significant.

The significance is that I will have to start going west a lot more, Loch Tay and Loch Earn to name but two targets. Maybe when this lockdown stuff is over, and I get to drive to a more suitable start point I will get Perthshire ticked off.

So, Sunday, no start time or place just a whim to visit Blackwater!

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Another Lockdown Sunday

Hard to believe we are at another weekend and lockdown is still in place.

So, with that in mind, I will be out for a wee run to somewhere, to get there for 11:30.

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Local Etape Loch Ness!

Me and my big mouth putting on here that I was going to do the ELN distance on Sunday.

I set Lesley up with the Garmin Live tracker and asked if she could meet me at Cherrybank at the end of lap 3 with a fresh bottle of water. Of onto the circuit with the first of my 4 climbs of Necessity Brae. I never like climbing it first out of the box as my lungs need a while to clear. It was a chilly start and blooming cold freewheeling down Dupplin brae. Crossing the earn I spot at least 20 swans the river, On through Forteviot and it’s now my brain starts on the mind games and the thought of this as the first of 4 laps starts to nip away. On I roll, today will not be a day for land speed records as although I feel fit enough to do the distance I’m no where near fit enough to do the real ELN. Up the rise out of Forgandenny and this stretch of tarmac is rough as anything it’s an art to pick a reasonably pot hole free track across it. ¬†On to Bridge of Earn and avoiding the turn to Rhynd and on back into Perth. With Legs as fresh as they would ever be all day I have a dig at the Wilson Street Burst segment. Got the gearing wrong but managed my second best time, So close to my PR. Up through Craigie and onto Lap 2. Back up Necessity and down Dupplin. The Swans are still there. Rolling into Forgandenny I spy 3 cyclists gathered by the village hall. Going by their ageing years they are not from the same house and shouldn’t have been out together. Back over the rough tarmac and down to Bridge of earn. Past a group of 6!!! A Family of 4 and Granny and Granda out for a walk. This time it’s turn right for Rhynd. The entrance to the Moncrieff Hill carpark is chained off but 4 cars are still parked up at the entrance. It’s just after here that I spy a Tiger casually leaning on the hedge watching the world go by. I wave but no acknowledgment back. On and up the Rhynd climb, slowly, Yup not really ELN fit enough but still manage to click up through the gears as I reach the crest. Onto Rhynd village and I see a local safety conscious chicken wearing a Hi Viz Jacket! A couple of girls were looking well puggled coming the opposite way, I’m sure I will look more puggled than them later on. Get to the the junction and another down moment as I’m slower than I had hoped for. Maybe a speedy 36 miles the day before wasn’t such a wise idea. Oh well back up through Craigie, no attempt at Wilson Street and onto Lap 3. Scott the owner of the Cherrybank Inn is out getting the walls painted.

Have I ever said how much I hate Necessity Brae? Well I do!

The swans are still in the earn and the temperature is rising. A pleasant day for a pedal. Loads more cyclists and runners now out but all as singles or pairs. I wonder how many of those pairs have one cyclist or runner who is more keen and usually goes cycling with friends but due to lockdown can’t so is dragging their other half out as company! Some rather pleasant sights to be seen!

Down to Bridge of Earn and spy the Grandparents from earlier now without the other 4 and see them turning to wave back having gone their separate ways and heading to their own home. GRRR! Now it’s the another extended family washing cars at one of their house.

Back into Perth and up through Craigie to end lap 3. On each pass of the Edinburgh road Tescos this morning there have been no queues of hopeful shoppers.

My support crew is at the Cherrybank Corner with camera filming my approach and more importantly carrying water supplies. A quick chat and an inhale of fuel and it’s off for the final ascent of Necessity Brae. I get passed by an extremely skinny fit cyclist who zooms off up the hill but still exchanges nice day chat. I’m feeling more tired now and another cyclist passes. Like many of us in lockdown looking greyer and more hairy but the voice is familiar it was Bill P. We have a socially distant chat at the top. He is on call and already been out 3 times that morning so just doing an hour of hill reps. He is still hoping the the Etape Du Tour in Nice happens so keeping training. I guess in my way so am I for London and today was part of the stepping stones to that. Anyway on I roll, loads of standing on the pedals to stretch my back is needed. My Monday stretch class is going to be interesting and needed.

Nothing much to report on this final lap. The swans were still there the car washers had finished. The runners and cyclists were out. But the miles to the end were ticking down.

Wilson street approached and I thought to have a wee dig at the segment. Around the corner and i go to stand up on the pedals and power up and rise but my legs just laughed, Who am I kidding and I was back down into the saddle. No life left in the legs! The legs for this final stretch are turning but no extra power. Thankfully I didn’t get stopped at the traffic lights and trudged up the final climbs to home. I did spy that I was .3 away from the next whole number distance and for a nano second contemplated rolling down the street and back again but dismissed that thought. Now I find I’m .2 behind Sandra in the weekly leader table for total distance. Oh well she can have it.

Glad I did it, but no way near the level of fitness needed for the real thing although adrenaline excitement and atmosphere at the real event would have aided but all of those were missing today. Time for coffee and an isotonic recovery drink. Oh and I’ve attached photos of proof of the Tiger and Hi-Vis Chicken!

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Etape Loch Ness

This Sunday would have been Etape Loch Ness (ELN) and for obvious reasons it’s not happening I think until September.

Anyway to mark ELN I am going to do a longer run. Possibly to take in what I think are the closest bits of “off highlighter” I can reach without getting a bus or train or driving.

As is the norm for these strange times, there is no route set, no start time or location!

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The sasquatch spotted.

It was a cold start to the day, so wrapped up to keep the cold out. Warmed up on Whitelea Road and I am making OK time. Bridge of Isla(m) lights let me through with no stopping. Pace is OK, the wind is a bit swirly so no advantages to be had. I stop on the approach to Meikleour to adjust my slightly dragging front brake. This afternoons job will be to set correctly.

This road is well trodden, I can’t say I know every corner and climb. But it is familiar – this is good and bad. Dunkeld arrives, then Birnam, everything is weirdly zombie apocalypse esq. Makes you wonder when we will be back to the new normal. Pressing on Waterloo comes into view – cue that ABBA song. Rounding the second to last bend before Bankfoot, I spy another cyclist. It’s Dave, we keep our distance and catch up on the goings on. Dave is sporting a more grizzly bear look, compared to my sasquatch – his words not mine.

We part company, and I am more focused on getting to 50miles today, so it up hill and down Dale through town and out towards Scone. On this journey so far I have passed no one and loads of the whippet brigade of skooshed past me… Don’t care. As I approach Thorngreen I am trying to work out where I need to go to get 50. The original plan was to come over Ballo. That’s not happening. So I opt for collace Quarry and then collace Church to get that extra distance. I looked on the strava flyby, to see Dave approaching Kinrossie as I start my collace climb.

Home stretch now, just watching the miles slowly tick up. I have to do the funny we loop at the top of Whitelea.

Home now, legs are heavy, butt is a little tender. Brakes are not the best but functioning.

Next week would have been Etape Loch Ness – what shall I do…

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Lost Mojo

OOO that was a hard week No get up and go to really cycle like I had the previous 3 weeks.

Partly down to having a chaffing issue from ill fitting shorts on the sweaty turbo but possibly also down to throwing myself into the lets cycle to beat the lockdown boredom and it kicked back.

There was also the midweek tech issue where my watch stopped part way and I didn’t record the second half of the ride where I did try and push on the Rhynd climb.

So all in all the get up and go took a battering.

Social distancing and solo cycling is all fair and well but it’s just not the same as being out with buddies cracking jokes talking about life the universe and distracting them so you can make a feeble attempt at the looming 30!

Zwift has made turbo sessions bearable if not enjoyable for the odd minute or 3 but it’s even more fun seeing where around the world the people are you cycle with. My favourite so far is the Yukon.

Using the Gravel bike on the roads also changes things. I’m not pushing times I’m going out for a cycle which resets the head and I just pedal but with the increased resistence from the tyres know I’m working harder at the same time. It was nice yesterday to trundle around and smell the slurry being spread on the fields!

So this week. Chaffing is about healed, New shorts on order so lets see what the week brings.

Keep active!

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