Alford, boy am I tired. I have been up since 4:30am. We park the bikes in Alford and admire the huge piles of carbon exotica. We registered and got our RFID tags. We are ready for the off.
The 100 milers go first in tiny waves of 10 or so bikes. Seeding has gone out the window as there appears to be loads still registering.. hey ho!
9:05 We are on the front row – strange really ‘cos neither of know where we are headed. The roll out the park is strange as its on what looks like an old conveyor belt.
On the road now, and we are ticking along (literally ticking along, my headset is needing some tlc and something is making a similar noise on the other bike) quite nicely. 5 miles in. We are in a wee chain of five, I didn’t know this until two of the back markers came to the front. Up ahead a pickup stands on the brakes, we all slow… well most of us slowed, number 532 rammed the back of my bike and she went down cursing like a fishwife. The boy at the front came back as we got 532 to her feet and refitted her front wheel etc etc… and she let go at him.
We are back on our way having now let half the field past. The roads are great, the hills not so much. I pull away from DB. After the first significant spike in the run, there is a refreshment stop. I stop, and wait. While waiting I cram a yumyum down my neck. The guy that ’caused’ the accident comes over to me as he thought 532 was with us. I put him right to her wheelsucking tendencies. That is probably a bit unfair, as I talked to her for a couple of miles – her concern for my bike was admirable.
Anyway DB and I set off again. DB asked if that was the big hill. I put him right. The big climb goes by the Tomintoul to Cockbridge road. Its a bit of a monster, a relentless monster. Still, there was enough scenery to keep me from crying.
The descent was a howler (20% at some bits), despite having to pedal part of it.
I stop in Ballater and talk to some supporters (DB’s sister and family). DB and I set off together and head the last 20 miles back towards Alford. The road is gently undulating until… Tarland. My rhythm is good and I pull away from DB. This hill goes on and on and on. I creep past loads of other cyclists. One with particularly good taste in cycling tops – yes it was the same as mine :-). The last few miles in to Alford are a spectacular 25 mph blast.
Crossing the line, I collect my medal and go in search of the refreshment tent… yes another yumyum gets inhaled.
DB arrives, collects his medal and inhales his own sugary confection.
We go to DBs sisters house to get changed and have yet more refreshments.
Home now, tired but happy!