A weekend of Sportives…

Etape Loch Ness or Monsters V’s Cyclists…

The day had a chilly start in Inverness, rolling to join the back of the start crowd. There was minor argie bargie at the start – there always is. Some guy called Simon trying to get past to get to his correct wave… lol. I started well enough, bleep! The lead out to the loch is a bit like Whitelea Road only much longer, so it strings the peloton out, but not as much as you would think. There was a bit of drizzle near the end of this rather dull drag. I thought oh oh here we go – this is going to be the wet run I had just not wanted. Thankfully, this was the only damp patch on the run. I am With Dave and Craig. The road to Drum’ was rolling, and the pace quite high – somewhere here I lost Dave. There is a depressing bit as you approach Drum’ where you can see the exit climb and all the wee dots wobbling up the hill in their uber bright cycling gear.  The climb from Drum’ was just not as bad as I had feared ( I lost Craig) and the lumpy bit from there to the Fort’ again not so bad. On one of the flatter sections, I got drafted by a guy in a red jacket. This went on for a few miles. Now you know how much I hate it when people don’t take their turn on the front. So, I started to weave road edge to road edge. Still the limpet stayed, ah well nothing for it but to put the hammer down (on a down hill section of course) – never saw him again.

The climb out of the Fort’ began. Bleep. It goes on and on and on for about 4.9 miles there are two flat/downhill sections on the hill and lots false summits.  At the base of the last kick up, there was a very effervescent marshal, dressed in green, dancing and encouraging everybody – great effort! The higher I got on the climb the air temp was dropping – inside my jacket however the steam release valves were blowing as hard as me. There were a couple of guys behind me on the climb who I heard say “ah well here come the whippets” I laughed out loud . Cresting the hill, bleep,  with the piper on the top I pressed on down, a descent as far as the eye could see, then down the twisty bit in to Foyers. I was thinking only two significant hills to go. At the top of the first one a guy from Inverness CC said “just one to go, and is a short one 100m or so” (Dave Stewart – notable because he had had 2 punctures on the big climb). Cresting the second hill, the last for the day, there was an ambulance sitting and a cyclist lying on the verge wrapped in bacofoil – I hope they were ok. It was somewhere around Dores there was an enthusiastic supporter jangling a cow bell. This just made the hair on the back of my neck tingle.

The final run in to Inverness was fast. Just as I got to the round-a-bout, for some industrial estate, the marshal shouted “GAP!” right in my right ear – how rude I thought. Then it clicked there was nobody behind me and the traffic were going to be let across the round-a-bout. I caught the guy in front going round the round-a-bout (I had the racing line) and pressed on, I caught a few more in that last bit to the finish. Clearly doing bigger runs had paid off. The run to the finish was on cobbles… Roubaix Roubaix Roubaix… ah ah ah ah ah ah… Bleep. Run complete, medal on, goody bag received and call made to the support crew of one. My support driver said “if you get the finger out you could get breakfast back at the hotel and have your shower before we have to check out”. I had my shower.

Looking back to the run, I don’t think I have ever seen so many punctures or cyclists having a wiz at the side of the road. I wish I had noted the number of the guy in tweed waist coat, plus4s and had a brooks handlebar bag… pure class. The lowest number I passed was 77… what were they thinking! Another low number I passed, had proportions that made me look like a whippet 🙂


About spokeclinic

The FB cyclist
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4 Responses to A weekend of Sportives…

  1. David says:

    What more can i add.
    It was amazing the number of people who wheeled their bikes out of their hotel room not having risked leaving them in their cars.
    Inverness “high street” was a bit slippy at 6 am not sure how much of that was dew, rain or the previous nights beer etc. As Andrew says got to the start area and as if by magic Simon and his cycling buddie (Paul?) appeared and then so did Craig (from the garage). I see that Andrew forgot to mention in his write up that we sneaked into a start wave a couple ahead of what we should. Anything to gain a temporary advantage over Simon 🙂 But it wasn’t long before he passed us. By the 10 mile mark my elastic towrope to Andrew had gone ping after the first incline of the day. After Drum’ i got in a large group which rolled along nicely to Invermoriston and provided some nice shelter. I couldn’t get my Banana out (no comments) or a snack so pulled into the first water stop for a quick refuel before the Fort Climb. Met Craig (from the garage) there. Plenty of folk out cheering even the local Fire brigade where out cheering everyone one. Before we even got near Fort A’ a cyclist pulled along side me to ask if this was the start of the KOM. I smiled and just told him it was no, it was around the corner. Well a corner 3 miles away 🙂
    Then I heard the Beep and the road went up and up. I was determined not to walk and so cycled as much as i could. stopped to let my heart rate subside clipped in and set off again. I did this 2 or 3 times then had to admit defeat and that walking a bit was going to be quicker 😦 It was during this walk that all the people i had passed on my way to Fort A then started to stream past me 😦 Some of my fellow walker were showing numbers in the low hundreds range! They must be needing access for a Wind farm up by Loch Tarrf as the road surface there was bowling green new and fresh tarmac. There could be no other reason. The rest of the climb after the first mile or so was okay and i stayed cycling all the way to the top. The lone Macmillan Supporter in the middle of nowhere was very enthusiastic cheering everyone on regardless if you were wearing a Macmillan top or not. I did pass the Man in Tweed on my way up the hill. his tweed waist coat was off to reveal a sweat soaked woolen cycling shirt. The piper was silent as I was approaching but sprung to life to pipe me across the timing mat at the summit. Then it was the chilly descent.
    On some of the twisty bits to foyers there was an almighty thud some distance behind me and a rider had over cooked it on one of the bends and hit the deck. I heard my phone bleep about about 10.10 as i was about 47 miles in and my first thought was “i hope that’s not Andrew texting me to say he’d finshed!” It was just my nephew with a delayed good luck text! It was also about now that my lower back started to seize up. I was having to do all sorts of contortions on the bike to try and stretch it. I was trying to avoid stopping early and to keep going to the final water stop but my back had other ideas so off the bike and some stretching was needed. Turns out i was only 1 mile for the water stop! sods law!! water bottle topped off and away for the final stretch. On the climb out of Dores a Marshall was heard cheering us on saying we were all looking good. i shouts out “Liar” and all i heard was laughter from behind. It was uplifting getting into the Inverness Burbs and even more so when i could look across and see Bught Park from where we started. Then through the lights and onto the cobbles where straw bails had been strategically placed to cushion anyone sliding off. Then it was across the finish line and get my medal and goodie bag. Just at that point the back wheel of the bike next to me went bang with a perfectly timed puncture. The smell of the Hog roast was tempting but it was a case of back to the hotel to load the car. No chance of a shower as my support team was already on the train back home! I had a quick visit to the toilets in Tescos to change (no phone boxes available) then off back south through the wild weather. How we managed to avoid all the sleat and snow whilst cycling i do not know. The Heated seats were cranked right up to help my aching back. Oh well chuffed and stekkie sore today. Think this will be a week of stretching and saving up for a proper bike fit and getting fitter in general. Ah but that wont happen before this Saturdays Tayside Challenge.

  2. Simon Evans says:

    What a weekend ! An early night to prepare, ruined by a leaking roof in one of the houses I look after, which meant I was sorting that out for a good hour or so. Off for a not so gentle leg warmer at Kinross, covering some of the roads we’d done on a Sunday run, the long hill out of or is it into Glenfarg ? sticks in the memory. I did try and stay on Bill’s wheel when he came flying past, which I did for all of half a mile until I got pinged out the back of the fast moving train he was leading. I assume a good time Bill ? I had a very painful, but brilliant sports massage at the end, in readiness for Nessie, before heading up north. Even though I sort of know Invernees, missed the entrance to Eden court, got snarled up in all the football traffic and spent ages getting know where !!. Finally made it to registration just after six. Half hour back to Carrbridge, fuelled up on some pasta, and before you knew it, back again ready for the off. Didn’t think there would be any chance amounst the 2555 of seeing Andrew and Dave, when lo and behold, there they were. The other Simon says that he will definitely try and come one Sunday soon, to hopefully give Bill a run for his money !! Lost A and D before the off, and knowing they were in a wave after us thought that we wouldn’t see them again, so somewhat suprising to then pass them after a few miles. I acted as a domestique for the other Simon, and took the lead for most of the 15 miles we stayed together before he buggered off and left me. I hadn’t really taken on board how long the hill out of Foprt A was, but it was a painful 5 miles, which just seemed to go on and on and on. Great descent though, and managed to latch on to a pretty quick train for the rest of the run back. Had a squeaky bum slide on the Roubais cobbles at the finish, which was a wee bit hairy. Did see one poor chap who had obviously hit one of the bollards in the road on the way back from Dores, lying and not moving on the road, and not looking too good, so hopefully not too bad. With medal and goodie bag safely in the car, off back to Carrbridge for a lovely hot bath, before lunch at Loch Morlich, and then finally home. Next year ?, who knows, but maybe !! Onwards and upwards……

  3. David says:

    Just rememberd. The lowest number i went past was 13 but it was stuck on upside down! No he was not in a ditch at the time 🙂

  4. Alan says:

    Well done to you all, you were very lucky with the weather looking at the snow showers round about
    I spent the weekend in Dalbeatie, Michael racing Sunday with practice on Saturday.
    He got 10 in his class, which is now in the under 16 years of age.
    I got 3rd, podium again, although I did have to be pulled out of a silver birch after been catapulted over the bar, this was only Saturdays practice! nothing broken just the loss of some skin and a few bruises. Don’t know why I do it but it does give you a buzz, I should stick to road cycling but even then I can end up in trees.
    Went from there to watch the real downhill at Ae, now these boys are mad, although I would give it a go, Michael would love to, and Ashley Morgan and Alana could hardly watch.
    Well done again, and we will catch up soon.

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