How was your weekend?

Me, well i ventured into new “Off Highlighter” territory with the 30 mile (wee) Cairn O Mount Challenge.

There was only one small stretch near Tannadice that i had previously been down. The day was perfect for the cycle. Talking to those around me at the start some where on their first ever event some where using as a warm up for a triathlon and others were out for something new. Off we went and very quickly 2 bullets sped off then 2 more, I thought there was to be a further bullet but all she was doing was getting ahead of her pals to take their photos. Villages names were familiar only from A90 sign posts. Up we went past the Christmas tree plantation and off into deepest Angus. The first half passed and nobody else was passing me (so far). No stopping at the feed station, i was saving my stop for later (3 un planned). Then the road went up. Then climbs up though some bends and we were then by a very pleasant looking small loch. Then the road kicked up further and i got passed. It was at this point that i had my un-planned stop part way up the climb. Once the breathing had calmed it was off again over the hill. Rounding a corner a yapping Jack Russell comes bounding from the house but thankfully keeps it’s yapping to his own side of the fence. Oh joy the road goes up again and the previous passer is at the side of the road completing his puncture repair. Thankfully I didn’t snigger as 2 seconds I changed down and the chain comes off. Off again and all going smoothly and change down again and off the chain comes! Things come in 3’s don’t they! Got passed again by puncture man and another flyer. For those of you who know me and my sneezing fits can relate to this next bit, but as I went past a field where the cows were lined up by the fence I took a sneezing fit! Boy did that scatter the cows to the other side of the field!

On to the finish and a cuppa and a chat with Mr Puncture and the other flyer. The real early flyers were already in their cars and pulling out of the car park. Remember the earlier yapping Jack Russell, we the other cyclist i has chatted to at the start were now coming in and each group all had stories of the same dog but by now he was out of the garden and onto the road chasing and one of them ended up in the verge as she tried to get away and another had her foot unclipped ready to kick it.

I’d originally signed with Lesley as she fancied a challenge, boy was I glad by the end that she had pulled out. With the climbs I think i would probably have been dead and divorced by the end 🙂

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3 Responses to How was your weekend?

  1. spokeclinic says:

    17 pedalists went for a cycle… It started with just 3 going from the Ex T&P and cycling to Dunkeld taking the scenic and the sometimes muddy alternative out of Murthly. then under the road at Birnam. The intrepid three climbed out of Dunkeld and up to the wee car park on the Atholl Estates.
    Joined here by an enthusiastic bunch of riders, we set off a little later than planned. the first bit out of the car park is way steeper than I had remembered, I thought (briefly) about the whimpering ones who did not want to be there. we re-grouped at the first gate (its new). Most had smiley faces on. Only one looking for the hangover cure. We set off, to the next stop which would be Mill Dam.
    Mill Dam achieved and there was much talk of beavers, wood, gnawing and lodges. Onward to the next deer gate – actually a guinea fowl gate – weird or what! The climbing went on and at the next stop, our cure seeking member curled up on the verge – they were sick of the cider banter. We watched some abseilers doing what they do.
    At our final destination on the banks of Ordie we scoffed our sandwiches, Rocky Road (how appropriate) and healthy fruit. The cairn on the shore of Loch Ordie it is said “was erected to mark the spot where Queen Victoria sat to admire the view. Refreshed and nourished, 10 went a wee bit daft and cycled round the loch. The descent to the car park was on. The 6 we left behind set off early – would we catch them?
    We got stopped on our track about 2 miles in with the one and only puncture. This repair done, we set off again this time stopping to point out the beaver lodges and the neatly nibbled trees.
    Back at the car now the decision was made to go for ice cream near Murthly – perfect end to a brilliant day.

  2. Simon Evans says:

    How was my weekend ? Absolutely brilliant, though somewhat knackering !!
    Saturday……..Up at half 4 to get to Glencoe. Parked up with hundreds of mountain bikers, there for the Scottish downhill championship. Just 200 mad enough to do the inaugural Tour of the Highlands. Off in groups of 20 every 2 minutes, cool and cloudy. Si Winton so keen to go that I hadn’t even got my gloves on and my helmet stayed unstrapped for the first 20 miles !! Small pelethon all the way through to Tyndrum and Crianlarich until the first feed stop at Killin. Thankfully quieter roads from here on. The second half of the day was where it got interesting !! First up Ben Lawers, then the Etape Caledonia in reverse, up Schehallion, then up Trinafour before the small matter of up to Errochty dam. The decents were just about worth the effort of getting up them ! Along the old A9 to House of Bruar, and onward to Pitlochry, with the little sting in the tail of up the steep ramp just by Escape Route to the high school, 101 miles in 6 hours 33 minutes, with 1860 meters of climbs.
    Sunday……Az Winton dropped Si and I off at the top of the Moulin at 8, Freewheeled down to the start to come straight back up. Three pistes today, so over Cairnwell at Glenshee, The Lecht (after 60 miles the steepest bit is not much fun at all ) to finish at Cairngorm ski centre. 102 miles in 6 hours 57 mins and 2608 metres of climbs. We arrived just as it was beginning to spit with rain, and then the heavens opened. 250 riders stopped at Nethy Bridge due to flooded roads, chaos !
    Monday…..Off from Aviemore at the very civilized hour of nearly 10. Again today, groups of 20 every 2 minutes, but pretty soon there was about 50 of us zooming along at 20-25 miles an hour, as the roads to Laggan are relatively flat ! We were all stopped there and read the riot act about being too big a group, as there had been one or two hairy moments with passing cars. Made use of the feed stop, which were all really really good, and then set off again, and had a great group of six of us pinging along to Roy Bridge, with not a cloud in the sky. There was one potential disaster when just as a group of twenty plus caught us up, a lorry tried to overtake everyone, and ended up stopping on the wrong side of the road facing the oncoming traffic !! Oh yes, and I gently went into the back of a transit van at the same time, luckily with no damage ! Up to the commando statue at Spean Bridge, and then the back road along loch Eil to the Corran ferry. Just the final last 21 miles, seemingly all uphill, before getting back to Glencoe. 114 miles in 6 hours 27 mins and 1937 meters of climbs.
    A total of 317 miles, lots of climbing and 14,669 calories used !! The box of chocolate Brazil nuts I had been saving and a cool lager at the end certainly tasted sweet !!
    Would I do it again ?? Yes and No. Yes, because it was a great event and will become, I’m sure, an iconic “must do” event. No, because there is no way that the weather would be as good, and the views were absolutely breathtaking.
    What’s happening this Sunday, as hopefully by then my bum wont be quite as tender and my legs will be working again !!

    • David says:

      Well done. You can say you went down in history doing the inaugural TOTH. Weather looking ok for this weekend. Now to decide where to.

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