Ochil Hills Sportive 2019

The promise was of 70% of the route being on new “off highlighter” to me new roads and a few others being ridden in the opposite direction to before.

The day got off to a slower than anticipated start. Simons navigator took him the wrong way to a closed entrance to Lochore Meadow and then just on the start line I discovered my bars had got knocked and the brake hoods were pointing to the ground!!! Simon heard the start line briefing 3 times while I frantically found allen keys and got the bars adjusted. But as it turned out later not properly.

Anyway, off we went in the sunshine heading first for Auchmuirbridge. On the way Simon started shouting to a woman we were about to pass. Turns out it was a friend (thankfully) on the same event and whose husband had scooted up the road leaving her. Then at Auchmuirbridge junction Simon diced with the oncoming cars to make the turn and survived and then caught up with the aforementioned husband.

Talking of cars, there were a number throughout the day that as they passed us either gave unhappy blasts of their horns of the passenger was shouting out of their window! Many unaware of the Highway Code, let alone the current publicity around giving cyclists 1.5 metre of clearance as you pass. The start line briefing even reminded us to obey the highway code and not cycle more than 2 abreats!! Ahead of the event i saw a Facebook group called Fife Jammers where there was a post about the event and many many grumpy posts about cyclists staying off the roads. One even commented on the fact that Fife Cycle park had been built so cyclist should stay in there. Is that the same as saying cars should stay in the Cowdenbeath racewall or at Knockhill!!!

The climb up into Leslie was Nippy and we passed 3 wheelchair cyclists. Much Respect to them. The junction signage in Leslie wasn’t the best and relied on a Motorcyclist directing us down a lane with no warning signs in advance of the turn coming up.

This is where we find that there is a Ballo reservoir near Leslie but there is a nasty climb to get up to it. It must be something about the Ballo name! Down into Falkland and my bars are not right and I have no confidence on getting proper grip of the brakes and go down more gingerly than Simon. So much so he wonders if I’ve had an Incident. (more about incidents shortly) Emergency repair time in Falkland and bars are rotated to a proper position and all 4 stem bolts properly tightened! Now I’m in a much more confident and in the usual riding position.

Dodging the Outlander tourists, the route goes to Strathmiglo where Simon gives route guidance to two other cyclists but they are not on our event and ignore him. The path to Glenlommod Village climbs more that I realised from coming along in the other direction.

Now the Incident. Stopping for an energy bite my garmin and phone begin to chirp saying an Incident was detected and my emergency contact was being notified. I only fully realise this later as I wasn’t wearing reading glasses so just hit buttons until the noise stopped and then carried on cycling to the Kinross Feed station where I get a call from my frantic wife wondering what was up as she had got an mail saying I was in an incident and she should call me or alert emergency services and gave my GPS location! I assured her I was ok and carried on sampling the cakes.

Cleish! Yup it went up. Nasty steep start but then once you got going it was fine. But what stunning views there were as you went up. It was also on this climb that the event photographer had set up so there could be some interesting shots!!!

As Is tradition 30’s were contested. I think I gifted them all to Simon 😊

Barrelling down in to Kelty a kind hearted pedestrian hit the button on a crossing causing Simon to stop and letting me catch up. She got some light hearted abuse from Simon 😊

The return along past vane farm saw me holding on to Simons wheel and him pacing me. I must admit I had to dig in, but it was still a cracking pace then it was on the rolling lumpy finish dodging the traffic calming past Balingry and Lochore to the finish!

Cracking day cracking roads and Even better company. Thanks Simon.

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