A good week despite the weather

Last week the work commitments cleared even if the weather didn’t. Chose to run when the weather was at its worst but then parts of the late week looked peachy if cold.


Went out for a ride on the beautiful Mercian steel tourer. I have been reading articles about whether it was better to load some of the weight rando style into the front panniers which lowers the CoG (centre of Gravity) opposed to rear. Now the forks on the Mercian have a decent rake and it responds well to the front being loaded.

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For longer tours I would load all 4 but this was a test shake out with medium load for short tours.


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frost steel and cold hands


So off I went on cold 2C morning with frosty canal paths. The bike handled well and I relaxed into the ride – most of the time on the Lynskey road bike I have half my eye on the stats on the GPS and find myself getting uptight when the average speed drops below 27kph. Stopped at loch lomond for a pic of Ben lomond over the water covered in snow …This was far more sedate winding my way up to loch lomond then looping out to Helensburgh.

mercian lomond-6

This was far more sedate winding my way up to loch lomond then looping out to Helensburgh.

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Friday was a short 7.5km run but Saturday was mixed with a break in the weather forecast.


Munro Bagging and Ben Ledi was in my sights but even on the drive up to Callander it looked like I got the weather a bit wrong.

failed ben ledi-1

A bit too much snow on the hill for no crampons – and visibility was a bit short at the top – and there are too many cases of walkers going missing for me to be a knob about having to do it …. This weekend alone 2 of 3 elderly walkers caught out have died in hospital and a young couple on a valentines trip are feared dead and possibly buried by an avalanche in the Ben Nevis range. So a sedate 12km walk around the woods near the base was good enough for us – still got to blame my better half for the weather as every time she comes with me to climb the weather sets in …


Back to Glasgow and out for a ride on my other road bike (one neglected could get jealous)

Over the crow road my normal trip / training ride. Again pretty cold but the Rapha Pro Team jacket I bought has been absolutely fantastic this past winter. In fact, when the temp is above 8C, I think it may be too hot to wear.


They are expensive but so far it has been worth every penny. The only missing chink so far are my gloves – have a very wintry Sealskins MTB pair and then the next are more summer long fingered so getting cold hands if I don’t opt for Sealskins…..

Back to the ride – it was one of those rare perfect wintry days.


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snow on the Campsies


And the Crow road actually had snow and slush all over it once you cleared the car park on the bend. But still I mad a new friend at the top even if they weren’t very chatty.

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Was very peaceful at the top …

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So another ride in and gradually building up the miles – this work business definitely getting in the way of play.


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The crow ride as told in pretty colours



Out on the bike Saturday

after 4 weeks of little riding I got the time to get out on the bike.

Misty in the morning but on approach to the crow it was burning off …. 

Huff and puff sweating in the rapha team jacket …..

Peachy at the top then quick burn home and pick up kids for parties and training and events and friends etc bland etc.

Another day – training slows now for the 130km eTape Caledonia Sportive (not a race hahaha) on Sunday

Last little ride to try crash train into being ready for the eTape on Sunday.

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One thing I do like about Strava is the ability to analyse segments and see how fit you were compared to times in the past when you had better conditioning. You can see it on a segment here – I went up the Crow Road in 18m 30s the same time August 2 years ago but heart rate now (tired and less fit) was 145bpm compared to a very low 116bpm 18 months back ,,,,, eeeek

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Maybe i just need those extra 3 months of summer rides to get back to speed …..

Today we skived

So went out for a ride today with a school dad who is currently enjoying some nice ‘me’ time between jobs. Went out with him last week and did so again today.

the route
the route

Weather was also good which as we know in Scotland is sometime a rare thing …..

Stopped for a wee snack half way around.

my office for the day
my office for the day


A good ride made better

There is something to be said for riding and more importantly riding with pals.

the route strava - click to go there
the route strava – click to go there

Up the crow – normal ride on Sunday and joined by ‘new to the road bike lark’ pal. He said up to 60km was fine so this was going to be just under that – up the Crow Road and the Campsies and then straight back down.

Got out of bed – weather report had said sun – made a wish pulled back curtains to drizzle. so running tights over the cycling 3/4 and a waterproof top were donned. Met at his house at 9am then off we went chatting and cycling. Kept the speed low around 22-24kmh on the flat and then headed north. The etiquette on the crow is ‘go for it’ so went up a bit harder then doubled back at the top to come down and join him on his climb. brief stop ….

nick at the top in the mist
nick at the top in the mist


in my fetching new Campag top (style police say German colour / italian top / american bike / Japanese group set / mild confusion)

photo 2


lot of gunk and grit on the road and the bike needed a wash on its return to the flat …. quick bucket downstairs then back inside ….


photo 3


I do like a sneaky ride in the week

Nothing like getting out for a sneaky ride. Girls to school 9am on the bike and departed by 10am back by 2pm girls form school at 3pm.


it was a bit of a lst minute arrangement and just goes to show in this modern life how many people can sneak off during the day. I am still  far from fitness of last september but legs getting better all the time.

Got dropped up the crow by allen but clawed back to 2nd man up after half way … celebrated with much needed pee at top (unnecessary carry of 500g at least) and then the food of kings (kongs)



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Back to milngavie and saw allen and tried my CARL SAGAN wheelie past the camera look but …. FAIL … dropped too soon. Campsies and crow in the background


Road ride

ride with gps screen
ride with gps screen

Doesn’t look like it was 3 degrees C in this photo – that’s the problem with having no snow.

Running tights over my shorts – kept me warmer.
New hope hub / mavic open pros wheels had their first run of 60km

Sunday’s ride and we skipped the rain

On Sunday morning metup with Paul to go on a bike ride. He is a new member of the Meetup Group. It was an amazing day and great to be out on the roads and pedalling towards the hills. the weather was surprisingly good considering the forecast predicted torrential rain. It stayed dry for the 3 hours that we were out. Paul is a reborn cyclist only going back to the bike after a 15 year lay off. He drives a bus and is a smoker so even his 3 mile commutes on the bike to work were difficult. Coming out for a 60+km ride shows great determination I think.

I had listed the ride as a hard ride hoping to average 27-29kmh including the hills – but as there were only 2 of us and paul wasnt used to hugging the back wheel so it was slow. Anytime the road headed up he dropped back. I was freewheeling anytime the road was flat allowing him to catch up and stay with me. Even putting in two fast hill climbs then heading back down to rejoin him on the climb my average HR was only 116.

Still a good ride – I got to look around more than normal and chatted a lot more to encourage Paul.
At the end coming back into town we bombed down a descent. I pulled over to wait and Paul obviously knew a shortcut home so he had turned off without saying goodbye …. I thought there might be a problem so I reclimbed the hill to the top where we started from – pulled over and left a message on his phone then headed back down again. Maybe there is a lesson in ride etiquette there to learn as well.

Came home showered then went off to my father in laws to help rebuild a stone lintel wall ….. 1,2,3 …… LIFFFTTTTTTT

Did you have a good weekend?

riding in the wet

According to the keepers of the cog …. http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/

Rule #5// Harden The Fuck Up

Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
Fair-weather riding is a luxury reserved for Sunday afternoons and wide boulevards. Those who ride in foul weather – be it cold, wet, or inordinately hot – are members of a special club of riders who, on the morning of a big ride, pull back the curtain to check the weather and, upon seeing rain falling from the skies, allow a wry smile to spread across their face. This is a rider who loves the work.


Today applied – it has been housing down and it was a bit like this picture … in fact just checked stats and 9.8mm of rain fell today ….

rain spray – still cycling

but without the friends the sun and the visibility …

think I was under that red dot

So set off for the campsies and had the fortune of turning right as a monsoonic (I lay claim to this adjective) thunderstorm opened up. Wind was up in these heavier than normal showers so a bit of a balance sometimes staying upright … hit the crow road and had intended to do the crow road and tai-ma-doon of the other day but judging by the water in the river I knew the fjord at Tak would be thigh deep and my bike didn’t need a wash that bad.

route click on this for link to ride on STRAVA

Wasn’t pushing very hard – up the crow was studying the other side of the road for my descent – don’t want to twat myself so close to the austrian holiday …

Heart Rate was steady and never really went very high even on the ascent when i could have pushed a bit harder. Barely glanced at the Polar as I could hardly see my hand on the bar by the time I got to the hill.

Descent was a spray fest so kept it smooth and easy although I think I must have hit the 65kmh max at some smooth point on that descent.

Still a great day out though – came back to the house and stripped at the back door as I was dripping everywhere – I think my rain cape had kept me dry for all of the first 7minutes of the ride …. but what it did do was keep me from getting too cold in the wind so was glad I had it on.

Only crap part of the ride was the arseholes in cars that went past inches away – I had purposely kept my rear light on blink to give a bit of warning but the drivers in Scotland were obviously mourning the lack of summer and were intent on a bit of murder …. as i say arseholes …

Did you HTFU (see rule 5) at any point this week?

Today was a good day

This morning got the kitchen pass and headed out to join 5 other riders that are on meetup.com I think it’s a great website to meet people with the same interests.

Met at the botanics in the west end of Glasgow and headed out to the Campsies where we climbed over the Crow road and around to Carron Valley then back over the Tak ma Doon pass before heading back to glasgow.

Crow road over the Campsies – you can see the road in this picture – a nice smallish cat 3 climb
elevation profile not too big not too small

Here is the route on Strava 

one aspect of Strava that i really like is the ability to compete against yourself or others … I cycled to the meet up on one of the canals and this was the result …. KOM on one section …. excellent

If you are on STRAVA then come and say hi to me …. HERE I AM

Weekend of ride

What a strange weekend. It was supposed to be a non cycling weekend as we were heading up to see friends in Perthshire. I was due to go for a 3hr ridge walk with my pal followed by a drive to the coast and a lazy day at the beach Sunday.
Then quite near the house the car breaks down – fuel issues with our auto everything German blitzer. So Jolene and the girls get picked up by our pals following then I head back to glasgow with the breakdown service. But I am missing the dinner party with friends. Quick check on ridewithgps and I plot a route and think 100km – that must be 4hrs….


Should remember
1. Check elevation profile – it isn’t flat
2. My previous longest ride was 90km
3. It was already 4pm
4. I packed no lights save on rear blinky (as it is summer)
5. I am carrying camelbak with change of clothes … Heavier

First tester is the crow road – this is a bit of a fabled climbers road – it is only a class 3 climb according the cyclist guide but long enough as a starter hill. Started the hill with a chap called Alwyn – had a good chat on the way over – although at 12% climb the chat lessened and the breathing deepened.

At this stage happy – then I realised I was on wrong road

Then dropped into fintry and I knew I had to take a right – did this and cycled for half an hour before I saw a sign and though ‘sh*t carton valley is not on the route’

the extra bit ….oops

So 25+km that went nowhere. Got back to fintry and got on right road up to Callander – this was the best part with really smooth Tarmac. Got caught up by a cyclist on a Dolan bike who rolled with me a while – he was an ex pro who used to race in europe. He was slightly older but you could see his physique was toned still and watching his pedalling and the way he negotiated tight corners over very rough tarmac made me realise that this was someone who had countless thousands of miles under his arse ….
Had to say a quick goodbye when I realised I hadn’t really had lunch so stopped for a mars bar and roll of wine gums at a garage that was just about to close and he carried on his speedy way.

As I rolled into Callander I realised I wasn’t sure of the route and my phone was dead. Saw a sign for the youth hostel and a bike hire sign and thought that I would a quick spot check. Walked in the door to a cheer as I realised this 35+ hen party of drunken girls wasn’t really where I wanted to be. Eventually I borrowed a road map – worked out the route and headed off on the right road with light fading. Loch lubnaig was bwautiful lots of people camping along the loch buy ha to cycle with mouth closed as loads of midgies ready to swarm into my mouth – was thankful for my glasses as one of the nippers could have easily eaten through my eyeball.
The last stretch alongside loch earn was 13 miles into the wind and after 100+ km was not the thing I wanted to be doing.

What speed at what grade – Good old ridewithgps.com

Pulled into Comrie at 9:30pm to my friend and wife on the bridge waiting for me. Apologies for being late and missing the dinner were all I could muster before hitting the showers…. And then warm ish lasagne for dinner and after burning 3800calories I thought a second slice wouldn’t be too naughty. A few glances of wine and midnight was there – I did sleep well.
sunday was more pathetic on the cycling front – went with all the kids to hunt toad tadpoles and then tried to teach the other adults how to skim stones across the river.

Road to Dunblane flattish and almost no cars …

The only riding i did was my ride 30km down to Dunblane to catch a train back to glasgow. This morning I feel fine – it doesn’t feel like I had 6 hours in the saddle.

How was your weekend?