I feel like i have done this event now – my first year was 2014 and the weather was fine and last year was in the pouring rain and howling wind and yet I was finished in nearly the same time.
This year I trained more and went on more rides and with good weather forecast I was hoping to smash my time.
But it my girlfriends mums 60th and a big house was rented and fine food booze and food was consumed. To top this off I left late in the morning to drive up and was stuck in traffic going to event parking when i should have been at the start line getting ready to head off.
the course is a good one with 130km of riding around a pretty loch and then a wee ascent (about 1200m in all over the course)
6:30am and the elite and VIP’s head off. I should have started in Wave A with the faster boys but by the time I made the start wave C was heading off so for the first 20mile I was completely solo hoping to find a small group that was going faster and I could work with.
NO SUCH LUCK
Until a man caught up – he had punctured at mile 2 and had lost everyone so we worked together for a good hour. At one stage 4/5 people were tagged on behind but only we two were taking turns at the front so he drifted back and I heard him yell ‘I don’t mind you guys taking the wheel but take a f***** turn a the front’
That caused all but one to drop off and that person definitely took his turn from then on in.
Just before the climb I recognised my friend Carla who had started on time (8min in front of me) and we said hello and then the climb up Schiehallion started. I took this easy as I had been working pretty hard up to this point (in fact my slowest ascent of the 3 times)
The downhill was as lovely as ever …. and then into the back of a big group around Fortingall on the narrow singletrack road. The wind was unseasonal and Easterly so the last leg was into the wind but i was quite sheltered in a large group of 30 – never really making it up through the bunch to make a turn at the front.
The thing about groups like this is that my speed is so much higher than normal with the massive slipstream benefit and after all my solo rides this year the time (miles) passed quickly.
Average speed 33.6kmh (imperial says nearly 21mph) average.
so my best time but not the sub 3h50/3h45 i was hoping for.
At the end a medal and a text with my finish time according to the tag on the bike ….
Etape Royale next – 100miles ….