my 3rd etape Caledonia


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.

Screenshot 2016-05-10 20.03.11

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.

Screenshot 2016-05-10 21.46.13

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.

Screenshot 2016-05-10 19.56.37

Average speed 33.6kmh (imperial says nearly 21mph) average.

Screenshot 2016-05-10 21.52.12

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 ….FcertA4.tmpl-347-YRNJ

Etape Royale next – 100miles ….

 

the eTape Caledonia 2015


What a day – the forecast was grim but the weather was grimmer. Registered the day before Saturday and it was pretty niceetape 2015 -2 Went to friends 40min away to stay the night, had a nice meal a glass or two of red and then bed by 10:30am. Alarm at 4:40am shower quick bite then drive back to Pitlochry and the start. etape 2015 -5 a train of cars arriving with bikes to park and this was at 5:45am – the last starts were at 8am. On the bike £2 in my hand to buy a quick coffee. Bumped into 2 friends as my wave was called – they were also starting but are so quick I knew i wouldn’t see them again – and I didn’t until after the finish. Boom off went – the weather was grim and I think that after 10 miles my hands and feet were frozen – and least I wouldn’t feel their complaints of ache although it made trying to drink water or eat quite difficult. Screenshot 2015-05-11 10.14.33 I worked in with a large group and it all went well – the KOM climb split the group and I found myself at the top of the mountain cycling into a 20knot head wind and rain by myself unable to catch the faster group in front.

b1a73d4f-73de-4fab-abaa-33498307e31d-2060x1371
a photo of some grimness

Eventually 6 of us got together and worked until we caught back up at the bottom of the climb. (the sticky out bit bottom left on map) then the turn home. 2 abreast down single track roads and everyone cautious in the wet and rain. I had to stow the glasses as I couldn’t see through them which meant that my face was showered by rain spray and grit from the road. Road widen and group relaxes and Bammm the crunch of carbon as 5 or 6 riders fall. I get hemmed in behind – everyone alright apart form bruised egos … but the group is gone and again there are 8 of us playing catch up although the others are bust so just 3 of us taking turns to drag. Get to the last wee hill and kick and look at my time 3h45min – I could break 4 hours I reckon. So pedal harder and realise my right shifter has actually worked loose but my hands have been so cold I hadn’t realised it … this last section has a lot of wee rises so working the gears more with loose shifter …. last corner and finish line in sight. Over the line celebrate ease forward and realise my gps still running 4H01 but did I take it. Get back to car and official eTap text arrives congrats 2015-05-11 10.30.32 Hooray only 1min 40sec slower than last year and that was in good weather. etape 2015 -7the Bike as ever was flawless

A pile of bling
A pile of bling