Where's nice to ride?
I had a few days of holiday to take from work so thought to myself 'what better time to have a bike ride in Scotland than in May...'
I had maps spread over my living room floor, route descriptions and blogs open and weather forecasts on constant refresh. It's amazing the number of rides that say 'river may be impassable after heavy rain'. So that ruled out half the country, then the snow forecast for Dalwhinnie made that neck of the woods seem a bit uninviting.
So, somehow or other, we ended up going on a day trip to England just to get some nice weather. And it was nice. Not sure the riding at Kielder is really worth the trip but it was lovely to get some sunshine, especially on a mid-week border raid!
Seeing that some friends of mine up in the Orkneys were still managing to get out despite ash clouds and strong winds, I decided that for Friday I'd just have to be a bit tougher and went to ride a bit of the Fife coastal path, from St Andrews to Leven. It was very beautiful but really tough. I couldn't believe when, emerging from the coast to the road at one point (due to the fact there just wasn't a path), I realised I was only 8 miles into the ride. In over 2hr. I think I chose the hardest part of the path and should probably have realised that the signs saying 'path incomplete in places' meant 'not suitable for bikes'. Even the rideable bits were suddenly festooned with giant oak trees, felled in the recent storms.
Not wanting to add to coastal erosion, I was trying to be really careful but there were definitely times I felt I was doing damage so eventually I moved back to the roads, for a struggle home against 30mph headwinds in the rain. Apparently my parents drove past me and commented on the 'poor cyclist'.
Eating a large slice of my mum's birthday cake did seem to help though.
I was just recovering from a very minor cold so I'm not sure whether this ride did me much good. Not sure it did any harm either but it's always hard to tell. Either way, I turned up to the scottish xc race at Comrie on Sunday, unsure of whether I was going to race (I'd already entered and was passing that way anyway coming back from St Andrews). A ride round the course settled it - there were just far too many short sharp uphills which left me coughing and my legs just didn't have it in them. Then the downs were so difficult and muddy as well and this time it was my head that just didn't have it... not exactly the fighting spirit you need for this kind of racing! And fighting my way round three laps in the rain just seemed like exactly the sort of thing to make me ill for months. So back home and early to bed to recover properly. I'm not very good at being ill!!