Cycling - the best bit of triathlon

Since A Day in the Lakes I've been loving my cycling. Not least because finally, after years of sort of trying to learn, I learnt to lift my front and back wheels, without spds. I think the difference was that this time I was really determined to learn and I practiced every day on the way to and from work and on every little ride. And magically, I'm now flying up kerbs. I know most mountain bikers have been able to do that forever but for me it's quite exciting!! And I passed my cycling coach award, which is also pretty cool.

Last weekend I had a very chilled out day riding the trails at Laggan. I really love it there though doubt I'll ever want to ride down the crazy slab. I get vertigo just looking down it. Neil did it though, I'm so jealous that he learnt to bike when he was wee and still believed he was invincible!! We camped in a little carpark nearby and as we were pitching our tent we noticed lots of tent pegs lying around. I recognise the signs of an early morning midgie assault.

Sure enough, the next morning had a quick departure (chuck everything in car then drive really fast with the windows down). Neil went climbing with a couple of friends and I set off on a solo 'wild country' biking adventure. I followed the sustrans route south from Dalwhinnie for a while then crossed the A9 to get to the real riding up the Gaick Pass. At my first stop to check the map, I met Bob, another mountain biker, who was planning to ride the same route. Funny that we never saw another soul for hours but we bumped into each other right at the start. We had a great chat and it was good to have the company. He also knew a more interesting route across the hills from Kingussie to Dalwhinnie, saving me more riding on the sustrans. Given the way I was feeling about my saddle at that point however, a bit of sustrans might have been welcome rather than the rocky, bumpy miles at the end. I will be swapping that saddle before trans Wales!
I finished my ride a good bit before Neil was back. The wooden boards across the pub windows put paid to plan A so I had several hours on a bench outside the public toilets to contemplate the similarities between one-horse Dalwhinnie and other 'cities' of the world.

I've been out for both mid-week riding and mid-week running this past week but was really saving myself for an action packed weekend. Saturday was 107 miles of the most stunning scenery round Glen Lyon, Ben Lawers and Glen Quaich. The Glen Quaich hill might actually be the steepest thing I've ever gone up in my life. Evening getting over the cattle grid towards the end of the climb was an emotional and slippery experience- resulting in trauma for some. And going down the other side in the wet. I think my imagination was getting the better of me at those super-steep hairpins. At least I had my sandwich in my back pocket! The lovely people at the cafe had wrapped it up for me so I wouldn't have to be seeing it again up Glen Quaich.

Then it was back to Perth again on Sunday (no idea why, given the weather we'd experienced on Saturday). We lucked out and had a stunning mountain bike ride north of Dunkeld to Loch Ordie. So beautiful. And a warm, unfamiliar sunny feeling too...
A quick change and we set out on a run from the Hermitage, past rumbling bridge, down Glen Garr towards Bankfoot. I decided early on that my tired legs shouldn't keep alpine running Kirsty and Elspeth back from their CCC training so bailed early. Just as the sky turned on us. On my way back, I was thinking it was the wettest run I'd ever, ever experienced. I got back to the car and got changed, thinking I'd wait til the rain eased a bit before venturing out (to walk 20m) for a coffee. And I waited and I waited and I waited. Eventually I got some soup and some hot chocolate. Then back to the car, wondering whether Elspeth and Kirsty had drowned. They'd only expected it to be 2.5hr but it was more like 3.5hr. Caring friend that I am, I was asleep by the time they got back, knackered after such a prolonged soaking. Extra hardcore points to them for such an epic mission.

I've got tomorrow afternoon off work. Please can it just be dry? I've run out of newspapers for stuffing shoes!


Popular Posts