The results speak for themselves really…I fare much better when cycling with others who are pushing themselves and setting a good pace…..
It was a good cycle today in good weather …and in Strava terms I had 31 new personal bests for segments along the way …..get in!!
Click on the link above to go to my Strava page for all the ascent / descent / speed / power information if you wish……..
Rushed start meant I was cautious to begin with…..
I was a bit wary at first, as I’d had to run out the door this morning after running late (aka sleeping in!), As a result, I hadn’t taken in much in the way of breakfast and quickly crammed in two energy bars during registration but didn’t want to push in case I ran out of energy (or bonked). I’ve been there and done that and it is seriously to be avoided – so I was wary.
We started in overcast and cool conditions which was a great way to start as it meant I stayed relatively cool during the intitial bedding into a rythm after the bursts of energy typically required when cycling in and around traffic in the city.As we cycled out over the Forth Road Bridge (something I enjoy everytime!) the weather changed to blue skies and sunshine with a slight breeze. Fantastic.
I quickly got on the wheel of a wee chain of 4 to 5 people and was content to chuff along with them until Culross, where I deliberately chose to drop off the back to stop at a refreshments stop.
A few Gu’s , restock of water and several bananas certainly got my energy levels back up.
Can I just say the following:-
Bananas – they are a seriously good food of Kings, if not Gods (Cycling gods that is…).
That’s all I’ve got to say about that…..
It was at this stop that a few other people stopped and I met a chap called Gordon who cycled along with me when we left the food stop.
We ended up cycling along together and chatting about anything and everything. I enjoyed it immensely ……and Gordon seemed to be quite content to trundle along with me too.
So here’s a friendly shout out to Gordon Fraser of Fife with thanks for the chat and banter along the way….. He has since emaile dand described himself as “my deadweight” for the trip. Eh – hardly Gordon – you are too bashful.
The miles were put in with the minimum of fuss, I felt strong, the weather was good, we conquered that bloody hill in Boness and our time for the ride would have been good except for the fact I did the Good Samaritan thing and stopped to assist another cyclist in difficulty at the top. I hasten to add that this was the right thing to do and I would do it each and every time. Leave no man behind.
First Aid for bikes …in slooooooow motion.
It’s funny how you get used to swapping your own wheels on and off quickly with quick release hubs etc. The guy I stopped to help was French and after the usual translation adjustments I gleaned he was struggling to hold up his very heavily laden bike (extremely heavily laden bike – front pannier over flowing , rear pannier overflowing and a big rucksack too) and he couldn’t quite manage to pump up his rear tire. The bike kept trying to tip over and was threatening to either tip him over with it or engulf him with several panniers worth of stuff. I helped steady the bike and then offered him my CO2 pump, as he literally could not pump up his tyres to the pressure he needed to combat the dead weight he was carrying, especially with the antique he was carrying. A quick blast of the Co2 cylinder pump established that he had a large puncture and the wheel would need to come off. (CO2 pumps – bless them – how did we manage before – so, so, so easy now – one blast and you’re good to go. The guy who invented them really ought to be awarded a knighthood or something …no seriously ..I mean it.
Oh boy – 1st the panniers needed to be unloaded , next the bike was flipped over just so it would stay still, third the spanner set needed to be found within the overflowing panniers , fourth the wheelnuts needed to be loosened, fifth the wheel was difficult to get out, sixth there was more rummaging in the panniers to get the spare tubes, tyre levers etc etc. As I say, you forget how long all that stuff takes …with quick relaease and minimum or no baggage I’d have the bike wheel off in seconds and the whole tyre done in about 5mins tops. This protracted effort seemed to take foreeeeeveeeer and after about 10 mins and still only about halfway through stuffing the tyre tube into the tyre, I could sense that maybe , just maybe it might be a bit embarassing for the poor chap. Establishing that he no longer needed any more asistance (panniers were off by then), Gordon and I got on our way – All told about 15 minutes were lost but, as I say, Leave no man behind.
Accommodation?- in Edinburgh? – during the Festival? On yer bike laddy….
One thing I did glean from my Gaulish friend was that he was traveling to “Edinbourg”, that he did not have a hotel , hostel or B+B booked and that he hoped to find one free when he got there. I told him that as it was the Festival, the odds were not in his favour. I advised him to seek out Tourist Information at their office on the Waverley Shopping Centre and really, really hoped he might have some success there. I doubted it though – accommodation in Edinburgh is booked up months and months and months ahead of the Festival and, in addition, prices skyrocket.
My only point of comfort was I knew he had a tent – because he might well need it.
Medals were duly awarded
We managed the last 15 miles uneventfully, though I must admit Gordon slowed somewhat towards the end. To be fair, for someone who hadn’t tackled a Sportive of that distance before (66miles) he had managed extremely well.
If you’re reading this Gordon, you did good and you should be proud of yourself.
Heres the happy cyclists at the end with our medals…….