A weekend of Hell and Heaven. Part 1 (long)

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by David Martin, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    The lab was going on retreat for the weekend to a nice hotel not so
    very far away. With a not too early start on the
    Friday, and all Sunday afternoon to get home, I thought it would be the
    opportunity to get a bit of a ride in. At a shade over 40 miles it
    shouldn't take too long either..

    I had persuaded a fellow cyclist from my group to come with me so on a
    blustery morning at dawn we set off. With just over 3 hours to go, it
    looked a dead cert for arrival in time for a coffee and a shower
    before the meeting began.
    The rain appeared to have gone and blue sky was visible over Perth as
    we rolled out into the Carse of Gowrie, a flat first part of the ride. The
    one problam with
    flat rides is there is nothing to stop the wind. 65km to go and only
    maintaining a 22km/h speed was not ideal when we had some hills
    ahead. Time to push a bit. And so we
    did, bit and bit and the speed holding nearer to 30km/h. Through
    Errol, out to St Madoes and then up Glen Carse. The roads were traffic
    free, though we could clearly hear the noise and see commuter traffic
    building up on
    the A90 to the north.
    No cars but plenty of weather. The rain clouds that had been hiding over the
    hills to the north,
    came south and deposited a fair quantity of horizontal rain into our
    faces. On went the waterproof jackets.

    The third member of our duet was the puncture fairy. Normally she
    stays well away from me, but that morning paid me a visit. PSSS SS SS
    SS. I could see the bubbles spraying out through the water on the tyre. A
    quick stop, and I swapped the tube for a spare. Cheers to the chap on
    the Cannondale who stopped to see if I was OK.

    The next part was uphill. A deceptively gentle climb, then turn right
    and go up. The road sign claimed 20% but that can only
    have been for a few metres. Lungs burned as we crested Kinnoul hill
    and pushed on towards Perth, hoping for a nice fast descent on the
    downhill into the town. With the wind being a definite againsterly we were
    having to pedal
    to get much over 30km/h on a hill one would normally freewheel at
    nearer 50km/h or higher. Not so nice.

    By now we have hit the commuter traffic in Perth. Not literally, that
    comes later. Route finding was easy, traffic was fairly heavy, enough
    to slow the motors down to a pace where interaction was not a problem,
    and we head out towards Crieff on the A85.

    What is it about bright yellow jackets that renders them
    invisible? A solid queue of traffic was heading into Perth and a young
    lad in a typical chavmobile decided to turn right across us. I was
    just giving voice to my displeasure when his mate behind decided to
    follow suit. It is the first time since I was a child that I have
    lifted the rear wheen when braking. With barely the width of my front
    tyre between us I came to a halt and half jumped, half fell off the
    bike (SPD's do unclip quite happily).

    Needless to say the young gentleman received some pointed advice on
    his powers of observation and driving ability. Responding to his
    'SMIDSY' by pointing out the bright yellow jackets and not
    inconsiderable bulk of his near victims, we detained him sufficiently
    that other drivers started to get angry with him being in the middle
    of the road, before allowing him to proceed. The adrenalin build up
    was soon burnt off by the rest of the rise to the A9.

    The time was against us. Just under 30k to go in just over an hour. In
    normal circumstances this wouldn't be too hard, but with the wind
    against us and long, gentle uphills it was going to be a struggle. The
    coach carrying our colleagues passed us just before we left the A85
    for the minor road through Tibbermore and we put the hammer down. Legs
    were starting to really feel the strain as we pushed, pushed, pushed
    on. The road signs started to give us hope. 12 miles, 10 miles 8
    miles. On we pushed, up and down the rolling road with intermittent
    flurries of hail. This was close to zombie mode, just put your head
    down and push till it hurts then push some more.
    Finally 4 miles and 25 minutes till the meeting starts. No
    problem, or so we thought.

    And then we both hit the wall. There comes a time when your legs just
    refuse to go on. Under normal circumstances one would ease up and take
    a rest, then carry on when ready. We didn't have that luxury, having
    to keep pushing our tired aching limbs. Those
    last four miles took all bar one of those 25 minutes.

    And we rolled in to the hotel, registered and they even brought us a
    pot of coffee. A few pints of leg restorer in the evening went down a
    treat though I'm not convinced the Ceilidh was a good idea. However,
    the exertions of the day have ensured that the following morning all the
    downstairs hurt.

    The return journey will follow..

  2. David Martin wrote:

    > The return journey will follow..

    Superb write up. Makes a change to read about some cycling here. Looking
    fwd to Part II.
  3. Andy Morris

    Andy Morris Guest