Anyone else doing the Drumlanrig Sportif tomorrow?



S

Simon Brooke

Guest
If so, I'll be on my customary black Dolan, wearing Stewartry Wheelers
strip - black and yellow with a black lion on the front.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

;; If you're doing this for fun, do what seems fun. If you're
;; doing it for money, stop now.
;; Rainer Deyke
 
A

Andrew

Guest
Team crooks will be joining you for the tray bakes and views from Scotland's
highest village. I'll be in the yellow and black as well as I'm using the
ride as a dress rehearsal for next weeks Fred, checking kit, gels and
energy drink all work ok!!

Colnago now fitted with a sexy carbon chorus compact c'set and I wont have
too much whisky tonight - Alison will be there tween 8-9 to register and
drink tea I'll set off about 10ish

Captain Colnago
 
S

Simon Brooke

Guest
in message <[email protected]>, Andrew
('[email protected]') wrote:

> Team crooks will be joining you for the tray bakes and views from
> Scotland's highest village. I'll be in the yellow and black as well as
> I'm using the
> ride as a dress rehearsal for next weeks Fred, checking kit, gels and
> energy drink all work ok!!
>
> Colnago now fitted with a sexy carbon chorus compact c'set


*******...

> and I wont
> have too much whisky tonight - Alison will be there tween 8-9 to register
> and drink tea I'll set off about 10ish


I'll try to be there about 8:45 ish.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

:: Wisdom is better than weapons of war ::
:: Ecclesiastes 9:18 ::
 
S

Simon Brooke

Guest
in message <[email protected]>, Simon Brooke
('[email protected]') wrote:

> in message <[email protected]>, Andrew
> ('[email protected]') wrote:
>
>> Team crooks will be joining you for the tray bakes and views from
>> Scotland's highest village. I'll be in the yellow and black as well as
>> I'm using the
>> ride as a dress rehearsal for next weeks Fred, checking kit, gels and
>> energy drink all work ok!!
>>
>> Colnago now fitted with a sexy carbon chorus compact c'set

>
> *******...


And the short ride report is: cold cold cold cold cold.

I might pull myself together to write a longer ride report later.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

;; Good grief, I can remember when England won the Ashes.
 
A

Andrew

Guest
"Simon Brooke" in message
news:[email protected]

>
> And the short ride report is: cold cold cold cold cold.
>
> I might pull myself together to write a longer ride report later.
>


And the long ride report is cold, windy, cold, windy, cold

If not for the weather it would have been a cracking day, Drumlanrig itself
was a superb venue, a few clicks from the birthplace of the bicycle (one of
a few), lots of weird bikes on display as it houses a bike museum, the local
authority out supporting the event and a consultant surgeon from the local
hospital acting as time keeper.

The first part of my ride was spoilt by the 'local racing ace' determined to
ride with me, sprinting off but unable to maintain the pace and dropping
back, tres bizarre and a tad annoying.
We started to ride up to wanlockhead, Scotland's highest village and he
raced off, I was happy to let him go and spun on up and shortly caught and
passed him. Slowed down to let him catch up and rode along with him
chatting, spun past Mr Brooke with a "see you at lunch"only to be greeted by
a friendly, "showing off *******". We then saw my wife up ahead, pointing
this out to 'local racing ace' I said, "hang on, slowing down to say hi and
have a quick chat", as I did so, he actually attacked and sprinted off. Had
short chat to wife and then spun up, just about to catch him again when met
another group of chums, this time I did the sensible thing and slowed down
for a chat and let the 'racing ace disappear'. We rolled together to the
summit for welcome flap jacks and tray bakes from a very friendly helper,
who was happy to hang out on a cold, windy moorland road handing out cakes.
I think she deserves a medal. A headwind into Drumlanrig made it tough
going. The cold stopped me from hanging around waiting for Simon so I moved
onto the next lap. Again, local racing hero ruined it but a snap decision to
let him sprint off was made and the ride was very pleasant thereafter.
Chatting to most cyclists who I passed and sharing cheeky banter from the
Glasgow 'kooriers'. A cake stop at the pretty artists town of moniave before
a 1 in 5 climb was flaw in my planning as the home shortbread nearly came
back. (Tip, cake stops should be at the TOP of steep hills, not the bottom)
A tailwind home through the moniave hills and a bit of sunshine warmed the
soul and all seemed good in the world. Apart from the a76 the route was
bereft of cars, wonderful scenery, good grub and very laid back atmosphere.
I would heartily recommend it for next year with the warning to get to the
feed stations before me. My wife was very miffed at wanlockhead to find that
they had run out of millionaires shortbread, apparently a Stewartry wheeler
filled his pockets with them.

Next week, I shall mostly be riding the Fred Whitton!

Simon, looking forward to your ride report

Captain Colnago
 
S

Simon Brooke

Guest
in message <[email protected]>, Simon Brooke
('[email protected]') wrote:

> in message <[email protected]>, Simon
> Brooke ('[email protected]') wrote:
>
>> in message <[email protected]>, Andrew
>> ('[email protected]') wrote:
>>
>>> Team crooks will be joining you for the tray bakes and views from
>>> Scotland's highest village. I'll be in the yellow and black as well as
>>> I'm using the
>>> ride as a dress rehearsal for next weeks Fred, checking kit, gels and
>>> energy drink all work ok!!
>>>
>>> Colnago now fitted with a sexy carbon chorus compact c'set

>>
>> *******...

>
> And the short ride report is: cold cold cold cold cold.
>
> I might pull myself together to write a longer ride report later.


OK, uhhhmmm... well...

I arrived at His Grace's residence at about 0840 hours, which is not a
civilised time on a Saturday morning, and put my bike together. A certain
A Crooks of this parish turned up shortly before nine, with a bunch of
other hospital people. I went up to sign on, and not knowing how long it
would take A Crooks to get her act together, put myself down for a 0920
start.

Let's give credit where it's due. The organisation both by the Duke's
lackeys and retainers, and by the Tear Fund volunteers, was magnificent.
Four of the castle staff were out marshalling cars into the car parks (for
which those of us who were riding were not charged); others were helping
organise children's mountain bike racing and other activities to entertain
the masses. The Tear Fund volunteers were meantime checking us in and
organising start times. And Rik's Bike Shed mob were getting out the penny
farthings and other bikes from the museum, and also a weird and wonderful
collection of funny bikes.

Nevertheless, standing around waiting to start was cold cold cold cold
cold.

Cycling in Scotland in early summer... I'd paid attention to the weather
forcast, of course. With deep skepticism, of course. It was grey and
chill, but the cloud was going to 'burn off', after which it was going to
be 'very hot'. So I was wearing a thin jersey, with a windproof gilet over
it, a buff, and a cap. In my back pocket I had a very lightweight
windproof jacket. I hoped, of course, to take the gilet and the buff
off...

A Crooks, of this parish, soon arrived, saying that A Crooks of this parish
would turn up later and set off about 1000. 0920 duly rolled round, and
the time keeper gave us our start. We headed off in a bunch with a group
of Border City Wheelers, who quickly whipped past us and vanished into the
distance. We rolled along at a reasonable pace; A Crooks having gone over
the handlebars of her mountain bike a couple of days before and feeling a
bit battered and bruised, and me very aware of the climbs to come.

We were routed up the west bank of the Nith to north of Sanquhar, which
seemed a bit unnecessary; presumably Dave Moss, who organised the route,
didn't want us turning right off the A76. But upper Nithsdale is
pleasant - if scenic - cycling country, and we rolled along pleasantly,
and soon past the site of my big crash of eighteen months ago. Despite the
fact that there were 190-odd other riders on this ride, by this time we
were on our own, and for a long time saw no other cyclists. We passed a
couple of the Border City boys mending a puncture, and ten minutes later
they passed us again. But as we descended into Sanquhar we came up with a
woman from Stirling Tri on a newish blue Trek (who had come south partly
to ride the Sportif, and partly to buy her wedding ring!)

The downside of going up to Sanquhar on the west bank was that we now had
to head back south down the A76, which is no-one's favourite cycling road:
too much motor traffic going too fast, with sight lines which are too
short. And, additionally, the head wind was very fresh. Never mind, I said
cheerfully, this wind will probably help us up the Mennock...

A fast bunch, making a very efficient chain gang, whipped past us and out
of sight. Then the Mennock Water turning came up, and we swung up the
hill, saying farewell to the Stirling Tri woman. There's an initial climb
which is quite stiff, followed by a gentle descent, and then the main
climb goes up like a flight of stairs with short stiff sections
interspersed with false flats. A Crooks and I stayed together for the
first half of the climb, cheerfully discussing when A Crooks would come
flying past, and what lies he would tell us about when he had started. The
wind was bitter in our faces, and despite the gradient it was cold.
Probably help us up the Mennock - ha!

Then after the second false flat the climb kicked up steeper, and my 39/26
bottom gear really wasn't low enough. A Crooks clicked down onto her
granny ring and started to pull away. A guy from Dunfermline on a rather
gorgeous Chorus-equipped Orbea came up with me, and we climbed together
for a while, but as the gradient steepened further I knew I couldn't stay
with him so I told him to go on. At which point a cheerful voice sang out
from behind 'grab his wheel, Simon'. Whizz! Whirr! Blur! A Crooks went
flying by, legs whirling, not even short of breath, and was gone. *******.

So, you know, climbing. We were starting on the last steep section, and I
found my own rhythm. A bit earlier I had felt that I was winching myself
up, grinding up, awkward on the bike; but now... I was still mostly out of
the saddle, but I was pedalling circles again. Also, in this top col of
the pass there was virtually no wind, and the sun was beginning to break
through. I stuffed my cap in my pocket. I unzipped my gilet and my shirt.
I took my buff off. The day was starting to feel good. The occasional eddy
of breeze into the col was cold on my back, but... The guy on the Orbea
was still in sight ahead, and so was A Crooks (no, not /that/ A Crooks,
silly). What's more, I was gaining on her. Gradually, I hauled the
distance back, came along side, and we climbed on together. Up ahead a
couple had stopped. The twisting of the pass made it impossible to see how
much more climbing there was, so as we came past we called out 'not far
now! honest!'

And it wasn't far now. The notch appeared ahead. The gradient eased. The
first buildings of Wanlockhead - Britain's highest village - came into
sight. I zipped up my zips, rolled over the top, and poured down the hill.
In the bottom of the dip in Wanlockhead, cyclists were gathered round a
feed station, and we stopped. The traybakes were /extremely/ welcome (and
delicious), but stopping in a dip was not, and as soon as I stopped I was
aware of just how cold it still was. I got moving again, and then realised
that A Crooks hadn't. I immediately felt guilty - club rules are that we
don't leave people behind. But... the climb out of Wanlockhead is brutal,
and I really didn't want to stop on it. So I ground my way up more slowly
than I otherwise would. High on my right the radomes of the Green Lowther
came into view, but we didn't have to go there. The highest point on our
route was just ahead... reaching it, I touched a foot down to wait for A
Crooks, but she was just behind me. We rolled over the top together, and
started down.

The roads from Wanlockhead via Leadhills to Elvanfoot are odd. They're very
high, and the surrounding landscape is extremely barren - the
environmental wreckage left by three thousand miles of mining. But the
road surface (in a curious red colour) is mostly extremely good; from the
ridge above Wanlockhead through to Elvanfoot there's a descent from 468
metres to under 300 metres in 10Km; and the prevailing wind is in your
favour. All of which makes it usually screamingly fast. And it was. Coming
down towards Leadhills I was doing an easy - easy - 60Km/h, and faced with
three young lambs in the middle of the road. I yelled, but they didn't
move. I headed straight for them, waiting to see which way they would go.
At the last moment they went left, so I went right, curling past them,
only slowing as the road started to twist down into the village (where I
still managed to light up the 'slow down' board at 37 mph). Brilliant. At
the Elvanfoot turn I paused to wait for A so that she wouldn't shoot by
it - an easy mistake to make which carries you down a long hill you then
have to grind back up. Out of Leadhills the chap on the Orbea joined us
again, and he and A climbed up past the ridiculous mountain golf course
together. And yes, there were people out playing golf in their oxygen
masks, hanging onto the hillside with pitons...

Consequently when we rolled over that top onto the twisty start of the
descent, A and Mr Orbea were still ahead of me, descending in a
responsible and orderly manner.

Well, that's nae fun.

As soon as I could see enough clear road I sang out 'on your right', and
went for it, spinning the bike up to full speed and then crouching in
behind the bars, making myself as small as possible, using every bit of
the width of the road through the turns. Passing people. I may not be able
to climb, but I can still descend...

The road flattened, but I was still holding 65Km/h. I should have been
thinking then about what that meant. I wasn't, of course. I was just
enjoying the speed, the sensation of almost flying, the smoothness and
sureness of the bike. Eventually, at the top of a small brae, I paused to
wait for A, and we rolled into Elvanfoot together. Some of A's colleagues
were waiting at the turn to regroup, and called greetings as we came by.
We turned through Elvanfoot and met the wind.

At the top of the Mennock the sun had been beginning to come out. It had
begun to come out again at Leadhills. But now it had changed its mind,
taken its hat off, and settled down by a warm fire with a good book. This
just wasn't it's sort of weather.

Heading out of Elvanfoot towards Dalveen really isn't much of a climb, but
it felt an awful grind. The wind was... well, not very strong. Force four,
maybe, not more than that. But so cold. A's colleagues passed us, and we
came up with, and passed, a gentleman on a beautiful white Holdsworth with
a complete 70s vintage Campag Super Record groupset, and an enormous
headlight mounted on a front carrier.

Cold. At the top of the brae I stopped and put every item of clothing I had
with me on. The guy on the Holdsworth passed me as I was stopped. A had
gone on ahead, and I thought I'd be able to make it back to her on the
descent, but I'd reckoned without the wind. It was just brutal and
miserable. I was shivering as I rode. Cyclists were strung out along the
road in front of me and I began to pass a few (including the Holdsworth
which was sadly crying 'oil me, oil me, oil me), but A remained resolutely
about two hundred metres ahead. Just occasionally a couple of fast boys
would come past doing at least 5Km/h better than me and gradually
disappear into the distance...

Objectively, the road from Elvanfoot to the top of the Dalveen pass is not
that tough. Overall, there's as much descending as climbing, and the
gradients are trivial. And it really - objectively - isn't far. But by
contrast to the Wanlockhead to Elvanfoot section which I almost always
enjoy, the Elvanfoot to Dalveen section is very often misery, and so it
was yesterday. Every metre a struggle, every kilometre grudgingly won. I
began to feel very sorry for the people I passed, deliberately pulling in
front of them to offer them a wheel. But we were all in our own private
hells, just struggling through. A guy on a lugged steel Dolan with a very
nice paint job went by, quickly. At last the road started to tilt
decidedly downwards, and A was waiting for me at the side of the road. We
rolled over onto the Dalveen descent together.

The Dalveen pass can be brilliant. The road slashes across the hillside in
a bold diagonal stroke, with a very constant gradient and no difficult
bends. Potentially it's very fast indeed. But it's rarely fast in
practice, because the prevailing wind funnels into the the glen and blasts
up the pass like a venturi. So it was yesterday. Suddenly, out of nowhere,
the Stirling Tri woman was alongside, saying 'I descend better than I
climb'. The guy on the steel Dolan was still in sight ahead, too. When
he'd passed at the top I'd thought he looked fast, but we were gaining on
him.

At the bottom, Steel Dolan, A Crooks, the Stirling Tri woman and I formed a
gruppetito, rolling along briskly at above 30Km/h (still with some
gradient helping). I felt really quite good, and was thinking seriously
about doing the afternoon lap as well; I rode on the front for a few Km,
breaking the wind, and then dropped back into shelter. The gradient eased
out, and I clicked down gears until I was running in big/big - something I
don't like doing. So I did something I often do: both thumbs down to drop
the chain onto the small ring and change up a couple of gears at the back
at the same time...

And dropped the chain on the inside.

I called to the others to go on, put my chain back on, and started after
them. But the elastic had really snapped. My legs just didn't have it, and
gradually they were pulling further ahead. For a while I kept company with
an old fellow on a white Giant OCR, but we were both struggling and didn't
stay together. On the last descent to the A76 I had so lost the plot that
I hit a nasty pothole, hard, making an awful noise from the tyres, but
fortunately they were hard enough that both survived. Then over the cattle
grid and the last climb to the castle.

Again, the organisation at the castle was wonderful. I was timed in, and
offered food, but I was so cold and fatigued that it was hard to eat. I
stayed around and chatted for a while, but... I didn't go out for the
afternoon. I came home, had a long hot bath, and went to bed.

I'll need to be fitter before mid June!

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

There are no messages. The above is just a random stream of
bytes. Any opinion or meaning you find in it is your own creation.
 
A

Andrew

Guest
"Simon Brooke" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:eek:[email protected]
> in message <[email protected]>, Simon Brooke
> ('[email protected]') wrote:
>
>

(where I still managed to light up the 'slow down' board at 37 mph).
Brilliant.

Yup, there is no finer joy for the cyclist than an electronic 'slow down'
sign at the bottom of a steep hill - not sure if you can be nicked for
speeding but the temptation to see how fast you can get it is very
strong.................
 
R

Roger Merriman

Guest
Andrew <[email protected]> wrote:

> "Simon Brooke" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:eek:[email protected]
> > in message <[email protected]>, Simon Brooke
> > ('[email protected]') wrote:
> >
> >

> (where I still managed to light up the 'slow down' board at 37 mph).
> Brilliant.
>
> Yup, there is no finer joy for the cyclist than an electronic 'slow down'
> sign at the bottom of a steep hill - not sure if you can be nicked for
> speeding but the temptation to see how fast you can get it is very
> strong.................


heh, yes and also to see how accurate the bike computers are so far not
too far out.

roger