You know it’s coming don’t you? Well what a day of two halves…again.
Soon after setting of from Blair Athol I was back on the A9, this is the road I have spent the last day and a bit on so I have an affinity to it now, the rumble of the trucks against the backdrop of stunning scenery is a bit bizarre but there you go. At times it seems I could be watching the TDF with the wide valleys and snow capped peaks.
Anyway back to the day, last night after a discussion with Trudi and Mac, we decided to change the route to miss out some of the climbing, I have an excuse, my legs are shot. The distance was more or less the same, but we decided to drop down through Sterling, traffic or 3000ft knocked of the accent?
I came off the A9 at Dunblane and the lovely countryside was no more. Into the towns and on through to Sterling. Here the van guided me through the town as I didn’t have the maps loaded on my Garmin and didn’t really know which way to go. It was quite nice knowing that they were there and not having to keep checking the Garmin to make sure that I was on the right route.
From here I tracked west to Kirkintilloch were I was accosted by a large pot hole. I have on this journey managed to avoid most of them, but this one leapt right out in front of me! Within seconds the front tyre was flat, my first puncture of the journey, I did a quick change and was on my way, but I noticed a lump in the tyre. Luckily the van was close by and I managed to get the track pump out and get the right pressure in the tube. No more lump and I was away again.
Some 30 or so minutes later I was to receive another little blow, literally. Whilst heading towards Motherwell I was swiped by a van pulling out of a side road. How he couldn’t see me I don’t know, but I realised that he wasn’t going to stop. I knew there was nothing directly behind me and fortunately the lady in the oncoming car saw what was unfolding in front of her and pulled to the side of the road and stopped to allow me to take evasive action. In the end I ended up in the middle of the road and received a glancing blow to the bike and my foot. No damage to me or the bike, or so I thought. After profuse apologies from the van driver I was on my way.
I laboured on, laboured being the operative word, I was in the final 20 miles or so and finding it really difficult for some reason, I was beginning to think that I had run out of energy and was analysing what I had eaten, but it had been the same as other days, so just put it down to tiredness. The final 9 miles were a killer, up a slight gradient with the wind in my face and an appalling road surface. It was taking forever and really sucking all the juice out of me.
Finally I made it, got off the bike and Mac took it from me to check it and put the bottles on for tomorrow. Later when he bought it to me he told me the back wheel wasn’t turning, I looked and realised that the back brake had been wedged on to the wheel by the van when it had hit me, d’oh. No wander I had been struggling so much.
Another day done, only 104 miles to go to the end of part 1. Really looking forward to not having to sit on my saddle for a while. I have lumps and sores were no man should have them and tingly numb bits and pieces. I’ll leave that to your imagination.
124 miles, 6200ft, 9 hours something and here is a new one for you 6300 calories