Kenn is shattered. He’s taking another “wiped out by the meds” day today. To be fair we have had a busy work day, although we finished early. 2 cocker spaniels at one house, a springer and a teeny, tiny yorkie at another and then a rather overweight, unco-operative westie. I think that after Kenn cycling 10 miles yesterday, that he is just tired. Also, the temperature was dropping, you could feel it drop, and the clouds were getting a darker shade of grey than they were when we got in.
I, on the other hand, had groomed like a busy groomer and wanted to go out and play on my new bike. Its like being 11 again, only this time I haven’t got a Raleigh Shopper to try and hide up, I have my nice, light, good looking road bike. Again I took my iPod but I shan’t be boring anyone with what I was listening too as some of the things I have discovered on there I am too embarrassed to own up to having. Digitally or otherwise.
I did the Bothy ride again, up Strathfarrar. It was cold and raining but, after yesterdays long ride, I wanted to get my pedals turning as I was feeling a bit stiff this afternoon. There were hikers galore up there tonight. When approaching the first lot, this is when I noticed that I have no bell on my handlebars. I am not sure if a bell is a legal requirement, but I could have done with it. Instead I called out, “excuse me, may I pass please?” which seemed to do the trick. Not sure if they spoke as I pedalled past as I was listening to Rainbow at that point. After the first lot of hikers, I circumnavigated a bunch of sheep. I was tempted to yell “Mint Sauce” to see if it hurrys them along or if its just an urban myth but decided not to as within shouting distance were the next lot of hikers heading the same way that I was. Once past them, more sheep and then more hikers – a big bunch with maps, big boots, compass’, waterproofs and beards. I guess they were a more experienced and official bunch of hikers than the 2 sets of beardless hikers I had already passed.
The river looked a bit ‘up’, if you are with me. It seemed to be cutting along a bit faster than the other day. It really is stunning down there, with the river on your left as you go up. Sometimes you get glimpses of movement on the riverbank. I am wondering if there are otters up there, it wouldn’t suprise me in the least. We regularly see buzzards up there and the occasional heron. All the Red Deer were down and in the paddocks. Normally they are up the mountain somewhere. I am going to walk up there tomorrow with my camera and take some pics if they are still there then. We have Roe Deer on our Estate, they are lovely and we see one or two of them daily, but its nice to see the herd of Reds too. Stag was down today too, he is a good size when you see him up against the fence.
Before I knew it, I was at the bothy and I considered going on for another mile or so but then another squall of rain arrived and, as I was cycling into the wind and rain, I decided to head home and see if Kenn had finished cooking tea (fish fingers tonight). I looked at the time that I was out for, at that point, and was stunned to see that it wasn’t 20+ minutes after all. I had been cycling into quite a stiff wind and with the rain, it seemed like I was barely moving. I wasn’t going any faster than I have been on my old mountain bike though, which I was a touch miffed about.
Heading back is much more fun. Its ever so slightly more down hill than uphill. The whole Strath is undulating but it always seems easier going back than out. Even on lovely days. In the 7.5 miles I cycled today, I had a maximum elevation of 424 feet, which isn’t much. My maximum hill gradient was only 8.3% so its not exactly really hard work. Having said that, we’ve only explored down to about 6 miles in. We plan to cycle the whole Strath as soon as Kenn gets his new bike. I managed to get up to 25.17mph on the way home, which was great fun. Also, I was heading towards oncoming hikers so they could see me whizzing towards them. Even the sheep kept mostly out of my way on the way back, although I did slow to a sensible speed while I passed them. I really don’t want one suddenly changing its mind and leaping out on me.
Dolly Hill was nice and easy. Viva Las Vagas was on the iPod and it got me up the hill very nicely.
One thing I noticed today, while taking my bike through the bike/walker gate, is that my handlebars are a touch wider and are a much more snug fit through the gap. It might just be the way I’m holding the bike though. The lightness of the bike is wonderful there though. No more hoiking the bike up on its back brake and holding the weight and hoping that my wrist doesn’t bend. Lovely.
I am a bit tired after yesterdays long ride. One of our goals was to cycle 50 miles in a week. At the bottom of Dolly Hill yesterday, we went through the 50 miles so we now have 58 miles under our belts this week. Ken is planning on a longish ride tomorrow afternoon to make up for only doing half distance yesterday and no distance today. I will go too, because I don’t see why he should have all the fun.
Miles today: 7.56
Miles to date: 159.53
Miles to go: 840.47
Max speed: 25.17
Ave speed: 12.74
Feelings: Legs ached, cold and wet but great fun.