It was lovely and sunny this afternoon and we were back home by 5pm, which is great for a Saturday. I was dying to go out for a ride, and Kenn had suggested going up to the Bog Cotton Cafe for a cuppa before tea but as time went on, it was becoming apparent that tomorrow was going to be the Cafe day.
Once we had got organised Kenn chose the Glen Strathfarrar route and suggested the Bothy ride. I was hoping to go a little further as Kenn had said that he really wanted to crack 50 miles this week and I knew that just the Bothy ride would leave him a couple of miles short of his target. I also knew that he would regret it if he was just shy of target. We were in no hurry tonight, the weather was nice and I was concentrating on spinning my pedals in a low gear, trying to hit the magic 80 rpm which was drilled into me when I competed in triathlons. Its much easier on one of those boring static gym bikes to spin your pedals at 80 rpm, there is a computerised do-dad on the awful things to tell you so. Kenn was concentrating on getting to the bothy.
Once at the bothy, Kenn was all for heading for home. I suggested that we swap bikes for a bit and carry on. I said that I wanted my bike back when we returned to the Bothy heading back. Kenn was all for this and wc carried on a bit. Kenn was having fun on my bike and I was looking around at the heather which is all covered in purple flowers and I also noticed that some of the ferns going down to the river, were turning a bit yellow and brown. Its only August, surely Autumn is not around the corner just yet? Its been 4 weeks since we started cycling in earnest and I have noticed the changes happening up the Strath. The raspberrys are finished now and the blackberrys are still green so soon it will be blackberry pie time and then it definitely will be autumn. As we are getting fitter, it gives us time to look about and enjoy our environment, instead of just getting on with pedaling and keeping going. Today was the first time I had noticed that we had the wind and wherewithall to look about. As I said, we were not hurrying along. Taking it steady and concentrating on cadence and spinning our pedals at a good pace.
Carry on up the Strath, is exactly what happened tonight. We got past our ‘furthest we’ve been’ top of the hill point. We got to the top of that gasping horribly though. We were doing brilliantly. I had got Kenn’s mountian bike into 1st big gear and 2nd little gear and was pedalling away. Kenn was right behind me ready to overtake on the uphill (which was very impressive as far as I was concerned) when a car came over the rise and was taking no prisoners. It slowed us right down to less than 5 mph and neither of us recovered. We were both off our bikes and pushing up the last 20 yards of the hill. Thank heavens nobody saw us. At the top, once we had finished gasping, had a drink of water and our heartbeats had dropped to something more sensible, I suggested a further 1/2 mile into the unknown. Kenn said “OK then” and off we went. We went down a slight hill and up the other side, down another and up the other side and then Kenn had had enough. We turned back. Kenn whizzed off and rode like fury and I followed and tried my best to keep up and stay vaguely in touch. Once we dropped down the big hill, Kenn was away. He got up to about 23 or 24 mph I think. He said that the bike felt twitchy in the extreme. I just followed on the mountain bike and prayed that as Kenn whizzed around the right hand bend over the stream that he would remember not to brake as he was turning. New bike, not scratched.
Once back at the bothy, I was seriously ready to have my bike back. Kenn’s mountian bike is seriously comfy. My mountain bike is not that comfy and I have no idea why. Getting back on to my hard saddle was not best comfortable. My bum was protesting but only on one side though. I, for the first time in years, could feel the knobbly sit bone on the left hand side. Knobbly on that side because that is the side of my pelvis that I broke somewhat nearly 30 years ago. On a couple of the downhills, I took off simply for the sheer pleasure of it and waited at the top but Kenn was right on my tail the whole time. I cannot believe how fit Kenn is getting, he was right behind me, no more than 10 yards adrift. The deer were all still in the deer paddock tonight and I didn’t get around to going down with a camera. Maybe tomorrow when I have more time.
I still cannot believe how light my bike is. When we were going through the bike gate tonight, coming out of the Strath, I hoiked it up as I did my mountain bike and nearly blacked my eye. Kenn laughed. I can wait until he gets his new bike and does the same thing. I might well laugh too.
Dolly hill was simply not a problem tonight, we both whizzed up and kept above 10mph all the way up it, only just into double figures but double figures none the less. Brilliant ride, I had a fab time. Kenn had a great time once we’d swapped bikes and even when we had swapped back, Kenn was still having a great ride. I am thrilled that Kenn is getting so much enjoyment from cycling, he has really taken to it and now looks forward to exercising and that has to be a good thing.
Kenn ended up with a weekly mileage of 55 and a bit miles. He is thrilled to bits and I am really proud of him. Long ride tomorrow, the newspaper and coffee ride to Cannich. We are thinking of adding a bit extra at the Cannich end. Watch this space.
Miles today: 11.69
Miles to date: 171.22
Miles to go: 828.78
Max speed: 29.64
Ave speed: 11.46
Feelings: After a slow start, we had a brilliant ride and felt great.