Today we decided to ride to the end of Glen Strathfarrar and back. Thats 16 miles, from home in each direction. We set off about 4.30pm after a morning when we were supposed to be at work, but when we got there the customer had gone out. A bit of shopping for some caravan stuff occured before coming home and huddling by the fire as it was cold today. Raffie was most up the nose about the no show. 2 dogs too. She left a terse message on their voicemail, finishing in a sarcastic ‘thank you very much’.
We planned to go right up to the Monar Hydro Dam and back. To start with the weather was a tad chilly and there was a brisk wind, which we spent an hour and a half cycling into to reach the dam. We stopped after about 7.5 miles and shared a bit of Millionaires Shortbread – the co op had no flapjacks, our treat of choice – and then pressed on. It was really hard going. We went through a few squally rain showers and up through some cloud which was damp and miserable. Finally, we reached that blasted dam. We had another share of some shortbread there and a bit of a breather.
It was hard going there, some of the hills were very steep and we had to get off and walk a few times. Our total elevation gain was 1,560 feet today and it felt like it too. Our max grade was 10% only but even then, some of them were quite long and hard. We were getting really tired so we were glad to be at the end of the strath and to start heading back.
As long and difficult as the uphills were, that was nothing compared to the fear we felt going back down them. We both had our brakes engaged as we flew down the hills. 28 mph on a push bike, is a bit scary. Or at least it is to us. We had done about 6 miles towards home when we had a disaster. A big stone caught under the front wheel of the Giant and a flat tyre promptly followed. We got the wheel off and the innertube out and found 2 punctures and patched them. The tyre refused to stay up so we had another go. We definitely got the holes covered but those patches were not holding the hole. We started again and repatched. We were still having no joy and were wondering if the glue was past its best. We’d been there an hour by then, the temp was dropping. Raffie was freezing and it looked like some rain coming in. It was 10 past 7 in the evening and we were both fed up. I suggested Raffie took my bike, back home and went to fetch the car and collect me. In the meantime, I would have another go at fixing the tyre on the Giant. Raffie didn’t seem best happy about riding the Sun but she wobbled off just the same.
That Sun bike is way way way too big for me. Its got old fashioned gear levers on the down tube and I was in big ring gear and heading up hill. After a fashion, I managed to get onto the small ring. I had to reach right down to get the lever, very wobbly indeed. I managed to hit a good cadence and get the gear shifter on side and I flew on that 33 year old bike. It was 10 miles home and I did it just shy of 40 minutes. That included getting through the big gate at the end of the Strath. A neighbour showed me where the emergency secret key was so I could get back out again. I ran in the house, put the Sun in the downstairs loo, grabbed the keys and headed for the jeep. Millie, my terrier, came too.
We drove back up the Strath, through a herd of sheep and onwards to where Kenn was. The light was beginning to dim and I didn’t know if he had a jumper on under his cycling jacket. I didn’t so assumed that Kenn didn’t either. Turned out he did, he had a fleece on. It took me 60 minutes dead to get on the Sun, cycle the 10 miles to our home, grab the car and get back to Kenn. He was walking towards me and had covered about a mile. We are off shopping for a new innertube tomorrow.
Miles today: 32.10
Miles to date: 247.9
Miles to go: 752.1
Max speed: 28.52
Ave speed: Didn’t record
Feelings: Tired today.