Monday, October 25, 2010

Just want to hibernate....

Where have I been...I gave blood on the 8th of this month and spent about 10 days feeling a little oxygen deprived so took it easy ( lazy). It all went well this time though so will be doing it again in a few months, I will be wary around any big events I'm doing.

The cold temperature and the dark mornings have made me want to hibernate, the running mileage is climbing back up nicely this month but the cycling most definitely is not. It still feels a little, "unnatural" as my legs want to pedal but it will come back I'm sure. So after the third attempt at getting out of my pit to cycle to work in the last week failed and I forgot to take one of my running shoes with me today (d'oh)...the punishment is ready for tomorrow.

Lets see how long it takes me to crack and get riding outside again:

Tomorrow's Pain for lazy bones

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nearly hit a cyclist with my car yesterday...

...I'm not sure who got the bigger fright, me or her. It wasn't fun that's for sure.

I was passing by a load of cars turning right (as were a couple of cars in front of me) and she just appeared from the junction on the right and I nearly t-boned her. I'm not sure why she thought it was a good idea to do that, maybe the guy at the front of the line turning right beckoned her out (that's happened to me) and she went for it without really checking the traffic going straight down the road but whatever she nearly got sprawled over the bonnet of a large bus of an Audi.

Fortunately I had been going nice and slow and was only just picking some speed up again so easily stopped in time but the wide eyed panic on her face just reminded me so much of the time I once did exactly the same stupid thing. She tried to take her hand off the bar to apologise whilst turning pale and mouthing sorry and almost lost control of the bike.

I slowed right down to check she was ok and riding, caught her eye and gave her a bit of a wave, which she returned as she cycled along so I think she was ok. She didn't look like an experienced cyclist so hopefully it won't put her off cycling, though my "incident" was earlier this year so not sure if experience is a total defence against stupidity anyway. I'd just about stopped hyperventilating by the time I parked up at work. It was a reminder of how quickly things could go wrong.

It's a particularly crap, busy junction so people do do silly things. On the way home I practically skidded to a halt as a car pulled right out in front of me as I was passing and the driver seemed to forget which pedal was the accelerator (it's the one on the right love!).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Scottish C2C Days 1 & 2

On the Saturday of the 11th September (was it really that long ago) we were picked up from my parents house, yes really, door to door service! It helps that my parents live between Glasgow and Edinburgh about five minutes off the M8. The guys had already picked up Mac and Lori in Glasgow, an American couple with an amusing amount of luggage as they were coming over for more than just the week of riding.

A goodly amount of packing tetris with bags and bikes went on before we got in the van...(duct tape was employed) Due to the fact that we were heading off for a week of riding in Scotland where the weather could be doing anything and everything neither Jez or I could be accused of travelling light either with two very stuffed dead body bags.

Off to the centre of Edinburgh to pick up Mickey and Joy, another American couple who actually had perfected the art of travelling light, thankfully as the van was totally rammed. A long and tedious drive up to Aberdeen did the rain but then the sun came out as we neared the Granite City, thankfully as Aberdeen looks utterly miserable when it's overcast, all those grey buildings.

We parked up at the beach there then ensued a goodly amount of faff whilst bikes were built etc, then we set off for an easy 20 mile spin out towards Banchory. All that time faffing and this was the only photo I took around the auspicious start (totally crap I know)!

Coast to Coast Start in Aberdeen

We had to ride through the city, mostly quiet roads and cycle paths but we did have to negotiate one very busy, narrow and congested road where I decided to get a puncture after not even one mile of riding. I had to pick the bit of road where there wasn't even a proper verge to move to, I had to carry the bike hanging onto a railing for a bit whilst inching along a kerb.

Wasn't long before we were out on some easy cycle paths and a nice 20 miles to Banchory were done. We arrived at the first B & B of the trip to find our bags had already been taken up to the rooms, yay! This was particularly welcome on some of the less easy days. A couple of beers and some great food rounded off a good day.

From Banchory the next destination was Braemar, via the Royal Lochnagar distillery. Unfortunately the Balmoral estate was closed to the public so there was a bit more road work than ideal. Normally this would be fast but day 2 was the first day of "the raging headwind from hell" 44 miles of it and it didn't seem to let up for the rest of the week. I know it's a risk when travelling west but jeez, one day without it would have been nice, at least the sun was still shining. It meant the day was suprisingly hard work. It's never, ever fun or fair having to pedal downhill to keep moving. The only picture I took all day but I really can't remember if it was before or after the distillery:

Before or after distillery tour...hmm can't remember.

The distillery tour was very interesting, after the evil b*st*rd hill to get up to it, there was no real view of Lochanagar itself which was a bit disappointing but the whisky was actually ok, it's very light on peat so that's probably why I liked it. I'm glad it was pretty much downhill to Braemar from there as I had the usual problem of the alcohol going straight to my legs and turning them into wet noodles if I have any whilst riding. They did come back to me which is just at well as we were taking turns riding into the wind...downhill. By the time we rolled into Braemar I had a headache from the cold wind.

The hotel was large and overrun by elderly coach parties, as was Braemar in general. The food here was very cheap but probably the worst of the whole week though portions were generous and the showers were good and hot (always important). The entertainment was a little "old" for us and we escaped out of the dining room to the hotel bar when a weeble shaped man started playing guitar and singing.

We did think we were going to be crushed to death in a slow, white haired stampede though as codgers appeared from every direction and made their way there, particularly the ladies, of which there were lots, as always with the retired generation.

Two warm up days in, some proper offroad bog, heather and river crossings up next.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scottish Coast to Coast...bit late

Confession time..I had actually written some stuff regarding this a week or so ago in a Word document that I cannot find anywhere, on any computer I come into contact with. As someone who looks after databases and other people's data for a living that is a a bit of an embarrassment, lol.

In summary, it was a great trip, some stunning scenery, some pelting rain, some sun, some clag, some bog to park bikes in, some great riding, great company and a not so great a raging permanent headwind for about 6 of the 7 days. Will get some more detail out soon.

Highlight for me were the Corrieyairick Pass (or River Corrieyairick as it was that day) and the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, I will be going back there again, definitely.

Photos are on Flickr and get noticeably more numerous the further west we travelled.