Thursday, 28 July 2011

LEJOG - Day 11 - Invergarry to Evanton

Miles - 57.81
Cycle Time - 4hrs 35mins
Total Time - 6hrs 7mins
Average Speed - 12.61mph

Today was an intentionally short one, with Joe having planned the route to give us a short day to Evanton to give us maximum time at Jane and Dave's our Aunt and Uncle's house. The riders set off in sun happy at the reduced mileage and excited by Drumnadrochit the hill from John and Tim's first LEJOG effort a decade earlier that still leaves Dad having sleepless nights.

Luke and I were feeling fresh, and so decided to have a little race. Our choice of race track wasn't the best because as we went wheel to wheel side by side the road curved sharply to the left and so I tucked in behind Luke and that was enough because he then created a gap and held it to the finish. Luke added insult to injury by telling me he had done it all without the use of his big ring as his gears weren't changing up.

The morning in the lead up to Drumnadrochit was filled with races. The trip has been filled with examples of us getting overtaken by some less than impressive cyclists, the woman in purple jean shorts with a basket on the front, the guy in jeans on his mountain bike. So today when a couple laden with panniers overtook us on one of our breaks we couldn't have that and so jumped back on our bikes and chased them down. Our tactic of 7.5 mile breaks was the polar opposite of these two pannier laden plodders who just kept on pedalling, and the yoyo taking over occurred for sometime to the amusement of both sets of cyclists.

Next me and Luke saw a lycra clad pro chasing down Pete, Dad and Joe and we decided that we weren't going to let that happen to us and so rocketed off the front at speed. Travelling at something like 20 mph for a couple of miles and keeping the club rider trailing in the distance we decided to pull over to let the group join back together. Before the other 3 joined us the speedster went pass me and Luke in the layby none the wiser that he had just been involved in a race.

A little worried that I had now overdone it with all this racing before the big climb of the day I decided to take it easy for the remainder of the morning. Before we tackled Drumnadrochit we met up with the girls for our traditional energy boost of bacon sarnies. With spirits high we left the girls and headed for Drumnadrochit.

Unlike Glen Coe the start of Drumnadrochit was very obvious with the climb steep from the base of the climb. Pete had told me I was cheating with my Granny gear and so made me promise I wouldn't use it on the hill. This was proving difficult at the speeds we were going, and so I set off in my higher than ideal gear by myself. The climb was lung busting and the thighs burned but I made it to the girls just shy of the summit intact. Unsure of where the top really was, and keen not to stop and be told I had chickened out before reaching the top I kept on pedalling. The summit was duely crested and I then enjoyed miles of fast flowing descent back down to the flat where I found a stop to pull over and wait for the others.

The support team arrived soon followed by the other cyclists. They were all buzzing from their tackling of Drumnadrochit without stopping and that really showed how much stronger Dad had got from those dark days in Dartmoor. The cyclists left the girls who were heading on to Evanton just 30 miles away. After that hill all the terrain seemed flat in comparison. The miles flew by and smiles were plastered all over the riders faces, we tackled the two miles up the country lane to Jane and Dave's house on the hill, avoiding the building vehicles on our ascent and finished by 3pm, a half day for the battle hardened cyclists.

A lovely evening was had by all, I managed to tarnish it some what when I let a swamn of midges into mine and Pete's room as I stuck my head out of our window desperate for some phone reception so I could speak to wifey. I felt awful but Becky's idea of hoovering up the little pests seemed to do the trick and Pete and I managed to sleep without being eaten alive. 2 more days left!

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