Sammy, me and Tubs out today. Gio drops out as he is allergic to runs that do not start from the Egasa clubhouse – his hoose. The idea was to bag one of the hills from Simon Warren’s “100 Greatest Climbs” book – the Rest and Be Thankful. Sammy and myself did this last year. After I got home I had a wee look in the book and discovered that indeed we did NOT do it. Yes, we got up to the Rest and Be Thankful from Arrochar but that’s not the hill in the book. Oh Bother (1).
Fully researched this time, we knew where we were going. A 60 miler planned taking car or cars to Luss and cycling from there. Sammy mentioned that his brother was interested in coming – so a route change to start at his brother’s in Dumbarton. An 80 mile route now. Finally, after a chat with Sammy and a throwaway joke about just starting from mine (where we were going to meet in the cars), and yes, the joke became reality – the first 100 miler of the season planned – 107 miles in all.
The first few miles match my commute until we head to Erskine. Going down a I little hill just before the bridge I pull the brakes (with my new expensive brake pads on). Nada. The Mavic man Sammy comes to the rescue and we get the brakes infinitely better – in that they work. Just as well that little hill was there. If I needed the brakes coming off the bridge there could have been carnage. Nice to prove that we don’t need Ian along (hangover) to have a wee mishap.
Once we leave the towns behind, the route really shows its class. As soon as we turn off the A81 towards Gairlochhead and hit the rolling ups and downs the route is a cracker. A lot of the road surfaces were brand new – we were all flying along enjoying the surfaces (especially Sammy with his new GP 4000 tyres in play – here comes summer).
Young Tubs is beginning to show some form – he drops back a bit on the hills but it’s no longer the dramatic collapses that he’s been known to experience earlier in the year – the fitness is coming as he ups the training.
Gairlochhead and Arrochar zip by and it’s up the Rest and Be Thankful the non-book way. We met up with 3 chaps and make some kind of progress up the hill together. I was grateful of the support of one of the chaps (Colin?) as we took turns towing each other up the hill. Some tales at the top of upcoming trips to Alps had me misty eyed (still trying to get Mrs M to agree to a wee alpine sojourn in June with the Tubbys but she’s still not wearing it – I’ll need to have another go. Better idea. My lovely mother will be reading this – she can have a go at convincing Carol. For your son, mother dear)?
Freezing by the time we went down the hill, but we soon warmed up as the mist and light rain abated. Then we hit the road to Lochgoilhead. An absolute cracker of a road – loved by one and all.
A little stop to regroup with the real hill just ahead. We then encounter some muppet in a car doing his dinger because we’re ‘blocking’ his route on the road. Aye right, pal. Move 3 cm to the right and continue (or move 15 feet – you’ve got all the space in the world and not a car in sight). Some choice language to send him on his way – not by me though, ’cause my mum’s reading. At this point my GPS batteries gave up the ghost. Oh bother (2). I’m very anal about recording my stats so this is a bummer. Teach me to upload the stats more often and get the device charged. Surprisingly, it’s charging as I write this now.
And now the hill. The other guys said it was a real toughie. I wasn’t so sure. There are lots of flattish parts to recover and only a couple of 16% bits to have you on the pedals. However, it sure is a nice ride. So, back round to the Rest and Be Thankful and the long descent to Arrochar and another regroup.
Only really one other significant climb on the way back, although it should be noted that Sammy and myself wait for our amigo Tubs two or three times when he has a rough patch on hills – remember this.
As we approach home Sam and myself are close to energy out. No need for a gel – we’ll coast home and get something to eat. We look round to make sure Tubs is still there – he’s not taken a turn at the fron to help his brothers for quite a while – no matter, he ain’t heavy. And then the boy does it. He shames himself by making a sprint in the last half mile. Shameless.
Tubs outrageous behaviour apart this was a cracking run with some great roads. A grand choice.