Glen Lyon Ride
A scenic run set up for last Saturday’s group ride. Start at Callander head to Killin and head up the valley and over to Glen Lyon. Then head up the hill to hill to Ben Lawers and back down and round Loch Tay to end up back at Killin and onwards to Callander. 77 miles with some good climbing involved.
5 of the team were up for the route – only the G train and Young Davo missing. A 12.30 start seemed to suit most people so there you go. Of course, Sam then suggested cycling to Callendar as well. I couldn’t say no could I? So 77 miles becomes potentially 150. Strangely, nobody but Sam and I were up for the 150.
Sam turned up in Renfrew only 15 minutes late – the earliest he’s been late in a long time, so we caught the intended Renfrew ferry boat ride to Yoker and headed on our way in earnest. A fairly smart 35 miles later we were in Callendar with 20 minutes to spare over the rest of the chaps – time for a toastie in a wee cafe.
The rest of the gang rolled in for our 12.30 rendezvous at at 13.45 – the earliest Mark’s been late in a long time. So we start the 115 mile route (everyone was going to cycle all the way back except perhaps Tub, the driver) at 2 in the afternoon. Or is that the early evening. No matter, let’s ride.
Some good bunch riding until Sammy got a flat. He took 10 minutes to ‘fix’ it – turned out he just put some air in it because it was a slow puncture. How long would he have taken to put a new tube in? And how long till we stopped for another air top-up? Memories of the Farce Whitton and Ian’s tyre troubles were fast being rekindled.
Onwards to Killin. Ian called a stop to put jackets on. “It’s not worth it – it’s going to go off in a minute”. “Are you joking”? So jackets duly put on and another wee stop 5 minutes later – to take jackets off.
Another stop at the Waddell family cottage up the valley in Killin – Dalgirdy. No keys so can’t go in but at least mark has now clapped eyes on it, after claiming that he has never been invited to stay.
Continue up the valley and up the steep, knackered road leading to Glen Lyon. Apparently, I overplayed the difficulty of this hill – 20% gradient is small potatoes to Sam. Of course, every time the gradient was up you had to veer al over the road to avoid the multitude of potholes and loose rocks everywhere – can’t be good for tyres surely?
Down the hill and on to Glen Lyon – time to push the pace again, when boom – my tyre pretty much explodes going over a cattle grid. A quick change of tube – and kaboom! It positively explodes before putting it on the bike. At this point we realise that the tyre is ripped. We’re in doo-doo now. Stuck in no man’s land with no phone signal and and a dud tyre. As I am team leader, Tubs knows that he must give up his wheel to me – aye right. The best that happens is that Sam has a patch for tyre walls – does a reasonable job but a bit of a bulge is appearing so I’m restricted to approximately 20 psi instead of the usual 120. I can feel the rim as we go over cattle grids – not pleasant.
No matter – it’s holding up so I gingerly make my way along the road and up the hill to Ben Lawers with my trusty domestique Ian sitting beside me to make sure I’m ok. The rest have sailed into the distance over the hill. A slow descent from Ben Lawers and as we hit the road by Loch Tay I’m feeling a bit more confident to push the pace a little. We’re going to have to – the 150 miler is never happening but the challenge now it so get back to Callendar and drive back to Cambuslang for a team meeting and curry sometime before midnight.
Tubby feels strong so takes the fron for the last number of miles and we belt into Callendar at top testosterone-driven speed. However, the pace is a little too tidy for a weakening Sam. Normally at this point he takes a header off the bike into the gutter. This time he plays more safe and stops for a ‘puncture’. I stop along with Mark but Tubs and Ian don’t heard the call to stop – or strangely see that we have stopped (Tubs has looked round at least 200 times in the last 5 miles. Interesting). Of course, it’s a phantom puncture. So we try to get back up to pace and get some great drafting behind a motorhome, which unfortunately turns left a mile shy of where we need it.
Back in Callandar, 5 bikes in/on the car, various wheels in people’s laps, and home James. Get into Cambuslang for a curry, Tubs sings Rhinestone Cowboy at the karaoke, the big meeting takes 5 seconds and back home. happy days.