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Etape Caledonia Bike Race

Having raced the “etape” last year and suffered pretty badly (was sick just 10 minutes into the 4 hour race) I wasn’t desperately keen to do it again this year. However, with nearly the whole team entering and raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support I got involved again.

The race is 81 miles starting from Pitlochry, going up round loch Rannoch and over a big hill and back (vaguely-closed roads means little navigational thought!) The team managed to get an entry right at the front meaning we kicked off at 7am in damp cold conditions.

Getting to the start line pretty late meant I had to work hard to try to catch up with the rest of my team, making the first half hour pretty painful. After a while I started to get into a decent rhythm and stay in a decent group and with the sun coming out (a bit) started to dry out and enjoy it more.

After about 40 miles we were just approaching the big climb and suddenly there was a lot of cyclists at the side of the road fixing punctures. Slightly confused I kept going, picking up the places as i passed more and more of them stranded at the side. It turns out that some protesters had put carpet tacks all over the road (apparently protesting due to the closed roads on a Sunday morning meaning they couldn’t get to church). Making it past a lot of them I was starting to think I had got lucky and made it through the tacks…nope! My front tyre went with a bang. I quickly repaired it and started off up the hill, passing loads more people at the side (including my whole team).

Just starting on the downhill I got my second puncture and with no more repair kit was stranded. Sadly so were hundreds of others and with the repair vans so busy further back and eventually running out of kit too I couldn’t continue and ended up walking a few miles down the road where I met some nice locals who offered to give me a lift back to Pitlochry.

All in all a bit of a disaster of a day but thanks to everyone who sponsored me anyway, the team made quite a bit of money for a very worthy cause. Thanks also to the guys at Cycle Surgery for the loan of the bikes and Dare 2b for the clothes!

Posted in Training.

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