Friday, July 28, 2017

Brewin Dolphin Ochils 100 mile Sportive 2017

My last post was about hoping to get fit and lose weight in preparation for doing the Brewin Dolphin 100 Mile Ochils Sportive. As ever, these things approach pretty rapidly and I've now done it. How did it go? And did I get skinny!?

Overall- have to say it went well. It was a great day for the event with bright weather and light wind speeds. After a quick visit to the portaloos for some last minute weight loss we queued up behind the corporate entries who enjoyed priority starting positions, posh sponsored jerseys and nicer cludgies no doubt. Daf had done well to even be at the start line- a visually impaired Audi driver had knocked him off, wrecking his back and his prized Dolan a week before the event. Luckily he had yet another carbon Ultegra machine as back up. After a few minutes we were off, with un- registered 'Geraint Thomas' Gray leaving us in the dust as he chased the corporate vampires.

Meanwhile we stuck in a loose group for much of the ride. I had my £700 iPhone set up perilously on my bars via a silicon rubber thing I'd got out of Anne Summers. It was flopping about alarmingly but in the blur I could see an average speed of 29 km/hr (18.8 mph) indicated. This was faster than I'd been going in training and we still had a lot of distance left to cover. Not being familiar with any of the roads I was reluctant to give it the beans anywhere  and started getting the fear about blowing up. I pleaded a few times over the day to drop the pace back and luckily it did as we calmed down. 

(L-R) JP, Daf, Eric, me, Matt, Andy, Alan.

We wound our way round and over the Ochils into Perthshire with one small (but potentially serious) incident up on the A823 beside the River Devon. An idiot overtook us into oncoming traffic causing us all to have to brake. Eric came off his bike at the back of the group but fortunately he was unscathed. We passed Andy's young family in Auchterarder and eventually hit the road back to Fife via Path of Condie from Dunning. This climb has the the nickname of 'The Dragon' and it lived up its reputation being the toughest of the event. Steep and sustained at the 110km mark, it gave a 3km climb at an average of 6% with a hard 20% middle bit through some very steep corkscrew bends. This was gruelling physically but the weather was good and the sociable atmosphere made it enjoyable. 

On we trundled into darkest Fife until a heavy thundery shower hit forcing us to hide under the canopy of a wood for a minute. We set off again on soaking roads as Cleish hill reared up. Surely there couldn't be more like this? Why didn't I study the route profile? Is this the way to Amarillo? As I caught up the group they were at a standstill. Matt's chain had decided it'd had enough as he neared the top and snapped in disgust. Showing the skillz of a man who takes N + 1 to an art form he had it back together rapid style and we were off in a couple of minutes. 

The final section of these things always takes forever, but we eventually wound our way round to a wet finish on the edge of Loch Leven. Strava says I'd managed to maintain an average speed of 24.8 km/hr (15.4 mph). I was fairly chuffed with that- having tiny weans precluded anything quicker. Compared to my previous Sportive (the Glesga- Embra 112 miler) I actually felt good getting off the bike. It's amazing what electrolyte replacements and gels can do for your wellbeing! On the pies front I hadn't managed to lose a lot of weight (maybe a few pounds) but at least it was a start.

But what the hell- it was a good event. Well organised, a challenging course with decent food stations. Good value too. I celebrated my success by pulling a risky Sagan style wheelie over the wet finish line but only the guy in the finishing booth clocked it! There's never a talent scout when you need one. 

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