This weekend was the Etape Caledonia. For some reason I thought it might be a good idea to sign up, you know 81 miles on a bike in Perthshire, why not? This is us arriving in Pitlochry, Jennifer bringing the essentials of bananas and champagne of course.
It’s a special sportive as it is all on closed roads, providing you manage to ride it at more than 13mph average and thus staying ahead of the broom wagon. I was really worried that I would get swept up by said vehicle.
5000 cyclists. Something pretty incredible about that sight and prospect. I’m a slow coach by comparison to my pals who were also riding, so I went at my own pace and because I’m slow I didn’t really manage to get to ride in any groups at all. I was out by the end somewhere so the faster folks whose wakes I could have ridden in for a while were long gone.
The route is stunning, the weather was with a five minute exception, stunning and just what you would want for such a thing. I only got knocked off once, completley by accident, the gentleman misjudged the sharpness of the corner and shoved me off the road. Thank you to the kind spectator who picked me up and gave me a push start up the really steep hill we were on. I was joined by a red squirrel for a wee while as it ran along the dyke at the side of the road around the loch.
There are locals out along the route cheering people on while sitting drinking tea at picnic tables or with glasses of wine aloft, cow bells a plenty and the atmosphere was great. The marshalls and feed station crews were wonderfully friendly and helpful. Thank you to everyone that worked to make the event happen so smoothly. I really enjoyed it and am still in a state of shock that I did actually manage it. It took me till the 65mile mark to believe that I might just finish it in time. Amazingly I felt pretty much fine on Monday too, might have been thanks to the spa treatments and the champagne.