Lovely dinner out last night with some of the guys, treated myself to 10 Oz 40 day matured Scottish Beef Steak!!
Hostel accomodation sharing a room with 7 blokes really is something for your teens & twenties, and having given it a second go a third was not an option, big thanks to the lovely Tina from Peak-Tours who has found me my own double with en-suite for tonight instead of Inverness YHA!! Double bed, private en-suite, plugs, tea making facilities & shortbread biscuits!
All talk last night was about the cycle up to Glen Shee ski station & how today’s challenge of Lecht would compare.
Glen Shee had a long long run up that gradually increased in gradient to about 12% for the last km but was made really difficult by the headwind.
Today’s challenge had a 20% gradient come from almost nowhere, round a corner, see the sign and bam up you try! This 20% must have gone on for close on a km, twisting & turning with no let up in gradient. I was out of the saddle, learnt far over the handle bars, gasping for air, streaming in sweat, trying to keep the pedals turning, legs & lungs screaming AND HAVING NO IDEA WHEN IT WAS GOING TO END!!
Finally seeing the crest I looked expectantly for the morning brew van, no van, and then infront of me was a descent and the road continued up & up and up again like three escalators. These ‘slopes’ were slightly less brutal, and each about 150/200 metres long at maybe 12/13% which was manageable compared to before although the legs are screaming.
Finally the top, a short sharp fast descent to catch your breathe & the brew van was waiting outside the ski station with its table laden with goodies so badly needed!
All talk of course was on what we had achieved, however Sam cautioned that there was another climb after the following 10km decent. Nothing like as bad but just to be aware…
Well yes it didn’t compare but with legs still in recovery we quickly found ourselves again trying to find the oxygen and the willpower to climb another km of 12% of switchbacks again with no idea how long it would last!!
But that was now the hardest behind us, or so we are lead to believe, not that tomorrow looks exactly flat!
So the remaining 50 miles of the day brought us off the mountains and slowly lower & lower back to farmland & trees having left the moorland type landscape of the Highland passes.
And so we arrive at Inverness
The body is tired & sore but with a lunch stop & afternoon brew stop the survival is breaking the day into bite size chunks and just keep ticking down the mileage while talking bollocks with my co-rider John!
Day 12, two to go, and Nikki flying up & trying to find me in the middle of nowhere north of Inverness late tomorrow night!! With the final day and finish being a joint & family affair along with some new found friends.