Oh my! A big day today as it was my first “proper”ride hanging in among the Walkers big guns. Myself, Sandy Muir and Colin Doyle had agreed among ourselves that we would form a “slow” group as we had always wanted to do the legendary “Three
Fairies” Ferries ride. For the uninitiated, this is a route that takes in the Gourock-Dunoon ferry, a huckle over the hill to Colintraive, the ferry from there to Rhubodach on Bute, a quick belt round to Rothesay, then the ferry back to Wee Mrs Bay. Easy, I hear you say – half the time you spend lazing about on boats. Wrong. The hill I mentioned is a mere 20% and there are some additional undulating bits before and after it.
We met up at with the A and b groups at Gourock and off we set. A spot of drafting for the first stretch and I felt good – pootling along at a comfortable 19mph. “Great,” I thought, “I’m one of the big guns now”. Well, I was for about half an hour before getting well and truly dropped on the first set of hills. Thereafter myself, Sandy and Colin were definitely the C group. We got to the big hill after a truly sensational (in all senses of the word) downhill from Loch Tarsan. Colin and I adopted a position at the back as Sandy attacked the slope. We had just congratulated ourselves on struggling up the first incline when we rounded a bend to see Sandy off and pushing. That was the psychological advantage well and truly gubbed, I’m afraid and a spell of pushing became necessary. However, we did get back on for the top strech and made it to the top in the saddle. a smashing down then followed and a sprint (yes, a sprint) to the Colintraive ferry. The road over to Rothesay allowed us to practise some chain ganging (another new skill learned) and we managed an average speed of 17mph right over to the lunch rendezvous point where we met the B group already ensconced.
The day ended for me with the ride back from Wemyss bay to Gourock where I had left the car, and again a decent average speed of 17mph was achieved. 41 miles in total at an average speed of 14mph. Pretty good – especially in light of the hills.
So home I got, knackered and hot but reasonably pleased. Today was about testing myself over distance and routes that the top riders in the club would do. This was a hilly route I don’t think I did myself any disservice, and I now know what I have to do to become a cyclist rather than just someone who cycles. Thanks to the top guns for letting us tag along – this is why I like Walkers CC.