Today’s cycling challenge was the Fresh ‘n’ Lo Pedal for Scotland ride from Glasgow Green to Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. Although I had put down for the full century ride, Sky Ride had called their city ride for the same day and I felt that showing face was required. So the 48 mile route it was again – with its slight modification of the last mile from 2010’s route.
It was a bit drizzly when we set out from the Green but nothing too daunting considering the rain we’d had in the past two days. Neither was there much sign at this point of the forecast strong winds. I had met Laura and Yvonne who go to the Walkers Thursday ride plus some friends of theirs at the start line so we agreed to stick together over the first part of the course as they were not certain of it. The ride out of Glasgow took us through Easterhouse and over to Drumpellier Park. The first of only three real “hills” was already causing chaos as many of the less than seasoned riders found the sudden presence of some Up (only about 100 metres but an 11%) a challenge too far. Those of us who could make it up found our way blocked by riders stoppping dead in the middle of the (narrow) road while others didn’t have the sense to all walk up on the same side.
My progress to the outside of Airdrie was somewhat slower than I’d wanted but as agreed with the girls I left them there and picked up speed over to Avonbridge. There I encountered the second of the climbs -a shortish (half mile) pull out of the village. Now this time last year I found this challenging. This year I was encouraged to feel that it was fairly easy. Once over the brow of the hill, it was a long flattish stretch over to Linlithgow and a short food stop. The third climb over a two mile stretch takes one up out of Linlithgow. Frm there it is a good fast haul over to Kirliston, made less easy this time by a constant headwind. i quite unashamedly took draft from three big powerful lads and as a result averaged about 20mph over this stretch. The route then dropped into Edinburgh and we made a triumphal entry through the stadium itself. Time 3hrs 35mins which is ahlf an hour slower thn last year despite me feeling so much stronger.
It was an okay ride but marred slightly by the amount of idiotic cycling I saw. Trouble is that these mass participation rides attract less able cyclists many of whom have little bike handling and roadcraft skills. Running red lights was the least of it and I’m sure cycling lost much goodwill from several motorists who encountered idiots on the wrong side of the road etc. Next year I will go for the Sportive I think as it tends to be the “real” cyclists. And at least we didn’t get the rain and strong winds I encountered on returning to Glasgow. Sheesh!