One of the biggest benefits of the Scott Contessa school is that it has given me new circle of cycling friends to go out with, most of whom are of my own ability level or slightly better. I have managed to go out on several occasions now with all or some of them at a time and I honestly believe tha my own ability has increased because of it. This includes the marvellous occasion a few weeks back when we set off from East Kilbride in glorious sunshine only to pass across a definite snow line an hour later. Quarter of an hour after than I realised that I could not get my left cleat to engage. A closer inspection reveal a hard-packed lump of ice which just would not come out. An early coffee stop allowed me to remove the shoe and heat it up over the cafe heater long enough to then prise out the ice block with the end of my coffee spoon – none of which was at all hygienic.
But I digress. Sunday’s “girls’ ride” was from Sandra’s house outside Gartocharn heading over to Aberfoyle and then up over the Duke’s Pass to Loch Katrine. Thereafter, we did the full circuit of the Loch before returning along more or less the same route as our outward journey. Duke’s Pass is one of the better-known climbs in this part of the world, and while it is not by any means the fiercest, it is nevertheless challenging. And for once I managed to get up in one go – not bonnie to watch but I got there. The trip round Loch Katrine threw up a few slopes which were steeper grades than I’d remembered, but the coffee stop (another one? Will people think this the real reason I go cycling?) soon put life back in the legs that by now were getting fairly damp as the rain had started to come down.
A ten mile stretch into a headwind saw us back at Sandra’s. The Garmin stats showed 4000 feet of climbing with a maximum grade of 18%, a couple of 11%s and an awful lot of 6- 9%. And all that at an average speed of 14mph which made me no end pleased.
So, this ride went some considerable way to making up for the previous week’s disappointing Arran trip. Good. Must have been the jet-lag after all.