Daybreak over oats and haggis

After a previous “carbo load” at Wetherspoons the previous evening, the Cycling Knights were confronted with the worlds biggest, big boys brekkie. Three variations of black pudding on each oversized plate is but one example and set the boys up for the day ahead. The only downside was that the good weather had broken meaning that the guys set off on their long, early morning climb in the wet. The rest of the day would take in some stiff challenges.

Rendezvous with friendly faces.

The first 30, incident free miles meant that the team were able to get to the Forth Road Bridge in time to meet up as scheduled with some friends (Matt and Helen). Fuelled with well wishes, the group then pedalled across the Iconic Bridge which swayed in the breeze and vibrated under the weight of passing heavies. Another bridge is under construction alongside, although none of us could work out why another one was needed. bridge picture

Missing you already

It was Bill’s turn to spring a puncture, this time whilst negotiating the Edinburgh suburb of Leith. To keep up the progress, Bill insisted that the rest of the team forge ahead to the prearranged lunch stop with Keith, our roadie. All sounded like a plan but the problem was that the next 10 miles through and beyond the city were exclusively on cycle routes that Keith and the can with trailer could not get close to. As a result, lunch was delayed..

Dirty tricks and subterfuge?

The banter and competitive rivalry between Mike and Bagggie that had developed over the past 12 months in the gym, finally boiled over into a racing incident. Following urgent repairs that claimed to have fixed a mechanical issue, further and more serious wheel and gear defects were later discovered. Through piecing together peoples’ movements, it became apparent that Baggie had been seen loitering around the unprotected bike during the material times and had a wheel tampering, case to answer. By sheer coincidence later in the day, Baggie just happened to be adjacent when the defects caused Mike to fall. In a kangaroo court that evening, Baggie was found guilty of sabotage in his absence.

“even the sheep are hiding from the rain”

To be frank, it persisted down all day. The fine drizzle turned to stair rods, turned to driving sheet rain. This made for treacherous cycling conditions and slower progress. The Knights got a thorough soaking. The route took the team up and over the Border hills a bleak landscape where hardly anything lives. The roads were long and steep and the few animals that did exist were scattered across the uplands in small, huddled groups and against the dry (??) stone walls. .

leaning into the wind

So wet and cold did the Knights get that they even resorted to lifting the bonnet of the mini bus and taking it in turns to to snatch some heat from the engine block

round the block

Home, sweet home …not

What the riders needed more than anything after their battering by the elements were the essentials from their overnight accommodation, a “camping barn”. Top of the list of requirements were hot showers, heating and wi-fi, to enable communication with the outside world. None of these were available on arrival, testing the resolve and resilience of the bedraggled riders. A hot pasta meal and log fire did their best to soften the blow but it was still far from ideal.

Faced with the prospects of wet kit in the morning and no hot shower, the Knights retired to their bunks, eventually drifting off to the rhythm of snoring and assorted other noises.