Deloitte RAB 2012 - An Adventure? Day 7

Breakfast at just after 5am and I was lucky enough to sit with brilliant but slightly bleary eyed Scottish skier Alain Baxter for breakfast who had taken a train at around 4 this morning to ride with us today, hmm not the best choice of day, hope that was worth it. I was grateful for the distraction from the terror that lay ahead. He confided that he was used to the type of riding that takes place round a track for about 20 seconds so he was also, I think, feeling a little nervous. It was a quick breakfast though as I had to get to the start line very early being one of the slower riders who, realistically, might not even make it through the day.

by Jax Fanshawe   October 14, 2012  

Deloitte RAB 2012 Glen Coe

Breakfast at just after 5am and I was lucky enough to sit with brilliant but slightly bleary eyed Scottish skier Alain Baxter for breakfast who had taken a train at around 4 this morning to ride with us today, hmm not the best choice of day, hope that was worth it.  I was grateful for the distraction from the terror that lay ahead.  He confided that he was used to the type of riding that takes place round a track for about 20 seconds so he was also, I think, feeling a little nervous.  It was a quick breakfast though as I had to get to the start line very early being one of the slower riders who, realistically, might not even make it through the day.

We cycled right through Glasgow and then the scenery began to open out as we headed for the dramatic landscape of the Trossachs and onto Rannoch Moor.  There were 4 pitstops today to keep us going but they were all to be short and sweet as we battled to keep ahead of the cut off time and the dreaded grasp of the Broom Wagon.  The Broom Wagon is the bus and trailer following us every day that scoops up the riders who for whatever reason are not going to make it, be it injury, tiredness, hypothermia or just lack of speed.  It has a looming presence behind us and a friend of mine pictures it with a huge Jaws like grin snapping at your back wheel while you pedal furiously to outrun it; never more so than today.  Today, the Broom wagon is an extra large version of the monster.  The prediction was that many will not make it before the sun goes down.  The prediction was correct; we lost approximately 40 riders along the way.

I lost a contact lens at the first pit stop, which was irritating, I rubbed my eye and the wind took it.  I am pretty short sighted so I spent the rest of the day trying to get used to the fuzzy picture or riding one eyed, consequences of which will be covered later on...
 

So far the weather hadn’t been as bad as had been predicted thank goodness.  Occasional misty rain gave way to multiple rainbows across Rannoch Moor, we rode past lochs and waterfalls and then the mountains really began to rise on either side, dwarfing us as we rode up and onto Glen Coe.  This is where the loss of my lens caught up with me.  The stronger riders were helping the weaker ones more than ever today and a very kind chap offered to ride in front of me.   Just as he took up his position in my hazy view I went into the back of him and promptly keeled over on the tarmac.  The bruise at the top of my left thigh has been pretty spectacular, I took a picture for posterity and perhaps a bit of kudos with my young sons.  Riding 100+ miles a day they don’t really understand but huge brilliant blue bruises, they get. 

The weather wasn’t great but although we were exhausted, psychologically (that word again) we were heading to the 100 mile mark and were looking forward to the last 30 miles being downhill or flat.  Unfortunately as we crested Glen Coe and began to come down the other side we realised that someone had forgotten to mention the gale force winds coming up the other way.  Reports vary between 30 & 80 mph (depending on how many beers) but we were literally doing about 8mph downhill.  That nearly finished us all off.  It was a matter of head down, grit your teeth and just keep pedalling.  Just when we all thought we could go no further, the final pit stop arrived, a final recharge of cake and dairy milk, the road turned to the East and we found some mystical untapped energy.  The last 15 miles flew by at about 25 mph as we got our ‘home straight spurt’ on, desperate to end this day’s ride.

We arrived at the camp at the foot of a very rainy looking Ben Nevis, barely able to stand, sit (unsurprisingly) or speak, exhaustion heavy but elation emerging because not only had we had managed to conquer another rather challenging day but the fact that there were unbelievably only 2 more days to go was beginning to sink in very slowly.  Since it was already 730pm (yes more than 12 hours had been spent on those saddles) we just had time to eat whilst exchanging our ever increasingly dramatic stories, shower, stuff some kit into the genius Muds and Suds overnight Laundry, listen to the briefing and fall into bed.  Surely the worst is over....

1 user comments

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This was my worst day and I did it a little over 9hrs (and two punctures). I was exhausted, but really felt for those that crawled in after me.

The most annoying thing was that the bar at Fort William was a shambles. It took them forever to pour a pint, which did nothing for the frustrated and exhausted riders. My worst day on a bike, but Day 8 changed all that!

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1174 posts]
16th November 2012 - 12:57

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