With this year being messed up regarding events I was a bit surprised that the Cairngorm Loop https://www.cairngormsloop.net/ was going ahead. I’ve had previous on this, I got to Aviemore at 160km when I got an email stating that one of the burns (rivers) ahead was impassible. I’m not exactly happy around water, especially rivers in spate, so decided to scratch (quit).
So it was a bit of an unprepared line up at the group start in Blair Atholl. The TR training obviously paid off as I got to the first possible resupply point at 80km some 45mins quicker than previously. The next 20km is the crux and is has a lot of unrideable terrain, still I got to the Linn of Dee nearly two hours up. The next hard section was done in the dark and by the time I got to Aviemore I was on the same time, just before 1am! It was raining by now so I started to look for somewhere to get a couple of hours’ sleep. I eventually found an old horse box next to the route and got my head down - at least it was dry.
I was up and away at 0600 but it was soon obvious that I’d a lack of mileage this year, just no oomph. Things were made worse by a stiffening head wind. I went through the next village before the shops had opened so I had to carry on for another 40km to Braemar where I spent an hour refuelling and, errm, attending to delicate areas The next 20km were painful because of the headwind - roughly double the time I normally do it in. I also started to get a bit of cramp on this section so had to walk some flat sections. I also had to walk the last technical section because the wind was so blustery - even so I fell over a couple of times, being upside down on a 40 degree slope of wet heather above a swollen highland river with your bike on top of you isn’t fun.
I basically lost it at this point so rather than finishing by what’s known as “the sting in the tale” I bailed down the easy glen. A decision made easier by the dark looking storm heading towards me which wouldn’t have been fun 400m higher on the tops - a mate said he was blown off the bike a couple of times!
I feel like I’ve been through a full twelve rounds with Mike Tyson AND a game of American Football without any padding! My intervals.icu fitness chart suggests I do nothing until next week.
Here’s my Strava file - https://www.strava.com/activities/4063918989