Day 5 – 11th August
Luss/Erskine Bridge/Paisley/Clarkston/Kilmarnock/Cumnock/Thornhill/Auldgirth – 107 miles
A routine has developed. Essential when team work is involved. Alarm at 6.00 and up. Trev busys himself by starting to tidy up the van for transit whilst Bob and I get porridge, fruit and a cup of tea/coffee inside us. I also put the heat pad for my ungrateful Achilles in the ‘popty ping’. Then a shower, to warm up rather more than wash, then into our cycling gear. Even with the benefit of Trev’s support we need to think carefully of what we need, how many layers, long or short, arm warmers, sunglasses (ha!). Trev is never far away but we have quickly got cold on a few occasions and even overheated on another so careful planning is important. Then we load the bikes, lights, Garmin, water, saddlebags, check/pump the tyres and give it a quick once over, go over the schedule for the day and then off.
Once Trev has packed the van and done any chores, shopping/petrol, he catches us up and shutters ahead of us from layby to layby. Most days we have looked to have lunch around the midpoint, otherwise Trev is available every 10 miles or so and we stop if we need something. Sometimes we just sail past.
We met Arne early in the day, a Dutchman from Utrecht. He had been cycling in the Highlands for two weeks and had covered 800 kms on an off-road bike. Very impressive. Today was his last day and he was headed for Glasgow Airport. Boy could he talk, even Bob couldn’t get a word in. And he talked so fast. I couldn’t work out whether that was how he spoke normally or whether we simply made him nervous! Anyway we agreed with him on one point, Scottish roads are “bad”. His word, cos’ frankly I would use atrocious. Some of the surfaces rattle your teeth, they certainly jar the hands, and as for the under carriage …….
Sadly we left the Highlands today down to Glasgow, across to Kilmarnock (not holiday destination) and then down through the borders. It rained a bit but nothing like the previous days and all in all it was a good day, the most miles we will do on any day. For me it was a first – the first time I have cycled over 100 miles in one day. I was due to cycle the London 100 two weekends ago and would have clocked up my first 100 miles then, but bumped my place to next year on the basis that my ungrateful Achilles would have objected!
We made a slight detour in the morning to visit my cousin Helen in Glasgow for coffee and croissant. Old friends John and Morag joined us from Edinburgh. I ended up wearing my coffee when the handle came off my mug. Bob could not contain his mirth, so much so he ended up on the floor. I owe you Bob!
Apparently Bob wears two pairs of cycling shorts. And there was me thinking he had a big bum!
Miles to go – 625