A bike ride on familiar ground sounded like a good idea. It’s been a hard week and flying down some singletrackappealed. Bobinson arranged and I would try and make the the rendezvous as best I could, having a wee bit of work to do. I’m still an engineer, it just looks like a fanny about with outdoor gear all the time.
A hoose full of folk with the cold ensure the third or fourth sleepless night on a trot, and when I was on the road I felt just a little off colour. But the sun was shining and it was nice to meet some new folks at the Arrochar carpark, Phil’s pals Stewart and Heather. Aye, and the dug!
Phil kindly set the pressure in my tyres as I changed my shoes and that all helped to get us on the trail asap. The Glen Loin loop is always a joy, but the climb is long, and when I got to the hairpin bend where we turn back towards Loch Sloy, I knew I was in trouble. I was totally washed out, shaky legs and cold sweat already. A brief rest helped and we carried on, the banter helped too, but when I stopped for a pee on the long climb I was in real danger of falling face first into the undergrowth. I was somewhat unsteady and ended up bent over, swaying, trying to stay upright and still trying to pee in a professional manner. Unsocial splashing avoided and verticality maintained, I sat down on the track for a minute and let the waves inside me slow to a ripple.
Feeling a little better, I saddled up and caught the team up on the little flat stretch that breaks the endless upwards. My legs were gone though, and at the top I hung over the handlebars, wheezing, sweat dripping from my face onto my front tyre.
“The last time we did this, we got into the saddle and didn’t leave it again until we got here?”
“It’s not like you” said Phil.,
I hope it’s the cold and sleep and stuff and not the early onset of decrepitude. I was fine on the last Kilpatrick ride, the climb was fine, so I won’t let this worry me. Much.
A proper wee break at the top of the trail did me some good, and the downhill fun that followed was a grin restorer. I was a little tentative at times, the last ride was the one where I spun off the bike and I felt the physical effects of that one for a wee while, I think the return leg today was maybe all about restoring some confidence on the rougher ground. I did okay, I sat at the back most of the time and had just one wee off into the bracken at 0mph.
The track is so bloody rough though, such hard work. Today more than ever. I slipped behind when the little ascents appeared near the end, but I got there in much better spirits that I’d expected. Tired, but not feeling ill. I’m taking that as a victory.
We sat at the wummin-in-the-windae cafe next to the garage with lunch and banter. If the guys were annoyed at the dragging the anchor from S.S. PTC* about all day they were too kind to mention.
The hills were beautiful today, light and dark splashed across them by nature’s biggest brushes. A lot of folk out there too, always good to see. I know I’ve said it before, but this loop is brilliant, on foot or wheels it just sparkles as it evolves over the miles. It’s not always about summits.
Goodbyes were said, in fact Heather’s away to Abu Dhabi, after losing pals to Germany and the USA this year, one to Italy next year, and now someone who I’ve just met is leaving the country my abandonment issues aren’t getting any better as paranoia is creeping in.
So, off went back to work. By the time I got back into the factory, it was awash with glowing autumn colours. It was as a distracting as hell.
I was up-high and outside, changing a valve, and it was just magic. It all fitted fine, it tested okay and I was done.
I drove home to the girls, dinner and the sun slipping over the horizon. It’s coming back to its winter slot right in front of the window.
A funny day, and a good one. I hope the pain was indeed just weakness leaving my body. I’m going to bed now just in case.