an elite selection comprising of andy and me climbed out of burntisland in bright sunshine for the inaugural goatee of filth ride yesterday morning.
north to begin with through chipchucker alley and a gentle descent to the first section of pavé in inverkeithing.
admittedly more ronde van vlaanderen than paris-roubaix, it was steep, rough and a little scary on 70x23s.
back onto tarmac and we head west along towards the charlesberg. a kelly-esque big ring effort gets me to the top first, but breathing oot my derriere. oof!
the next secteur - a farm track along the forth shore - had sadly been tarmacadamed since my last trip. our tyres crunch through wind blown sand and we gird our loins for the toughest section of pavé.
the culross secteur is initially tame and pancake flat, but a quick double back past the palace takes you onto the real deal. steep, narrow, steep and as rough as peter van petegem's chin at 5 o'clock. we clatter and ping our way up back causeway towards gallow lane. we get a "chapeaux!" (i've translated from the local dialect) from the one-deep crowd as we pass.
culross photo by Fiona Brims
breath regained for a harem-scarem chase through central fife and round the NE end of loch leven towards the dreaded forêt d'arettyberg.
when i say dreaded, i mean very pleasant. andy dubs it "singletrack for roadies". a meandering ribbon of tarmac rises up in front of us into a lovely open forest on the lower slopes of the lomond hills.
the pace picks up as we head to the feed station to fortify our early season legs at the foot of the main climb of the day. the pillars of hercules cafe provides us with exactly the kind of stuff that a racing cyclist needs mid-ride - calories and caffeine. on the terrace. in the sun. ++
we roll past the second palace of the day and it's straight up. and up. and up. andy kindly feigns a mechanical to let me plod on in my own cloud of pain. the view from the top over east central scotland and the screaming descent into leslie is ample payback the effort on northern slopes.
turning for home through grimfife, we briefly acquire sight of a lone cyclist on the climb ahead. we lift it for a bit, but no sign of the rabbit. clearly he's vaulted a hedge to avoid being crushed by the VCM duo...
thoughts turn to food again. i know sue has prep'd soup and cake and beer at home. a gastronomic tailwind sweeps us back towards the fife riviera. just back in time to see tornado tom tear into the roubaix velodrome.
a grand day out.
130km / 5 hours / 1500m climbing. route here*.
* people who bought goatee of filth might also enjoy fife has an aiport? and ronde van fortheren.