Last Saturday I travelled slightly further North to Glencalvie for the Rotary Club Challenge. In years past the challenge has started at Aultguish on the Ullapool road finishing 19 miles later at Glencalvie. This year however the challenge was upped to 39 miles making it an altogether bigger challenge for everyone. With the start and finish being at Glencalvie this year the logistics were made a whole lot easier for the organisers instead of having to deal with the headache of a point to point. The race route took us West into Gleann Mor and Deanich Lodge followed by Strath Vaich out onto the Ullapool road at Black bridge down to Inchbae where the route turned off road again taking in Strath Rannoch. The remainder of the route had riders retracing their tracks to Deanich Lodge and the finish at Glencalvie.
I was happy with my preparations in the lead up to the event and it was immediately clear that I was going to have a race on my hands right from the get go. I decided I had to go with the early move or I would be leaving myself too much work to get back on, so chase it down I did. It became evidently clear early on that I had a battle on my hands, Fitness and strength not a problem but 29" V's 26" I had not really experienced before but it took a fair bit of effort simply trying to keep with my competitor on the flat sections. As we started climbing I pulled a small lead and increased it on each descent only to be caught again on the flat to rolling stuff and so there developed a pattern that was to be repeated for the whole race. We both tried on various occasions to attack each other but there was no shaking either of us. This had me working out in my head where I was going to make the decisive move but when each point arrived it wasn't quite going as planned. As we approached the latter stages the pace shot through the roof and I found myself struggling to hold on with me experiencing twinges of cramp, I thought the game was up. This is where I had a lot of thoughts going through my head with the overriding one being that I couldn't come all this way to falter at this late stage so with one last kicker to get to the last mile of rolling track I dug pretty deep to get back on, finally bridging the gap on the very last descent. From here there was nothing else left for me to do but draft to the finish where I made the perfect jump within sight of the finish. I had done it crossing the line after 2hours 52minutes of racing with a slim 1 second advantage.
I was presented with my medal and Go-outdoor voucher from Iain Mackintosh president of the Inverness Culloden Rotary club.
Now I have to mention my fellow competitor for making it such a fantastic race. I had never come across Barry Scrimgeour or raced against a 29er before but they both made me work harder than I have done in a long time.
That's me for just now folks I'm still buzzing from it. What I want to know though is what everyone else is up to? Far too quiet on here for far too long..............