Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Moffat - Dunoon

Miles 98 today
In 7hrs 35 mins burning 3281 Kcal climbing 6120ft

Miles total 969
In 64hrs 28mins burning 30519 Kcal climbing 43033ft
Most miles in a day : 106.2

Today was always going to be something of a mix, chuck in the wind and horizontal rain, and it becomes much more fun.

Unusually it was dry, but cool as I left the B&B this morning. As there was no transfer from the B&B to the start, I was on the road just after 9am. Back on the old A74. The wind was forecast from the west, but had turned and troubled me as I headed up the valley which contains the railway, river, motorway and old road. It climbed consistently, with relief from the wind coming at intervals from groups of trees beside the road.

It took an hour and a half to reach Abington, 18miles up the road. I called in the shop and bought a couple of cakes, and ate one. Put the other in my pocket. It started to rain heavily so I hid in the porch and text Denise “Abington”. Looked out and she had just pulled up.

I turned north west, still with the motorway, but now it was further away. We had broken our 40 run north together. There were road works the road was being re-laid. I didn’t care I was on the cycle way, which ran some distance from the road. All was well.

At Junction 12 I turned right onto the A70 and thought I had made a wrong decision in planning. It went up to a howling gale and had large lorries on it. Somewhat of a culture shock. I rode on the path for a bit, until giving up as it turned to mud. For 13 miles and an hour and a half I rode on the A70. Most of the time it was head wind, I was riding in my bottom 4 gears, climbing gears on the more or less flat. When it started to rain I tried to hide behind a small tree to get my coat on, but I was nearly blown over. Then I had to go and ride it in, no point in standing there getting cold and wet. There was no shelter.

When it came time to turn off I missed the turn, but realised within 100 yards. I turned slightly north, there were a few more trees, and there was less traffic. It started to rain again, I could see the black cloud coming towards me. I hid behind a large beech. The rain was heavy, water ran in sheets across the road and I leaned against the tree, dry and out of the wind. In 5 minutes when the rain subsided, I thanked the tree, hugged it, and rode on.

This pattern extended for hour after hour, the only change was that I turned north and west, fighting against the wind, then to stay in a straight line. The roads were more minor in nature, but the traffic is really quite kind to cyclists anyway.

Finally I could see a range of hills ahead. I really hoped they were the north side of the Clyde and I wouldn’t have to climb them, but the Cldye was the other side.

Denise was at the roadside 2 or 3 times, I can’t really remember, willing me on and feeding me.

Finally, it was one big drop into Greenock. It is a big place and part way across and with about 4 miles to go the Sat Nav batteries gave up. I rode a bit further and restarted it, I could see which way to go, and then it would pack up after a minute or so. Doing this 3 of 4 times got me to the ferry to Dunoon. Denise was there at the terminal and we put the bike on the roof and went straight onto the ferry

It was all really quite surreal. I knew I would get to the end, there was and is no other option. I just kept eating and drinking and moving forward. I didn’t think it would take quite this long though.

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