Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fifeing Eejit 2 - Selkirk - Road

I heard about these events through a friend I used to cycle with until he got serious about doing a decent speed and couldn't go slow for me any more.  The event comprised of a 92/46 mile Road course on the Saturday and a 28/46/70/85km Marathon route on the Sunday.

Both looked interesting so I signed up for both without thinking about how difficult it would be.


The Road events are tagged onto a popular MTB series so are not as well known as the MTB routes although I don't know why as this was a cracking route with a set of decent climbs over the 92 miles.

I of course shot off like a "rocket"... Partly by not thinking of the distance, partly by taking everyone elses speed as an indicator of how fast to go and basically just being daft and inexperienced.
This was despite Andy holding back with me and his Dad and commenting on my speed...

The route climbed sharply out of the Selkirk Rugby Ground towards the village and then up onto the hillside above, before plummeting on a twisty descent downtowards the A7 at Woll.

Me and Andy high on the moors above Selkirk, wonder if Richard Hannay is hiding from the 39 Steps somewhere up here?
Photo by Right Place Right Time

There was little level ground before climbing again and dropping to the first feed station of the day and the route split point.  I was still feeling good so set off on the 92mile route as intended.

This again saw little flat ground before starting to climb again towards Eskdalemuir, unfortuantely this was a fairly light climb and I didn't notice and averaged 24kmh up it before being treated to an excellent fast descent down to the Bhudist Temple. Part of this extra speed came from me shooting off as Andy stayed back with his Dad after a small accident, I didn't feel like going as slow and I thought they would catch up after a wee bit!

The road from Eskdalemuir village to Boreland would be a cracking road if it wasn't for the road surface, I'm out on a steel bike with 28c tyres and was battered around, anyone out on 20mm Tubs...

I stopped at the feed station in Boreland and waited for Andy to catch up, I was jsut about contemplating going on as they arrived, I scoffed a bag of Jelly Babies I had been carrying, this should have been a warning, I still felt good though.

Andy shot off to find a tree and I followed with Andy's Dad not far behind, the road was climbing comfortably again until a horrible short sharp brutal section with a 23% gradiant just past Moffat, for the first time in ages I stopped on a hill on the road.  Andy's Dad wasn't far behind and he passed me as I stopped, this was the last I would see of him for the day.

From now on I was struggling, the descent was followed by a long climb with 17% sections, I was helped along by a couple of guys wearing "Glentress Riders" gear for most of the way after this, they even waited at the finish line for me with Andy.

A short respite to the St Mary's Loch and a quick stop at the cafe... I should have bought some cake and liquid but I only stopped to use the public facilities next door (what was that about not thinking?).

A short undulting section with a brutal head wind followed (all winds are "brutal" on the road, except for perfect tailwinds of course) to the last feed station, I snaffled what I could while making sure there was something left for anyone still out there (I wasn't quite dead last on the road!) but it was too late for taking on more energy.

That final climb, I'm not enjoying it as much as I may be trying to make it look.
Photo by Right Place Right Time
The road then hikes up onto the hills between Yarrow Feus and Ettrick bridge, this is a nasty sting in the legs for the spent forces, a tough single track climb which the photographer had started to descend to get the stragglers by the time I was passing him not too far from the summit, followed by a tough descent, not many chances to get speed up as visibility was limited and I discovered my disc brakes making interesting noises when called on to brake that much!

The good news now was I was over the last hill, downhill all the way into Selkirk where the MTB Past Party was about to get into swing, I still had room for a cheeseburger later on!

GPS Tracking:
Computer Stats:
6hrs 58 min 8 sec
21kmh average
63.6kmh top speed

Official: 7:42:51
See: for other details