(A few of the mistakes in this piece’s title are deliberate.)
So I’d effectively missed a night’s sleep this week, and felt utterly trashed. What a good state to try for 90 continuous miles. I didn’t make it.
After teaching, the bikeability folk took to the Beach House, where I slammed down two soya lattes to try to liberate some energy. The down-side was that I set off far too late, believing that I wouldn’t stop and would get home in daylight. The first 35 miles went fine – the hills through Uphall and approaching Blackridge, which previously have been painful slogs, didn’t feel too taxing. I did stop to walk through Airdrie town centre but that was mostly because I wanted to buy some water and find a toilet – my camel bak’s contents had transferred to my bladder.
The stretch from Airdrie to Glasgow Queen Street station (as I vaguely remember – I’m writing 7 days after the event) was also as pleasant as cycling along a pot-holed busy road can be. So the Portobello to Glasgow leg (48·5 miles) took 3 hours and 20 minutes of pedalling, so I averaged 14·5 mph. Here’s the cyclemeter map. Previously it’s taken me over 4 hours to cycle from central Edinburgh to Glasgow (around 44 miles), so I was quite pleased with this result. But because of the stops, it was now after 5pm, so there was no chance of getting home before dark
I have a lot of traditions – one of them is eating fries and onion rings whenever I’ve cycled to Glasgow. If I’ve just done something healthy, then I need to restore the universe’s balance with some fried starch. It would have been perfection if Buggery Queen sold diet Irn Bru, but they don’t, so I feel quite justified in renaming them.
Setting off again showed why the leg to Glasgow had been so easy. I now had a nasty headwind, so I assume that I’d benefitted from a tailwind on the outward leg. The pull up and out of Glasgow was unpleasant – there was lots of swearing as I limped through North Lanarkshire, and frantic calculations of how long it would take to achieve a respectable drop-out. Could I get to Armadale before it got dark? Would my legs last as far as Bathgate? No. A combination of rain, dark, sore knees and chafed unmentionables stopped me at Caldercruix. Only 16 miles, taking 90 minutes of cycling, so under 11mph on average. Bah! And 30 minutes of stopped time in that journey, although a lot of that was for traffic-lights – I think I hit red at every possible opportunity. Double bah! Please don’t look at the stats under the cyclemeter map – they’re just too embarrassing!