Etape Loch Ness

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If you happen to be new to cycling or a fledgling sportive rider then I can point you towards this event with security that you will be well looked after and blown away by the scenery once you stop chewing your handle bars on the lengthy king of the mountains section.

The profile is a mix of flat, undulating and challenging terrain based effectively on the principle of you riding a lap of the Loch.

Registration the day before the event is painless though this unavoidable necessity meant I had to forego the Rovers Falkirk game. With no wifi in our Strathpeffer digs I acknowledge my thanks to BBC Alba for their coverage.

A 6.17am start means I am on the road for the ridiculous time of 5.20am wondering if I should have foregone the whole thing and joined the Kilmarnock fans in the hotel bar the night before to seek solace at the bottom of a pint.

Ultimately I’m glad I didn’t, I meet my mate with ease and we talk Rovers for the first 30 miles before he shoots if to try for the best possible KOM time. I hang back for fear of being disqualified as I am riding with my wife’s race number having got my kit ready in the dark. A later check and I got it about right taking an extra 10 minutes just keeps me out of the results for the top 40 female cyclists.

I had 2 excuses planned if caught;
A) I am in the early stages of gender reassignment
B) the full sleeve tattoos, hairy pins and 5 o’clock shadow are commonplace for lady folk where I come from given I live a stones throw from the Bowhill miners club I’m not sure which of the 2 may have been more believable!

I settle in to the last 35 with a group of riders from; Chester Road club, Cog Velo and Kinross cycle club. Feeling decent I have a go at following the wheel in front in earnest and true to the science it sees a similar pain output reflected in a much faster speed. I even put in a Jens Voigt style last 5 mile to help a guy break the 4 hour ride time he was aiming for.

My own ride time justifies the efforts to be there as without hammering it I sneak in with a decent time. Cheers to my pal Alex for the banter and the volunteers for a great day, the ice cream at House if Bruar on the way home was much needed.

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Tour to France- Raith Rovers website

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Raith.net

Pushing pedals for McCrae’s Battalion is the task facing RaithTV’s David Hancock as he takes on a challenge to cycle from Stark’s Park to Contalmaison in France this summer.

July 1st 2016 will see the Centenary commemorations for the Battle of the Somme take place in the French village of Contalmaison. These will mark the contribution made by McCrae’s Battalion which was named the Sporting Battalion as it included football players and supporters of Raith Rovers, Hearts, Hibs, Falkirk, Dunfermline Athletic and East Fife.

David shared that, “having chatted the idea over with Major Tait MBE (Chairman of the McCrae’s Battalion Trust) when I interviewed him for RaithTV in October last year I am now committed to cycle the 670 miles to the French village arriving for the memorial service.”

On behalf of Raith Rovers, Tom Phillips (Director) commented “The Battalion are an important part of Raith Rovers’ history and we have been proud to show our respect through our ‘RemembeR’ away strip for the past few years. This sponsored ride extends our links and it is also exciting to see one of our supporters represent the club in such a positive manner.“

David’s voice will be recognised by many as part of the RaithTV team providing game time commentary and match day manager interviews. Raithrovers.net caught up with Manager Ray McKinnon who added, “We wholeheartedly support David in his efforts and encourage our supporters to donate to the fundraising efforts. It’s a big ask but with good planning, training and support he can definitely do it.“

David’s planning and preparation can be followed at: https://coaltownvelocity.wordpress.com/sponsor-me/

while donations can be made at: https://www.givey.com/mbtcycle

It is with thanks that we acknowledge the sponsors who have helped so much to make the event possible: fosterplus.co.uk, Leslie Bike Shop, the Raith Rovers Community Foundation; Jim McMillan Club, Raith 200 club, Raith Trust, Rovers down south and Raith Rovers supporters club.

March training

Little by little was the plan and in essence I have made part of that become reality as I think I’m managing a little bit too few miles and a little bit too many days off the bike. What has really surprised me is the amount of extra work an endeavour such as the sponsored cycle takes to get off the ground. I have no idea how I would be feeling if the level of support had been anything other than first class.

Anyway enough of the yacking, the scores on the doors for this month were;

Dreary gym visits X3, trainerroad sessions x1, road rides x2

Monthly mileage 386.5 miles which is just a tad under 900 miles for the year (892.9 to be specific)

What’s been most surprising for me as I commit to my first proper effort at structured training is the reality that the famous Greg Lemond quote doesn’t seem to apply to my  cycling tale;

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“It never gets easier, you just go faster” well Greg it seems it doesn’t get easier and in my case I don’t appear to go faster, however the support of generous sponsors and big hearted supporters does make the limited increase in pace more irrelevant than I expected it would be.

In the coming weeks I have a decision to make about target speeds for the trip, I had intended on using an average club riders pace of 15-16 mph though some chat in the local bike shop with some cycle tourists and the owner who has chalked up a couple of lejog/jogle trips seems to be step back a bit and get your head up from the stem in order to maximise the enjoyment of this amazing opportunity. We will see in the coming weeks.

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