Back to the normality of work this week after completing the Etape Loch Ness last weekend, the first of my 5 Challenge events in order to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The journey up to Inverness on Saturday took us through snow storms in the high passes, a bit of a taste of what was to catch some on the ride on Sunday.
Out of 3,300 riders, my start number was 3,143, down in the final wave of 200 riders to head out from Inverness, heading south along the western banks of the Loch.
After 55km into the route as you leave Fort Augustus, there is a 4.8 mile (9km) climb gaining nigh on 400m in height. The climb heads up in three steps with most of the first part reaching 12%. I managed to stay on the bike all the way to the summit, to be met by a piper and snow falling. I was nowhere near the King of the Mountain title but at least made it into the top half for all riders.
My finishing place was 2,186. I passed more riders on the road than those who overtook me. Although this was not a race for me, I am still rather pleased with my finishing position. Perhaps I should be a little more optimistic with my anticipated ride times in future so I am not always starting rides from the back as it can be hard when chasing after those in front.
Either way, the aim was to complete the ride and I did that in a respectable time of 5 hours 10 mins (or 4.29:39 for my actual cycling time). Not bad for an overweight middle aged man in lycra!
A great event and well run but cyclists, come on, stop dropping so much litter on the way round, so many gel wrappers and solitary gloves left on the road!?
Next up is London to Paris in July so back to the training for me!