Last Sunday was a fantastic day out. A real road trip.
A few months ago I was asked by Stevie Blom from CTT Scotland if I could video the course for the inaugural Tour of Glencoe Time Trial which is scheduled for Sunday 14th May this year. Naturally I jumped at the chance. I’ll do anything, particularly if it involves riding a bike.
I spent the past few weeks digging out the GoPro and Garmin Virb, attaching them to various bikes and testing them to make sure I can remember how to operate them to ensure this whole episode will tell the story that Stevie’s looking to tell via social media.
So last Sunday after the splendid drive and blethering all the way with Amanda via Crianlarich over Rannoch Moor and down into the jaws of Glencoe we arrived at Ballachulish village hall to be greeted by Emma who had made another long trip from Ayrshire. And then Ewen and (fellow 2016 Scottish 50 mile TT and BAR champion) Catriona MacGillivray arrived on bike having cycled up from Oban.
Last but not least to arrive were Stevie and Willie Cosh from CTT Scotland. Great all here. Now what do we do?
My plan was to send Amanda out on her TT bike in her new RT23 team skin suit to cruise around the course with me and a few others filming her progress around the twisty, testing, undulating and hilly parcours. As always, there were a few technical issues to deal with. Technology has a way of reminding me why I jacked in IT three years to pursue my real passion. And today was no exception.
But back to riding and not the nuances of formatting memory cards and Bluetooth. Wonderful course! Thankfully we had Ewen to lead out Amanda and to point out any dangers along the 18 mile course. Both myself and Emma were tracking Amanda from behind with our cameras with Stevie and Willie following in their car also filming.
Job well done methinks. Amanda certainly liked the course and looked smooth, strong yet effortless. All that winter training coming to fruition.
But as we decided to have a half time break over a coffee, cake and soup, I wondered what it would be like going in the opposite direction. Well only one way to find out.
And all of us agreed it was a more scenic route around Loch Leven going in a clockwise direction. You see the Pap of Glencoe in the distance which eventually slides into the rear view exposing the north ridge of the infamous Aonach Eagach. Once through Kinlochleven itself, the road kicks up sharply to bring Loch Leven into view again from an elevated position with the sharp and unforgiving looking Ballachulish Horseshoe Munros catching the eye. It’s just as well we’re not racing in this direction as the temptation to get the head up maybe too great, though there is hardly a shortage of vistas going in the race route direction!
Either way the B863 made for great day and I just know it’s going to be a brilliant event. The locals are really supportive and after a debrief with Stevie, I’m blown away by the ambitions and the plans he has for future years. In time, this will surely be THE event on the Scottish racing calendar. Let’s not get ahead ourselves. No let’s. Why the hell not? Get the right people together and anything can happen.
Indeed on Sunday we all felt that we were contributing to something so positive. And in a week where women's cycling is finally getting the recognition it should have had in the first place (regardless of whether your a mother or not), it was quite fitting to see 2017 Strathpuffer winner Amanda leading a group around the course that included a multiple Scottish female champion and 2017 RT23 teammate. And now Emma’s signed up for the Tour of Glencoe. She’s just quite simply going to have a go which will hopefully inspire and motivate more females to take part. It’s a win-win-win!Or more accurately a positive feedback mechanism. Simply ace!