Le Jog Days 8 - 9

Le Jog Days 8 - 9

Day 8

Dumbarton to Spean Bridge 101.18m 6h49m04s average 14.84

Total so far 728.96m

What a difference a day makes!!

Today we had virtually wall to wall sunshine although being so far north it has been quite cold. We were delayed at the start when Churchill realised he had a puncture. Further investigation revealed not one but two Dumbarton thorns had pierced right through the tyre. The first one was easy to spot but Brace's finger found the other!

Dumbarton is just on the West side of Glasgow, but is only a short distance from Loch Lomond. In bright sunshine the two hour ride along the lakeside road was amazing. We had to stop for a photo call to capture the scenery. Ox took a picture on Wobbler's
camera and he had to ask how to change the camera angle. 'Move the camera'  came the reply!!

Once we left Loch Lomond we started the climb into the Highlands - for over 5 miles, fortunately interrupted by a stop at the Crianlarich Hotel for a snack as there were no towns for the next 36 miles.
Luckily Saint stopped to join us and we were able to put on extra layers as in spite of the sun it really was very cold. We then carried on to the top, where the scenery was truly breathtaking, with high mountains all around, small lakes dotted about and the road rolling ahead of us. There was one more big climb near the ski area before the drop into Glencoe and some of the views here were stunning. The descent was fast and furious, and even Cling On got wind  burn
with his brakes glowing - at one point he thinks he may have hit 16

We stopped for tea and cakes in a tea shop in Glencoe village before
crossing the Loch and heading for Fort William, with Wobbler setting a very strong pace and the group functioning as an effective peloton. The last 10 miles to Spean Bridge was rolling with one final climb past the commando memorial to our B&B.

By mutual agreement, yesterday must have been one of the worst ever days cycling for any of us, but was today one of the very best?

Oh Yes!!


Day 9

Spean Bridge to Tain 86.34m 5h29m16s 15.73mph  average

Total so far

Last night's B&B was the best accommodation yet. Our hosts kept shaggy, horned highland cattle which were totally friendly and happy to eat toast! The location was just North of Fort William under the shadow of Ben Nevis, so stunning scenery as well.

We awoke this morning to a thick blanket of mist as we were quite close to Loch Lochy. It was also very cold, about 4 degrees. We set off suitably wrapped up and by the time we rode through Fort Augustus the sun was shining. We then followed the West bank of Loch Ness, keeping our eyes peeled for signs of any strange beasts. Local reports did
suggest 5 strange beasts, but this has not been confirmed. The road here is surprisingly undulating so was quite challenging.

After a morning tea stop in Drumnadrochit we elected to go cross country to avoid going through Inverness. Here we found the one true monster of the day - the climb out of town. It had an average gradient of 15 % and was about a mile long but with the cumulative fatigue it was a really tough test. Some sections were very steep but we all got up - even the Ox had to use his granny ring but stayed seated whilst everyone else was standing on the pedals (except Brace who managed it even without a granny ring). The real reason Ox remained in the saddle was that he was hoping no-one would notice his bib shorts. He was wearing his special Ann Summers bib shorts again, but rightly decided to wear a second pair on top. The problem was that these were on inside out!! At least this way he got an extra days use out of them!

Once North of Inverness we had arranged a tea stop with some Help for Heroes supporters, close to the Cromarty Bridge. As we approached the Bridge we were cycling as a fast peloton, as one in perfect harmony. Everyone knew where the meeting point was and Brace was pushing hard at the front. Unfortunately he completely ignored the signs and bunting that had been put out for us and shot round the roundabout to go over the Bridge, closely
followed by Wobbler, whilst Churchill and Ox could only look on in dismay as they went the opposite way. Cling On came to the rescue and just managed to stop them going over the bridge and back to Inverness.

Tea and buns had been laid on for us and several local cyclists also met us there - they all seem to have done Le Jog at some stage so they really understood what we were doing.
After the very welcome tea we cycled the last 20 miles to Tain like an express train, alongside the Cromarty Firth led by the Ox.

So we now just have one day to go!!


Photos Here


Cast List

Ian Anderson - now known as 'the Ox' - for his formidable power over any terrain and in any circumstances.

David Ricketts - after tenaciously sticking to the back end all day yesterday - now known as 'Cling On' Cling On clung on as only a cling on can!

Brad Williams - needs no introduction as he is the legendary 'Wobbler' and has already lived up to his reputation.

Mark Jordan - now known as 'The Brace' after hobbling everywhere the day before the ride with a purpose made knee brace pretending to be injured before wiping the floor with us on his bike. Whilst riding if you hear the command 'Brace! Brace! ' it means that Mark has another puncture!

Emma Alden - now known as 'The Saint' for her amazing efforts behind the scenes, driving the van, making sure everyone has a proper breakfast, loading and unloading and generally being completely fantastic!

Steve Alden - now known as 'Churchill' - because of his natural leadership and organisational skills. NO - it is because he nods his head when he rides - just like the dog on the insurance advert - Oh Yes