LEL Chronicles – Day 3

I had got myself into bit of a pickle on Day 2 and there were few options available to me at the start of Day 3.

i. Continue to ride thinking (or knowing) that am now going to be out of time, enjoy the scenery a bit more and take it bit easy.

ii. Continue to ride at the current pace (which wasn’t too bad) and see how the day goes and how far can I go?

iii. Ride hard today and pull back to the one of the plans which was taking me to the finish line within time.

Started with option 2 with an keen desire and intent to switch to option iii.

Before I begin the day and the ride, let me step back and share some insights about my virtual support and remote command center, managed by my confidant and sister (GB). She was tracking my ride, through the very beginning, with the GPS device keeping the folks at home informed about my well being and progress. She was also tracking me against my plan and giving inputs wherever I was going astray (that was a lot lot of them) and last but not the least, she was ensuring that I wake up on time (didn’t know till then the fabulous wake up call arrangement that LEL had) be it whatever hour of the day back home.

So I got my wake up call as planned, which woke me up but body wanted a few more moments of shut eye and the warm blankets were just too comfortable to leave. Got another call a few moments later that I need to be riding and not sleeping again. Now the sleep was gone and the immediate mission was to get on the bike ASAP.

Section H: Brampton to Moffat

Distance covered : 74.93 km; Elevation gain: 459 m;

Start time: 09-Aug-2022 0342 hrs Expected time to reach next CP: 09-Aug-2022 0246 hrs; Actual time to reach next CP: 09-Aug-2022 0712 hrs

Ride time: 3 h 31 m; Moving time: 3 h 29 m; Stoppage time: 0 h 2 m;

Stoppage time at CP: 0 h 28 m

In about 40 minutes was ready to roll. It was dark, cold and a bit of head winds coming our way. This was not a time to really choose anything so went out and rode hard. In some time I could see the dawn and the sun coming up, it was a beautiful and energizing sight.

Rode flat out to Moffat and had some absolutely amazing food. Local produce, delectable dishes and wonderful volunteers, all made it such an out of the world experience.

I really wished that I had more time at my hand to enjoy this but today time was more precious than ever so just did a splash and dash and moved out. Had a chance to catch with Angela, a wonderful volunteer from Jaipur (India) and chatted up about few riders. Got to know about some riders who were cruising and some others who had dropped out.

Thanked Angela and some of the other volunteers who were there and headed out to next CP, Dunfermline.

Section I: Moffat to Dunfermline

Distance covered : 111.47 km; Elevation gain: 1192 m;

Start time: 09-Aug-2022 0741 hrs Expected time to reach next CP: 09-Aug-2022 0950 hrs; Actual time to reach next CP: 09-Aug-2022 1427 hrs

Ride time: 5 h 52 m; Moving time: 5 h 30 m; Stoppage time: 0 h 22 m;

Stoppage time at CP: 0 h 54 m

This was a long section, with good elevation gain as well but relatively smoother gradients to work with. It was also a psychologically an important section since it was taking as the mid-point from a distance perspective.

Riding through beautiful country side of Scotland was even more enjoyable than UK but with the clock running against you, stops to absorb all the beauty were far and few. Weather was favourable with light breeze, blue and sunny skies and all that was needed to keep the downtime to a minimal.

Apparently the lube on the bike had run out and it needed a bit of lubing and gear tuning to ride well. Was hoping to meet up with a bike technician at the next CP and get the bike checked. For this long section while I had re-filled the water supplies but was running out of it with some distance still remaining. So stopped at a branch of Royal Bank of Scotland and got a re-fill. Made quite a few mental jokes about it and shared a good laugh with self about getting water here but honestly they were super helpful and the cool water that I got from there was nothing less than the elixir of life.

Crossed the majestic Forth of Firth bridge on the way to CP and soon got to Dunfermline, handed over my bike to the bike healers while I re-fuelled.

Had a very special welcome waiting for us at Dunfermline, truly a wonderful Scottish one.

Scottish welcome at Dunfermlime

This was a magnificent facility, large, spacious, modern and quite tempting to stay back a little longer and relax but there was more to be done for the day and there was yesterday’s baggage as well to carry.

So after quick re-fueling, re-fill and the usual drill headed out. Bike Doctors had healed the bike completely and it was ready to roll. Thanked them with all my heart and headed forth to Innerleithen.

Section J: Dunfermline to Innerleithen

Distance covered : 81.48 km; Elevation gain: 1082 m;

Start time: 09-Aug-2022 1427 hrs Expected time to reach next CP: 09-Aug-2022 1559 hrs; Actual time to reach next CP: 09-Aug-2022 1908 hrs

Ride time: 4 h 41 m; Moving time: 4 h 28 m; Stoppage time: 0 h 13 m;

Stoppage time at CP: 0 h 39 m

It has been alright so far but there was more to be done and this section was against a fairly long one with good elevation gain. I guess that was true for entire Scottish belt. But this route had an additional complexity of navigating the city traffic and also going through a maze of roads, gardens and what not. Felt like doing a treasure hunt just following the map and then following a rider Sean from UK, who was absolutely incredible riding a single speed bike and still doing much better pace than me. We chatted up, while not riding in a single file, and it was good to exchange notes about the ride so far and life in general. He knew the route like the back of his hand and it almost felt that he had designed it, he was that good with the navigation. Managed to ride along with him for a good time before I lost him on one of the traffic lights, that he managed to cross in time and I didn’t. Anyway after riding for about an hour or perhaps more in the city of Edinburgh and dealing with the city traffic, it felt good to be out on the roads with less traffic and ride peacefully.

Quick chat with the control room, indicated that am doing fine, clawing back time slowly and steadily and I should continue to do so. Instructions noted.

Beautiful countryside continued to mesmerize every now and then and weather was no relenting up a little bit so riding was getting better.

Finally reached Innerleithen at 1908 hrs in an uneventful manner.

So far so good, one more section to go and then we call it a day, that was the plan as per option (ii) listed above and in consultation with the control room, this made sense.

Again went through the drill and was ready to roll in 39 minutes from the time of stopping the ride. Going good, I felt.

Compliments to the Scottish CP, the food was amazing and quite tempting and super appetizing. Made sure that at all the controls I definitely had the delectable dessert(s) and complimented the volunteers / chefs for their wonderful support.

Section K: Innerleithen to Eskdalemuir

Distance covered : 49.26 km; Elevation gain: 544 m;

Start time: 09-Aug-2022 1947 hrs Expected time to reach next CP: 09-Aug-2022 1949 hrs; Actual time to reach next CP: 09-Aug-2022 2231 hrs

Ride time: 2 h 44 m; Moving time: 2 h 36 m; Stoppage time: 0 h 8 m;

Stoppage time at CP: 0 h 15 m

This was the smallest section for the day and it appeared that we’ve got the day in the bag, getting to Innerleithen in good time. Rode hard and steady to get here quickly and thoughts of a warm shower and a cozy bed thereafter were the additional nitro boosters to ride faster. Along the ride enjoyed the riot of colours in the sky and even saw the moonrise through the hills while sun was still there in the sky. This is quite an unusual site but we were really high up in the northern hemisphere during the summers so had the privilege to enjoy this sight.

What made it really unusual was that there was still twilight till about 2215 hrs and this kept total darkness in abeyance and energy levels remained high. So continued to make hay while the sun / moon shone along the way.

Was super glad to get to Eskdalemuir by 2230 hrs and after checking in went in to inquire about the shower and beds. Was informed that there are none and was advised to head to the next control where there are beds, showers etc.

I was crestfallen to say the least. All the plans of getting a warm shower and sleeping early were completely dashed.

Folks at the check-in counter mentioned that there’s still ample time available and I must ride to the next CP and thank them later.

I immediately followed this advise and decided to make it the snappiest stop at a CP and head out to Brampton.

Section L: Eskdalemuir to Brampton

Distance covered : 59.41 km; Elevation gain: 559 m;

Start time: 09-Aug-2022 2247 hrs Expected time to reach next CP: 09-Aug-2022 2341 hrs; Actual time to reach next CP: 10-Aug-2022 0150 hrs

Ride time: 3 h 03 m; Moving time: 3 h 01 m; Stoppage time: 0 h 2 m;

Stoppage time at CP: 2 h 18 m

Sleep time at CP: 3 h

Once I started out, there were few quick realizations

i. I have dropped my full finger winter and rain gloves somewhere along with my warm bandanna. Oops!! What would I wear tomorrow morning? Right now body is warm so it’s okay but tomorrow could be challenging.

ii. My new wind jersey has got torn, apparently when I took the fall on the first evening. Thankfully this is on the back side / shoulder, so it’ll still be wind resistant.

iii. My legs are not tired and I can ride further, am not even sleepy right now so it’s good that am riding. 2230 was anyways quite early to retire even if I had started early. There were sins of the previous day that had to be washed away. So it’s good to be back on the saddle.

Got a call from command center at some ungodly hour back home, to check if am riding further? Apparently the dot on the map (thanks to GPS) was moving unexpectedly so it was being checked, if am sleep riding or is it real? I confirmed the updated plans, my being high on spirits (‘not necessarily of the Scottish kinds) and pedaled further.

Distance wasn’t much and anticipated about 3 h to 3 h 15 m to get to the next CP.

Was also carrying some small feelings of elation which continued to grow linearly as I neared Brampton. They were emanating from the fact that I would get back to the point in the day where I started from, entire Scotland has been covered, there has been no rain and hilliest terrain is now going to be behind us.

Yay!

Talking to myself with some more random but cheerful thoughts I rolled into Brampton at about 0150 hrs on 10th Aug and mentally thanked the check-in coordinator at Innerleithen for sending me further.

Day 3 Stats

Distance Covered: 376.55 km Elevation gain: 3835 m

Ride time: 19 h 51 m; Moving time: 19 h 04 m; Stoppage time: 0 h 47 m;

Stoppage time at CPs: 4 h 35 m; Avg stoppage time at CPs: 0 h 55m; Sleep time: 3 h 00 m

This was quite a productive day, didn’t know the stats at that time but quick glance on the overall plan indicated that we are back in business. Still not fully recovered from Day 2 setback but definitely back in the game. So option (ii) had translated into option (iii).

Perhaps it was the joy of reaching Brampton again or a mix of myriad things but I ended up spending much more time on the CP in faffing around (moving from one place to another, being unsure, disoriented, tired, sleepy etc.) than what I should have. Irrespective of any of this, after the warm shower, donning a fresh kit, food to re-charge, it was time to sleep.

One thought on “LEL Chronicles – Day 3

  1. Pingback: LEL Chronicles – Day 2 – Pedalling thru Life

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