I never really ride with a goal in mind. I tend to ride just for the ride. A feeling of escape, or clearing my mind. To see places at a slowed pace. Or because I feel like I’ve been at the cake a bit much. But an actual goal has never entered my book of reasons/excuses. So having a distance to aim for is new to me, and highly addictive.
With the weather set to turn a bit nasty over the next day or so (it is Hogmanay after all) – I’ve decided to hit out another 100+km, taking in some of my favourite local riding. First the climb over the Caterthuns out of Glen Lethnot and then the absurdly beautiful loop through Glen Clova.
Being greeted with a sunrise like this as you’re rolling out is a nice motivator, but the old saying quickly dawns on me – “Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning”. The forecast is calling for some stiff headwinds, but about 10km in they are feeling a bit stronger than expected.
– GLEN TO GLEN –
After climbing out of Glen Lethnot, it’s a straight forward route to the entry of Glen Clova. Taking one road along the foot of the Angus hills, the road rolls its way south west, directly into the wind, which has now picked up even more. It seems that the weather is turning a bit earlier. On the upside, the forecast is right about the direction so that means 30-50mph tailwinds on the way home! Silver linings are important to find when in strong headwinds without a wheel to hide behind.
– Glen Clova –
I’ve waxed lyrical quite a bit about this glen in the past. The deeper you get, the more beautiful it becomes. A single track road winds its way over rolling topography, while the hills to the side of the road gain more and more elevation. By the time you’ve reached the Clova Hotel, those hills have become Munros, with their crags and corries standing proudly above the glen floor. It’s here you can head over the small bridge at Milton of Clova and carry on along a ‘there and back’ road to Glen Doll. Today I simply pause to take in the view and note the ever darkening clouds before making my way out of the glen, heading East towards Forfar. With darkening skies in the West and pockets of sun in the East, Clova is yet again filled with dramatic scenery.
If you ever find yourself in the area, whether by bike or car, you should do yourself a favour and swing into this hidden gem.
Once past Forfar, I head through Brechin and ultimately home. Annoyingly, my phone has yet again missed out a section of the ride – cutting out ~23km (And what’s up with that average speed??? Time for a Garmin/Wahoo….). So plans are made for the next day to fill up the remaining kilometres, just in time for the cut off!