Waking up early doesn’t always come naturally, but with the promise of sunshine, coffee, and some of my favourite roads south of the city, I’m heading down the A90 at 6am for an 8am depart. With 248 kilometres now done, I’m half way(ish) to completing the Festive 500. In hopes of banging out 100km today, I’ve headed down to Edinburgh to join a group of friends as they finish off their campaign.
Edinburgh is built on the remains of ancient lava flow, resulting in there being few flat areas, so when myself, Andy, Chris, Finlay and Ruaridh set off from Holy Corner in the south of the city , it’s straight into climbing.
22km in, we bid farewell to Finlay who has to peel off for a shorter ride. Here, just past Temple, we head towards the Granite hills that roll their way to the Tweed Valley and, more importantly, our coffee and scone destination.
Fuelled by coffee and scones from No. 1 Peebles Road in Innerleithen, we press on, rolling over tree lined roads, taking in the scenery on our way through Peebles and on to Drochil.
While Storm Barbara has pretty much petered out, the winds have yet to completely die down and the entire ride so far has been into a headwind. But it’s about halfway between Peebles and Drochil that the wind seems at its strongest. It’s also here that my legs decide that enough is enough, and firmly tell me to ‘get tae’. I’m having a tough time holding onto Chris’ wheel and breathe a strong sigh of relief when we turn off the A72 at Drochil, as it roughly marks the halfway point and also signals when the ride begins to return to Edinburgh, with a welcome tailwind. I down two gels, in an attempt to bounce back, and we head on to West Linton for a top up of bottles on the way to the road home.
Rolling into town, Chris and Andy ticked over their 500 and I managed to get another 100 (recorded) kilometres in the coffers.
About a quarter the way into the ride, I discovered that Strava hadn’t been recording properly on my phone (cue lots of swearing). So I head further into town for a coffee at Ronde Bike Outfitters in an aim to top off the ride to the 100. It’s a tad annoying to lose ~25km, but at least it’s a good excuse to get more time on the bike!
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