Tour of the Cairngorms – Day 3
A warmer night last night – however it was as uncomfortable as hell. I couldn’t get comfortable – my knee was awful and the lump in my back was very uncomfortable. I kept waking up with my face pressed against the side of the tent. Horrible. I strap my knee up in case it is a ligament issue. Pasta for breakfast – bloody horrible! I haven’t done too well for breakfasts, I look around and wow – what a wonderful place to wake up! My knee hurts already – I can see this is going to be a difficult day. I pack up and Tony helps me with my bike.
I start off down the road towards the Linn of Dee ahead of the others – pretty sure that it won’t take them long to catch up. We ride past the smallest youth hostel I have ever seen. The morning light is wonderful. We reach the woods – the start of the trail up to Glen Tilt. It’s a wide track and we start off – eventually reaching White Bridge and there find a number of what appear to be first time DoEers out wild camping.
Another river crossing and jibes to Tony – “How many more river crossings today Tony?” as he has the map. Then a bog, and a comment from Tony “It’s not a river – it’s a bog!”. We are all in a good mood – even me – although I am in a lot of pain. I have two painkillers left – next time I must bring more!
The track deteriorates – becomes rocky single-track. Probably great without Panniers – I can see that Al is loving it. It becomes very exposed as we enter Glen Tilt and start to head down. It is quite beautiful – but my leg is killing me and I am scared of heights! I walk an awful lot of it. The guys – to their credit – do not get annoyed with me – which is amazing considering how much slower I am. Eventually we reach the bridge at the falls. The track widens and I start to ride.
The climbs really hurt now – I am almost in tears on some of them. Al falls off in front of me – while turning around to look at a potential photo opportunity. Nothing damaged – we both take a photo and eat a sausage roll. This truly is a beautiful part of the world. The slog down is done one legged in the main – my left leg has become so painful that I am unable to put any power through it. Now I am peddling with just one leg – I speed up! We ride into the station to see the Pullman arrive and all the sightseers are getting off to be greated by four sorry looking muddy individuals.
Hands are shaken and bikes packed – a quick pint in the pub and that’s it. Even though my leg is on fire – I am sorry to be finishing. What a great three days.
It turns out that I have torn the ligaments in my left knee – so I am pretty lucky to have finished the ride at all.
One thing that made this ride for me was the people that I rode with. Tony Chaplin, Neil Sinclair and Alistair Biggin. These guys were great – very supportive – and always waited for me.
What’s next? :-)