Just because the summer has ended (much like it began with torrential showers) doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your bike. As always with a cycle run over to Eskdalemuir, the scenery and company make for a great day.
Including some early extra miles and the club run itself, I spent six hours on my bike. I’d say whole heartedly that was six hours of pure unbroken, enjoyment. You can’t say that about every sporting activity…or about many activities for that matter.
My cycling buddy, John Andrew and I decided to go for a spin in the early morning round Caerlaverock and Bankend. Initially this seemed a little mad as it was pretty cold. However the winds were very light and this meant areas of pure white mist shrouded the Nith as it opened out into the Solway. This with the soundtrack of wintering birds above us made the early rise seem worth it.
As I said earlier the Samye Ling run is a popular long run for our club and as I expected there was a great turn out for the start. The sun was beginning to warm us but was still low in the sky which made riding in a bunch of 30 quite tricky at times.
Blinking in the sun we hit the hills just outside Lockerbie and myself and a fellow cyclist managed to get ourselves detached from the group (always ask the patron of the peleton for permission to pee). Re-grouping is essential on longer runs and no one is trying to rip anyone’s legs off.
It was not far from here where we hit a minor directional hitch, namely getting from the Langholm road onto the roads for Eskdalemuir. To cut a long story short, it involved a small place called Corrie. We ended up on the long, undulating but nonetheless spectacular road into Langholm. Someone joked that had we taken any further detours we might end up in the actual Corrie, the fictional one in Weatherfield, Manchester!
Following the road from Langholm to Eskdalemuir brought back some great memories of the excellent Ken Laidlaw Sportive which travels through that area. Our detour quickly became irrelevant amongst the hills and rivers which surround you as you cycle and chat.
With a mile or so to the Samye Ling centre I tried a cheeky jump on the group claiming I wanted my soup first. I was quickly chased down – never kid a cyclist about his soup and cake.
As I’ve said in a previous blog, Samye Ling is a fascinating incongruity. It’s brightly painted stupas, cloutie tree and flags sit bravely in the Scottish countryside. It all seems to work together somehow.
Back on the road we swept down through Boreland and then onwards towards Lockerbie. After the lumpy hills around Banks Hill, getting the chance to spin your legs freely for 10 miles was a great feeling.
By the time we reached Millhousebridge a couple of guys had cramped up a little but being close to home on roads you know well, lifts the morale and we managed to keep a steady pace in the sunshine as we rolled through Templand.
It always amazes me with club cyclists how after 80 – 90 miles in their legs they’re still game for a 30. There were several of these as we neared Dumfries, so we finished the ride with some leading out and sprinting shenanigans.
Sprinting into Locharbriggs on the outskirts of Dumfries meant the day was drawing to a close. The detour meant I’d completed 104 miles. I wasn’t complaining. It won’t be long till winter (will it be snow or storms this year?) so I would easily have cycled another six hours that day for the pleasure it brought.