Radar Ride- 22 May 16 (Iain)

The Radar Ride takes place in Wanlockhead, Scotland’s highest village. The area has Scotland’s highest hotel, Scotland’s highest pub, Scotland’s highest…you get the idea.

My favourite highest thing is Scotland’s highest beer , which has the tagline – “beer with altitude!”

The race was the first UK sportive to have a summit finish. Andrew and I attempted the race in 2008. It was the second/third sportive we’d ever done. I used a hybrid and Andrew had a road bike. The weather was so bad that day the summit road was closed. We didn’t get to the top.

The race hadn’t run since then due to issues,  I think, with getting permission to use the private road to the station. So now that the race was back we were determined to get a summit finish.

The race starts with a long downhill section before taking some flat back roads to Drumlanrig Castle. After that there’s a long climb back through the valley. At this point I noticed a man was sitting behind me, coasting along in my slip stream!

I wouldn’t have minded if he’d asked but as he hadn’t I was determined to drop him! Why sit on a strangers wheel for miles on end. Is it because he because he wants to stare at my arse?

I dropped him on the climb but a few minutes later he sped past sitting on the wheel of someone else. Why do that???? Surely the enjoyment of cycling is completing the challenge yourself. Not, completing  a challenge by letting someone else do all the work.

We hit the feed stop around mile 45. It was great. Cheese rolls and home made banana cake.Much better than the Caledonian Etape. I have a theory that the more corporate and bigger a race the worse the quality of the food.

After the feed stop we headed down a hill before circling back up to the feed stop. Yay. More banana cake. It was then a long gradual climb back to Wanlockhead.

It started to hail stone as we approached the town. Andrew complained that he didn’t like the noise of them hitting his helmet. I was more concerned about how sore they were hitting bare skin!

Luckily as we approached the start of the summit climb the weather cleared. At this point I thought Andrew would sprint off to win as he was feeling fresher. He was feeling something – hunger. He spotted a man giving out cheese rolls and stopped to take one. We stopped to take a bite each of it but as we restarted Andrew struggled to get going. He was in the wrong gear!

I managed to get a 100m head start whilst he adjusted his settings. I knew from that point that I’d win. The climb is steep and I had better climbing gears than him. There was no way he could catch up.

The last section was very steep. I passed people who’d gotton off their bike to walk. I was happy that I’d managed it seated.

My first bike victory over Andrew since 2014!

He subsequently claimed Sportive’s aren’t proper races…