Chalk & Cheese at the Radar Ride (Andrew)

You can buy a synthetic gel that tastes like a banana. You can buy a bar made of nuts and grains that tastes like a chocolate cake. You can’t buy a banana that tastes like a chocolate cake, but, with advances in sports nutrition, it won’t be long before you can. Because sports gel and bars are all about disguising what you’re actually eating.

Who wants a gel that’s a Bakewell tart or a bar that’s pretending to be a strawberry cheesecake? Manufacturers should be honest and describe things accurately. I’d much rather choose between “Chalk”, “Superglue” and “Smell Like Boak”. At least then I’d know what I was buying.

That’s why I loved the Rader Ride 2016. Instead of the usual selection of gels and bars it had read food at its feed stations. It had everything: cheese rolls, ham rolls, cheese and ham rolls. You name it (as long it involved cheese and/or ham), it had it. It had also home baking with flapjacks and banana bread and great treat like Jaffa cakes and jelly beans. And, for those that wanted a banana that tasted like a banana it had a banana.

This buffet was my downfall.

At the end of the Radar Ride, you cycle a service road to a radar station above Wanlockhead. It’s 2.5 miles of pure climbing culminating in a stunning view of Dumfries and the Borders. But, at the bottom, they had a food stop – and I couldn’t resist it. I just had to have another cheese roll. I stopped. Iain stopped. We shared a roll and then, with the road immediately ramping up, I was in the wrong gear. I had to push off a number of times to get enough speed to turn the wheel and change my gear but It was too late. Iain was already 100m up the road. He might as well have been at the top of the hill. I couldn’t catch up.

But I’d had cheese, so I was happy.