For those not familiar with the strange ways of audax, AAA events are those with a degree of hilliness. The Dee Lechtable 200 had 2.25AAA points, which I gathered would mean a few nasty hills. One of these, the Lecht, I knew would be hard as I had cycled it in the opposite direction last week and had a wee look back. Setting off at 8am another rider and I found ourselves off the front and made good time to the first control, arriving one minute after it opened. Having taken time for a coffee and seen many other riders pass and go, we set off again on the next leg which included the Lecht climb. Knowing I would need a fair bit of puff to get up the main climb I took it easy on the few approach climbs, although began to pass a few riders who had left the first control ahead of us. The start of the Lecht climb is 20% and continues for a fair bit. Although this picture does not make it look too daunting I can assure you it’s a struggle. The climbing starts just where the first rider is, kicks up at the trees, then continues to weave upwards through a few hairpins. I didn’t manage to take any pics on the climb itself, sorry: And there is still a fair bit of a long drag to go after the 20% bits, but also a few flatter stages which allowed me the opportunity to take a few snaps: Despite falling into the “not very good at climbing category” I managed to make it up the climb and pass a number of others, and then enjoyed the descent towards Tomintoul. On reaching Dufftown we stopped for some lunch and noted we had been averaging 25kph for the first 125km – not bad given the climbs. Setting off again, we took it a bit easy on the first few gradual climbs to allow lunch to digest. And then it all went tits up. Whilst pootling along admiring the scenery just before the ascent of Cabrach I was visited by the faeries; I informed my companion to carry on and I would see him at the next control. Having replaced the tube I then discovered neither my micro pump nor CO2 pump were working. Thankfully, another rider passed by and gave assistance. Feeling somewhat obliged to him I decided to maintain a steady pace with him until the next control. On approaching the control, where I had not intended to stop other than to have my card stamped, I unclipped only for my front wheel to slip in some gravel and topple in the opposite direction to the foot I had unclipped. Despite my frantic efforts I ended up on my arse with a rather deep chainring cut on my leg (and a rather well rattled lower region on the top tube). So much for me not stopping long! A cup of tea and a bit of mopping up later, and apologies to the tearoom owner for bleeding over her floor, I was again on my way but quickly discovered my arse-over-tits display had injured my left hip, ankle and elbow and I could not maintain much of a speed. I dropped back a bit trying to maintain a steady speed until the end – and then another visitation. Having only taken one spare tube (I know, I know!) I decided to ride very slowly, until those behind me caught up. It was a very slow deflation and I was able to ride 5 miles until I finally had to accept defeat and stop. The good news was that one of the lads from yacf was only 50 yards behind me and very kindly offered me a tube, his pump and discovered the very well hidden shard of glass embedded in my tyre. The final 10 miles were taken at a leisurely pace, for fear of anything else going wrong. I cheered myself up by having a curry and a few glasses of wine when I arrived home. Mrs Noodley seemed to take a bit too much pleasure in cleaning the chainring cuts.