Highest Village (Alba) audax report

Discussion in 'Audax, Brevet and Randonnee' started by Noodley, 2 Jun 2008.

  1. Noodley

    Noodley Guest

    Having mostly ridden 200 and 300km events this year, this was a relatively short route at 123km. Despite having previously stated I would never ever believe any weather forecast ever again, it was a pleasure to be met by the predicted early morning sunshine when I awoke at 5am and donned my shorts and short sleeve top before setting off on the drive to Stathaven. Given the promising actual weather corresponded to the weather forecast I decided not to take any further clothing.

    En route I made a quick diversion to collect a friend and we arrived in good time for the 9am start. The temperature was in the high teens as we left and all looked well for the day ahead. Remind me later to remind myself again to never believe the weather forecast! But that’s for later.

    As well as the “usual” crowd of audaxeers there was a sizeable number of riders from the local road club making a good sized field as we took it easy for the first few miles. During these first few miles it became apparent that as well as participating in the audax the road club members had also chosen this as the final of their annual “no hand signals” competition. Those who had been eliminated in earlier rounds sat back as the remaining contenders took it in turn at the front to see how far they could ride without giving any signals as to approaching potholes (and there were many!) or other hazards. The forfeit for previously eliminated riders appeared to be the sudden swerving and wearing away of brake pads to avoid unannounced hazards. There appeared to be another rule whereby a rider at the front was permitted to make the occasional hand signal when there was no apparent hazard so as to cause evasive action by those following when none was needed.

    Those of us not involved could opt out and my friend and I decided we should not interfere in the hotly contested event and put on a burst of speed. Unfortunately, 20km down the road a set of traffic lights resulted in us once again being caught by the “no hand signals” competitors and we spent the rest of the first leg cautiously avoiding potential collisions.

    At the first control we overheard a few of the club members “having words” with those still in the competition, trying to discourage them from victory no doubt. My friend and I decided it would be best to leave them to it and retired to the café for a coffee. A short time later another few lads we knew arrived, one of them muttering something about “f***ing roadies no’ giving hand signals” resulting in him hitting a pothole and puncturing – he mellowed somewhat once I had explained the rules of their competition and stated he might write to Audax UK suggesting this be incorporated into more events throughout the season.

    The next leg involved the main climb of the day to Wanlockhead, although it was not as bad as I had been led to believe, and we duly arrived at the next control café where we had another drink. Now, here is the point you should be reminding me about weather forecasts and never believing them…as previously stated I was dressed for warm and sunny weather, as per the forecast. What happened about a minute after leaving the café was more a wet persistent downpour for the final 50km. Oh, and to round things off, I managed to puncture twice within a short distance of leaving the café – that would be on the bit of road we had been advised was “not too good”. I’d say!

    And here’s another thing; if you have been paying attention, you will have noticed Wanlockhead billed as being the highest village in the country. Yet when leaving it there is another steep climb followed by a gentle descent and you arrive in a place called Leadhills, which to me looks like a village. Oh, I bet the locals spend many an evening embroiled in feuding! (I have checked and Wanlockhead is higher by about 70 metres, but that’s not gonna stop me stirring it! I bet they are using the highest point of the climb as still in Wanlockhead…)

    On returning to base, rather drookit, we discovered a clear winner of the “no hand signals” competition had been decided and everyone had celebrated by eating all the sandwiches. It was just as well it was only a 100km event and I was not too hungry. This morning I awoke to find the return of the “discomfort” of a few weeks ago, and have spent the day walking rather gingerly. Now, where’s my Dr. Hector McGonnagle’s tincture for assorted ailments…
  2. Speicher

    Speicher Vice Admiral Moderator

    "Drookit" - is that local dialect for being extremely wet?

    So wet in fact that you were not able to take any pictures? ;)

    That is a very picturesque description of your ride, thank you Noodley.
    I really enjoy reading your reports.:biggrin:
  3. Yes - me too Noodley - good mannered, observant and eventful. Nice - thanks.
  4. OP

    Noodley Guest

    Spot on with "drookit".

    I did manage to take one picture, especially for you :eek:;):becool:

    I have not downloaded it yet...I've been waiting for the tincture to work before walking to get my phone from the kitchen. It appears to have now taken some effect so I shall walk with a degree of caution to get it....brace yourself!
  5. OP

    Noodley Guest

    Actually, maybe I shouldn't in case any of the roadies are reading and they beat me up :angry:
  6. OP

    Noodley Guest

  7. Speicher

    Speicher Vice Admiral Moderator

    An excellent photo, you do look very tall!

    I will peruse those links at my leisure another day. Combining railways and cycling seems a very good idea.
  8. OP

    Noodley Guest

    There is good reason for that - I am...:angry:
  9. Landslide

    Landslide Rare Migrant

    Called to the bar
    That'd involve them taking their hands off the bars though! :sad:

    Grand report as ever Noodley, cheers!
  10. Good report Noodley. I can report the winner of the 'no hand signals' competition was presented with 2 silver-plated cables ties at last night's club meeting. This will ensure that, in future, he will not be able to remove his hands from the bars under any circumstances:biggrin:

    I can also report that I was also drookit on my return home:sad:
  11. ian_oli

    ian_oli Über Member

    Interested in your ride report as I spent my early childhood including a few months of school in Wanlockhead. My father was a mining engineer and in charge of the last attempt to run the mine. It was opened up when the price of lead was high after the Korean war and not long after it was back in production it was closed again as the price had slumped, so we moved to Cornwall where there were some metal mines still open and there my father decided perhaps metal mining wasnt a career with much of a future in the UK.

    I went back there in the 80's and called in at the museum and mentioned this background and offered to pass on contact details for my dad who was still alive then and spend some time telling them what I remembered of village life. After five minutes of the idiot in charge asking me if I was "an Oliver from Hawick" or an Oliver from somewhere else (she had the most grating posh Edinburgh accent to make it worse), I gave up trying. After he'd died that museum didnt get the stuff my dad had kept about the mine.

    Incidentally the school, which must have had 60-70 kids in the late '50s was run by a married couple who were screaming, tawse wielding sadists - was I pleased to see it closed.

    Is this a regular event and does it have an option to climb Green Lowther to the Radar Station, which I believe is the highest paved road in Scotland?
  12. RedBike

    RedBike New Member

    Beside the road
  13. bof

    bof Senior member. Oi! Less of the senior please

    The world
    Err, I think this thread is about the highest village in Scotland.
  14. longers

    longers Veteran

    Good report Noodley :smile:.

    When are you going out again?
  15. OP

    Noodley Guest

    Well, I was at the pub tonight on the club pub run. Does that count? :biggrin:

    I should be doing the Snow Roads route again on Sunday (I set myself a target of AAA audax points this year and the Snow Roads is the only Perm route in Scotland with AAA points so I have done it a few times now, but each time is different).

    Then it's Durness Duress 300 on 14 June (which I am really looking forward to and I promise lots of photos), and the Snow Roads calendar event on 28 June.

    I am not too sure about July but I hope to ride a 300km perm when I am on holiday in the far north-west of Scotland. Here is the proposed route (although I have to make a short detour into Lochinver for a control, which is not shown on the route):

    (if you want a laugh, have a look at the elevation profile! Mrs Noodley has been asked to have a cold beer waiting for me)

    In August I shall hopefully make it back to Englandshire in the first/second week for a few rides - Peak District (Marple - Goyt 100km perm), Yorkshire Moors (Tour of North Yorkshire Moors 200km perm) then a 100km calendar event from Aldbrough St John, Nr. Darlington.

    That's the plans, however "life" may interfere...although other rides may be possible as well :biggrin:
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