TOUR DE CAIRNGORMS
To enjoy the last bit of a nice weather, we wanted to go on a cycling trip. We now live by the beautiful Cairngorms National Park in Scotland so we decided to cycle around it. Being limited by only having 2 days off, owning road bikes and wanting to avoid carrying too heavy a load with us; we did not have much of a choice. There was only one smaller road suitable for bikes.
We looked at elevation gain to help us decide which way around we were going to cycle and that was clockwise. We booked a hotel in Pitlochry, 87 miles in. We knew it was probably too much for us but as there are no roads in the middle of Cairngorms, there was no shorter option.
The first day, we cycled 75 miles with elevation gaining 1890 m. Originally, we planned 87 miles but it turned out to be 100 miles because part of the way google maps directed us to go, was not a road but a railway track. The second day, we cycled 31 miles and the elevation gain was only 530 m. Originally, the plan was 60 miles, but we got soaking wet within the first hour and the cold got to us after few hours of cycling. I also had to be back in the evening for an online webinar.
It was definitely a challenge. A beautiful challenge!
We had no proper training, apart from a few miles of cycling on our day off.
We got wet.
We got hot.
We had to walk up the hill because it was too hard.
We had to walk down hill because it was too windy.
We loved it.
We hated it.
We asked for a lift.
We didn’t get any.
We counted a lot to help us forget the pain.
We wished we had stayed home.
We stopped to take pictures.
We were happy.
We took each other’s failure to keep going as permission to give up too.
We got annoyed.
We got angry.
We got off the bike to walk with each other to be supportive.
Charlie fell off 21 miles in.
Charlie got 2 punctures (one when he fell off and one 2 miles from the finish).
We ate a lot.
We had to get a taxi for the last part of the first day as it would mean cycling in the dark and no food places open when we get to our hotel.
We got a train half way the second day.
We watched trash TV in the hotel room just because that’s what you’re supposed to do right? Haha
We ate curry in bed because we didn’t feel like being around people after cycling all day. And because we could.
We got back on our bike the next day even though we were exhausted.
We learned a lesson to plan emergency transport or at least look up possibilities before the journey because Scotland hasn’t got buses everywhere every 10 mins like London.
Would we do it again?
Every drop of rain, every bump and every swear word was worth the gorgeous views.
Sometimes giving yourself no other option is the best option. Try it and you’d be surprised what you can achieve!