In May - over three days - I'm going to be cycling 313 miles taking in climbs to five Scottish ski centres and raising money for the MS Society.
I started cycling a couple of years ago, and after completing my first sportives last year I was looking for a challenge to target in 2017. Cue the Tour of the Highlands, 3 days, 313 miles, 20,000ft ascent. I have a family connection to multiple sclerosis, and am raising funds for the MS Society, please donate if you can.
Tour of the Highlands is an organised event that runs on the May bank holiday this year (27-29th). Starting at the ski center in Glencoe the first day is 101 miles to Pitlochry taking in climbs of Ben Lawes and Schiehallion. The second day is from Pitlochry to Cairngorm, 102 miles via Glenshee and the Lecht. And finally the third is 111 miles from Aviemore back to Glencoe.
Day 1 - Glencoe to Pitlochry - 101miles, 6,839ft
Day 2 - Pitlochry to Cairngorm - 101miles, 8,765ft
Day 3 - Aviemore to Glencoe - 111miles, 5,256ft
Big MS 200 ride - planned 15th April
I kicked this off with a ride in the shape of the letters MS - 103 miles. I fancy doing it again, this time 200 miles! And would love for anyone free on 15th April to join me (or between any of the 3 planned cafe stops) :) Full details here.
First Audax - 5th March
I’d had my eye on Audax for a little while now, and spotted the Forth & Tay 200km event on the calendar. A bit different to other events that I’ve done it is much more self-sufficient, relaxed and the first I’ve done with controls (where you need to get some proof of passage at a location). Start and finish in South Queensferry, then Dollar, Auchterarder, Tayport, St Andrews and Falkland - so a mix of familiar and unfamiliar roads. The weather was great. The 130 miles was completed in around 10 hours 30 mins, and plenty of cake was eaten! Full writeup and photos here.
First century of 2017 - 19th February
It's the time of year when "reliability trial" events crop up. I headed for the Kennoway Road Club event and tagged my ride to/from it to round the day out at 103 miles. It was brisk in the tail wind (25mph average speed) and then pretty brutal when we turned to face it. A good event with a good spread of cake laid on when we finished :)
Monikie Duathlon - 12th February, 8th January, 11th December
A bit of something different over the winter, I entered my first duathlon, the Angus Bike Chain Monikie Winter Series. 4km run, 21km bike, 4km run was the format. I hadn't done much running, and was niggled by slight injuries by trying to pick it up quickly, that said it was a lot of fun and I'll definitely be entering again next year. In the end I placed 17th from 55 with a total time of 3:32:06.
Kick off - a big MS - 23rd October
With a little inspiration I decided to kick this off by drawing the letters MS with a route, and naturally it had to be a century :) It ended up being a tough ride, clockwise with an easterly wind, so a headwind towards the end, oh and a bit of October weather (rain). My mug ended up in the local paper - there's no backing out now :)
I started cycling in 2015, and completed my first sportive events last year (Etape Caledonia, Tour o the Borders). My longest ride to date was a jaunt to Glen Clova, 130 miles, but mostly my riding is the 34 mile round trip commute from St Andrews to Dundee.
That trip to Glen Clova piqued my interest and set me looking out a challenge for 2017. Having spotted Tour of the Highlands while keeping it quiet I arranged a double century weekend (Len Reid Memorial Ride 103 miles, Fife Century Reliability Trial 106 miles) to test the waters. This being successful I made my entry and thought about how to kick it all off…
With a little inspiration I decided to do a route in the shape of a big "MS". Completing this in October the challenge is now on. You can follow my progress on this page, my JustGiving page (please donate :), or by following me on Strava or Twitter.
Just training for this will be a challenge, with some big miles, and big climbs to be done. Tour of the Highlands is going to be one of the biggest challenges I've faced on the bike, and with your support raising funds for the MS Society will give me the extra strength to crest the final punishing climbs.
MS is the most common progressive neurological condition affecting young adults, with diagnosis generally between the ages of 20 and 40. MS is the result of damage to the myelin - a protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system. When myelin is damaged this interferes with messages from the brain and other parts of the body causing a wide range of symptoms including fatigue, mobility issues and problems with co-ordination.
There is currently no cure for MS. For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission while for others it has a progressive pattern. For everyone, it makes life unpredictable.
The MS Society depends entirely on charitable fundraising and the support of the public and volunteers to be able to do their work.
Please help me in helping them to raise funds for this worthy cause.
- JustGiving page for donations and more details.
- Strava profile to follow my training and all rides and runs.
- Twitter account for updates about this and whatever else is going on :)
Comments? Tweet me @mealybar, smoke signals, or homing pigeon, or something :)