Hilly time trial and new mountain bike trails
April’s turning out to be a busy month for me. Somehow I seem to have lined up a race every weekend 5 weeks in a row :-). Of course, not all of these are target races, some of them are training in aid of the bigger goals. The last two are in this category.
Because the Tranent triathlon was cancelled I hadn’t even been out on my road bike since the New Year’s Day triathlon. I was also worrying that with a greater focus on running I might be losing speed on my bike. So I entered a hilly 40km road time trial organised by my club. I’ve done this one a few times before. But this year it was also the Scottish Championships.
It was only a week after the last Open 5, which was a tough one. I was lucky to have just about recovered in time :D.
The forecast wasn’t great (to put it mildly), so Andy arranged a lift to the start. Meanwhile, I rode over in a raging headwind and intermittent downpours … someone actually stopped and offered me a lift when I was partway there. I declined thinking I felt OK, but just after that I was at an exposed moor section and it all got a lot harder.
On the plus side, I only got to the sign-on about 30 minutes before my start time. I decided I had done plenty of ‘warming up’, got changed and didn’t go back outside in the cold until it was time to go. I ignored the weather and just got on with the job in hand. After the first hill, we turned into a headwind that I knew would last for at least 12km. It was actually longer, as we turned another bend and the wind still bore down on us. The final turn up and over the Meldons was the exhilarating payback. I have never ridden up the hill so fast!
I was set off first and somehow wasn’t caught up, so had the enjoyment of crossing the line first. That was as good as it got … I was almost dead last and only beat someone recovering from being ill and someone coming down with a bug! Mind you, that was out of the people who; signed up, turned up, started and finished. I think there were dropouts at every stage ;-). One of them was Andy – his tale is here, but don’t worry, some good home cooking cheered him up!
I cruised home 50 minutes faster than it took me to get there, and it felt good to have had a fast, hard ride. My average speed was fractionally faster than last year over a longer course in significantly tougher conditions.
The next week I decided at the last minute to enter a local SMBO (Scottish Mountain Bike Orienteering) score event in Mugdock Park, which is just on the outskirts of Glasgow. I got a lift over very early in the morning. Too early, considering I was out late watching an Italian film the night before.
This event was very low key, with only three female solo competitors. I was pretty relaxed about the race which is unusual for me. And the result was just a second place – I wasn’t concentrating or working hard enough and one of the other girls was strong! The map was challenging, with intricate detail I’m not used to for mountain bike navigation. There were also many controls seemingly placed ‘on a tree, in a wood’. They weren’t joking at the start when they said the descriptions would give you a ‘clue’ as to the location …!
Never mind, I had a good time riding my bike in new places out in the sunshine and won a few things from Alpine Bikes. I then took the opportunity to meet up with a friend in Glasgow and spend a lazy day eating noodles, chatting, sleeping and eating brunch.
Next up … a sprint triathlon in Kendal. No slacking on this one. Despite it not being a target race, it’s important for me as my only actual triathlon before the Slateman in a month’s time. I want to get everything right and have my own goals in mind!
Tapa Coffee and Bakehouse
This review is for the Tapa Coffeehouse on Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow.
I visited Tapa for the first time last weekend and loved it! Having got out of bed early enough to get over there from Edinburgh in time for Sunday brunch with a local friend at 10.30, I was not disappointed. I had the mushroom and spinach eggs Benedict, followed by French toast with maple syrup and banana, accompanied by a very good cup of coffee and then a fantastic chai tea. My friend had the full veggie breakfast.
My only regret was that I couldn’t stay even longer and move onto the fantastic sounding soups (beetroot and tomato or butternut squash and coconut), inventive sandwiches, ‘real’ bread from their own bakery and an array of good looking cakes. The puy lentil and pine nut burger was also crying out to be tasted, so I think I’ll be back soon.
A relaxed and friendly atmosphere prevailed, with attentive service (though we were nearly undercharged by half – since the food was so good we made sure that was corrected!). If it looks busy when you get there, you should know there are also tables hidden downstairs.