Radar Ride 2010

Thursday 15th July 2010

by KOL

The 2010 Radar Ride. It was truly an ‘epic’. We arrived at Wanlockhead at about 8.15 am. Driving up the M74 from Brampton it went from grey to dark grey to light black with the camper van being buffeted by the wind. There were three of us in Andy’s camper van and conversation was subdued. I’d wished I’d had a few drinks the night before, at least then I’d have an excuse for feeling crap. Wanlockhead could be a one-horse town if it had a horse! We rolled out at about 9.20 in driving wind and heavy rain with poor visibility, the group didn’t so much split up as was blown apart! I don’t remember too much about the first few miles other than avoiding potholes and compensating for gusts of wind. We got to the first pass, ‘Dalveen’, not so steep, stayed in the big ring. Andy wasn’t feeling well and decided to drop out so we parted company on the descent. I joined up with a guy from Teesdale CC and continued toward Moffat on a fast descent with heavy rain and a tail wind, made the feed station at 66km and decided to put my waterproof on. It was shortly after this I joined up with a couple of lads to form a mini group that would stay together for the rest of the ride. Climbed up the Devils Beeftub (bit like the Hole of Horcum) and raced down to Talla Reservoir, still in the rain and still at this point with a tail wind. Every now and then the road twisted into the wind and we were reminded that for every kilometre with the wind behind us was another to fight on the way back. We were joined at this point by a guy from Dumfries who new all about road racing and advised on the next section which was about 20%. I really needed a pee break and stopped at the bottom of the 20% Wall of Talla, it was a good group and I thought if I climbed well and didn’t lose to much ground I could catch them on the descent, the plan worked and we joined up again. Long fast downhill on a narrow windy road to Meggat Reservoir. There was a rider down being tended to, one of two needing hospital treatment. Still fast down to St Mary’s Loch, and then turned back into the wind. It was gusting to about 45mph, we worked really well as a group with everyone taking a turn on the front although, despite waiting, we dropped a couple of riders, including the road racer from Dumfries. We crested the climb up The Grey Mares Tail and if anything had to work harder on the way down, picking up a couple of more riders, still in the rain which by this time was starting to ease although the wind had increased. We made it to the next and last feed station stopping for long enough to top up with water and grab another banana. By this time we were an established group and set off together without having to agree and slotted back into the chain gang. We passed riders who tried to stay on, it’s not that we were going fast, we weren’t, we just had a good rhythm and kept it going. After about 50k of this we finally turned back onto the road leading up to Wanlockhead with 16K of up to 15% left to go to the finish, (the final section up to the radar station had been closed due to severe gales!), and crossed the line together. I came in at 6:30:4, 48th out of 127 finishers after 106 miles of exhilarating hard riding.

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