2 December 2014
To use a famous Scoticism It was a a Braw Brich Moon Licht Nicht the Nicht; the sky was clear, the moon was just past full and the chill in the air was definite. As I busied around the car in the Cally Car Park chatting to Dan getting ready I still had my trainers on my feet, with all done I still had my trainers on my feet, one last task… Baws! Setting off up the hill my feet trying to find the best place to rest the tiny race pedals surface on my worn slick trainer soles (they really need replaced) I knew it was going to be interesting and Dan getting to ride at a less than normal pace! I swore to put my old flat pedals and allen key in the car boot when I got home.
In the lower stretches it was very dark with the rocks and trees shading the lower tracks and lochs but after the farm where the air smelt of burning wood and the barn glowed bright from the fire inside the landscape opened up. We saw a light ahead, another cyclist, must be on the High Path I thought, but then there was more, 7 riders descending in the dark towards us! After this climb comes the jump bridge which we both just rolled but then first Dan followed by I turned off our lights and rode on; eyes adjusting to the available light, first the outline of the track appeared and then the road surface. We carried on for a bit like this before I snapped first and put the lights back on, forcing Dan to reciprocate. At the Gate we repeated this but stood and waited, the Stars and Moon shone bright to start but then as our eyes adjusted the sky and loch blued and the outline of the hills and trees contrasted black; sadly I was not equipped with appropriate photographic gear to capture this scene. Discovering that neither of us were any good at astronomical identification; the big dipper and that Sword that’s near Orion were found.
We set off again in the dark with our eyes able to pick out the larger shapes on the cold ground and rode through the frost white grass until not being able to judge the puddles on their outlines alone became too much; again I cracked first forcing Dan to light his way too. At the Lodge Dan set off to tackle the high path route while I took the easier route back; a necessary split as I just didn’t have the foot grip to descend or even climb the more technical ground. As I set off down the hill I could briefly see Dan’s light climbing the hill before I turned the corner and was truly on my own in the dark. Even on this fast estate road descent only being able to move around the saddle rather than stand up was problematic particularly on bumps which I’d normally either jump or squash; I was just a passenger as the wheels skipped over and did as they wish with my forcedly static riding position. Of particular concern being when the back wheel skipped up with the front planted! Also not being able to move the bike about as much as I like was a problem with some corners becoming more interesting as I carried in as much speed as normal; Still it was a fast descent according to Strava; if only I’d had the grip to really dig into the climbs…
Back at the car other riders were packing up and I only had minutes to wait before Dan appeared; and interesting ride for Me and Dan reported that the ground just wasn’t quite frozen enough yet! Now where did I put those Flats?