First things first:
I'm really not sure if I did the whole course. I think I did. Last year when we only did 76 miles, we went left on a section that they'd cut off, this year I went right and came back over a bridge. This year I could have sworn my garmin said 75.5 miles on the clock when I finished, but after putting the route on the 'pooter it says I did the 81. I've ran through the data with the play back and I don't really jump up on the milage on going round a section, and there is only one point over less than a quarter of a mile where it switched itself off that I fly like the crow flies (starts at the 63 mile bit). So I'm really not sure and need an expert opinion. On routing I thought the Garmin recorded what you did not what the route you mapped out was, but arrrgh! I dunno.
My 'Etape Caledonia 2012 Official Time' is 06:36, which is 37 minutes longer than last year.
However: Out of 6,000 people that were booked on it only 4039 showed up. Out of 4039 that started, I was 3796. So I finished ahead of 244 people. And I manned up and did the course (67 people didn't finish).
The reason why so many people didn't show up is because of the weather. The earliest records I can find for 12pm the 13th of May (when I was still on the road) was 29 miles an hour with gusts of up to 45. As you went round the course there were sheltered sections. It worked out that you had a head wind for about 40 miles round. The first horrible bit was along the top side of Loch Rannon (after 20-30 mile mark) but coming over the top of Schiehallion was the worst (miles 47-55) I didn't manage to get past 30 mph on the way down once, and this time it was nothing to do with my cornering because I think I cracked that! The wind didn't drop again until you were half way round the little loop bit (58 miles round).
|Elevation:||+ 5486 / - 5509 ft|
|Max Speed:||29.6 mph|
|Avg. Speed:||13.0 mph|
|Max Cadence:||127 rpm|
|Min Cadence:||20 rpm|
|Avg. Cadence:||67.7 rpm|
Everybody's time was apparently bad this year. And shame on those who didn't bother to show! The race was sold out and I know of at least 3 others who fancied it. Still it wasn't pleasant. But I'm glad I did it, and when I got off I could have done more (a centenary perhaps?).
Have already booked my interest for next year - and the b&b we stayed in. Can't really recommend that enough:
They had a little race pack for us with powerbars, juice and a gel shot, as well as the usual catalogues for Endura, local wool shops etc. Breakfast was served at 5 am on the morning of the race (first guys went off at 6 am I think), and they let you set your bike up then stash it in their garage. The staff were friendly, and there were red squirrels in the garden as we ate breakfast this morning.
So what's the next thing:
Getting out with others is a must. After it being quite windy this year I'm going to see if I can charm a couple of the beardy weirdy's at Grampian CTC to Domestique for me. I very much doubt they're defenceless against my charms but I have the lack of shame to try.
What else - get better at rolling hills, and hills again. I want this to be easy!
What else? Barefoot running anyone?!