Bike Ride Day 10 - 30th July 2010
Wasn't looking forward to today and felt very intimidated by the Cairngorms, but as often is the case the day turned out better than expected. Got up early and managed to get through my morning routine (to set up the bike, hydrate, eat a good breakfast, pack up stuff for the car, and stuff for my backpack - all of which takes AGES!) in order to be away for just after 7.30am. Good initial run to Cally Bridge, which is where you start to climb - for the next 60 miles. Met Jack at the Spitall of Glenshee and we shared the sandwiches he had brought, then he took his own bike off the rack and cycled 5-6 miles with me, which was great - ending up cycling the hill enormous up the Spitall, at which point he turned back and I carried on alone. Scenery was even more stunning than ever, with the run between Braemar and Balmoral some of the loveliest country I've ever seen.
Nodded respectfully at the Queen (the flag was flying at Balmoral) and then headed up towards Tomintoul for the most ENORMOUS hills after Cock Bridge. Just couldn't believe how steep and long they were! By the end of it my legs were complete jelly, but by that time it was only another 6 miles to Tomintoul and I gratefully sank into an amazing bath when I got to our B&B. This 100 miles was some of the toughest and yet most beautiful cycling I've ever experienced. Only 2 days to go now.
The end is in sight, and whatever the wind, weather and hills tomorrow I know that if I can just reach Dornoch then there will only be a single day left. I really appreciate all the messages of support from people - at the difficult times they are all that keeps you going.