Note, this post has been co-written by Sarah and Paul.
We totally kicked the fucking arse of that motherfucking charity cycling event – motherfucker!!!
Yes, yes we did. Although I disagree entirely with Sarah’s excessive profanity. We did, however, rock that bitch.
Ok, so, it wasn’t *strictly* a race, and it wasn’t even *vaguely* important, however: I’m pretty fucking competitive, so *I* at least was racing, even if nobody else was.
And I totally beat them.
I beat them too, every single one of those losers who came in behind me. Can I also add that I technically beat Sarah too – despite coming in an hour behind her I achieved my goal of simply finishing whereas she failed to be home and showered in time for flat viewings. Paul 1 – Sarah 0. Oh yeah baby.
The details of the Day of Triumph are as follows:
Paul and Sabrina and I set off together from Edinburgh, after enduring the World’s Longest Queue to get our bikes on the truck and get ourselves on the bus at Victoria Park in Leith, at about 8am. Sabrina and I chatted away happily, drinking coffee and munching of cereal bars as Paul, who was full of the cold, tried not to vomit.
Had a chest infection followed by a dastardly cold in the week preceding the event, meaning no training, extreme weakness, typical man flu symptoms (“I’m dyiiiiiiing”) and general rubbishness. Managed to hawk up some impressively coloured piles of phlegm before the start though, made me kinda proud.
Eventually we arrived at Glasgow Green, with Paul not covered in vomit, and got ready to get going. Toilet trips, seat adjustments, tyre pump..age..ings (?) and we were at the starting line at 10.04am. Every minute 40 riders were set off, avoiding a scrummage at the starting line, so at 10.05 we set off; cycle computer duly zeroed for accurate information on the ride.
Paul, Sabrina and I rode together for, ooh, about…. 25 seconds until I, like the heartless bitch that I am, fucked right off into the distance, and that was the last I saw of them until quite a bit later.
Actually, Sabrina and I deliberately starting falling back because Sarah’s racist and occasionally Nazi-esque chat about inferior races and breeding out any kind of physical imperfections so we could create a master race of cycling Muay Thai cyborgs was frankly a little too much for that time of the morning.
Ok, I admit it, I sort of zoomed off – what a meanie. However, I was keen to challenge myself and see how quickly I could do the ride, so I set off at a pretty good pace and quite quickly overtook about 8 of the groups who’d set off before us, before eventually settling into a rhythm just as we were leaving Glasgow. I had been picking random people to try and follow or overtake, and a couple of miles in I found myself behind a man doing a very good impression of a brick shithouse, with thighs like treetrunks. He was wearing a bright pink t-shirt which made him pretty easy to spot and cycled about as fast as me, or slightly faster, so he seemed a good pace-setter.
I tailed him for the entire journey and although we lost one another several times at rest stops, we always seemed to find each other again. At points when he was obviously off somewhere, peeing or having some pasta, or both – who knows, who am I to judge – I tagged along with a group of proper-scary-looking-cyclists-in-lycra, and was chuffed to bits to discover I could keep up easily. Well, not easily. But I kept up anyway.
Hehe, cyclists in lycra. It was never a sensible fashion statement and never will be. I had the utter joy of spending a few minutes behind a woman with an ass just ever-so-slightly on the large side for the lycra shorts she was wearing, resulting in a constant stream of seismic waves emanating from the saddle up to the top of her ass-cheeks. It was hypnotic like watching a fucking lava lamp, I swear if I’d had some quality acid on me I’d have been the happiest man alive.
It was one of these lycra-clad cycling Gods who gave me some great encouragement, complimenting my speed and “natural ability” (ha!), suggesting I should join a cycling club. Sadly for the world of cycling, I have only room in my life for one true love – Muay Thai (sorry Paul). Chris Hoy is safe for now.
Fuck you too. Bee-atch.
All in all, the cycle was pretty good fun. There were several moments of zippy “Wheeeee!”ness, zooming down hills at 30mph; overtaking and being overtaken by cyclists all around; narrowly missing being repeatedly squished by cars (not squished repeatedly by the same car, but repeated near-misses: being repeatedly squished by just one car would definitely look suspicious).
There were also several hours-worth of hills: the Hill O’ Death just after Avonbridge was a corker, and I was really glad I had decided not to stop in Avonbridge to eat my Powerbar and wait until I got through the crowds, because getting started again going up that hill would have been a killer. That was kind of a theme at Pedal for Scotland: rest stops immediately in front of ENORMOUS hills. Not a good plan. I very much enjoyed sitting on the verge just after the brow of the hill, listening to several hundred cyclists going “Aaaaaah” in relief as they finally got to freewheel for a minute. Quite relaxing.
That hill was truly horrible, Sab and i made the mistake of stopping at Avonbridge and being forced to warm back up on the incline. An evil or monumentally stupid piece of route planning, all so some nowhere little hamlet can cash in on the charity-based cash cow that is Pedal For Scotland. Cunts.
Apart from that, I made one other stop, at Linlithgow where there was pasta, water and toilets. All very much needed and very much appreciated. I got going after that for the last 20 miles and caught back up with Mr Pink and the Scary Cyclists not far down the road.
The last part of the ride, from Cramond to Leith Victoria Park was sheer hell. It’s a long, slow incline and whilst the website claimed the ride was 47.5 miles, this was a big, fat lie and in fact it was 53. So, when I got to 45 miles I was thinking “Yes! Only 2.5 to go!” 2.5 miles passed, and I was demonstrably not finished and had no idea how much further it was to go, so that was a nice touch of unintentional mind-fuckery. About this time, Mr Pink blistered past me and I completely lost sight of all the cyclists I had been keeping up with. Shit.
OK, now everyone knows that Sarah is fit. I mean seriously, absurdly and possibly illegally fit. She can take this kind of last-minute route alteration in her stride and, to be honest, was probably secretly pissed off that they didn’t make it a return journey. I, however, am a recovering couch potato who was still in the throes of a nasty illness at the time. Can you imagine what it was like to see that 45-mile marker pass by and think, “Yay! Nearly there!”, only to turn around and think, “Wait, if Leith is only 2.5 miles away then how the fuck come I’ve only just cycled under the fucking Forth Road Bridge?”. Bunch of unforgiveable bastards.
I was really flagging as we neared Leith, but two nedlings helpfully spurred me on by throwing an apple at me as I cycled past. Being more concerned about my time than smashing their skulls in I let it go with some colourful language but got a burst of anger-fuelled speed on.
I escaped any ned-based aggro, instead being treated to some fun and games from locals en route. It seems that South Queensferry must be one of the most boring places on earth because an unfeasible amount of locals actually turned out to watch the spectacle of a stream of red-faced cyclists puff and pant their way through the streets. I was glad of this though because I got treated to several rounds of “Run The High-Five Gauntlet” by groups of wee kiddies. They’d line up either side of the cyclists and stretch their hands into the path, screaming “High-five me!!!” at the tops of their wee lungs. Most of the sour pricks on the run just ignored them but I was only too happy to oblige, especially in the situations where it involved rapidly switching between left and right fives. I even managed to summon enough reserve energy “Cycling Five!”, “Charity Five!” and, most proudly, “Mental Health Five!” a la The Todd from Scrubs. Aah, simple pleasures.
Maybe about a quarter of a mile from the finish line, I saw Mr Pink up ahead and decided that I needed to catch up, which gave me some motivation – I guess he must have been a bit fucked too, or maybe had to stop for a bit. I caught him just as we rounded the corner into the park and then overtook him, beating him by about 10 seconds or so.
What a cow, eh?
Ok, so it’s not a race as I said, and it certainly wasn’t a race against Mr Pink, because I don’t think he was racing against *me*, but… I don’t care.
I crossed the finishing line at 14.19: 4 hrs 14 mins after I started. Of that, I did 3 hrs 47 actually on the bike, which I’m really chuffed with.
I was over the line about an hour later with Sabrina coming in close behind me. Don’t think I’ve ever been so tired but the actual pain of it all disappeared remarkably quickly.
The atmosphere at Victoria Park was great, as was the camaraderie on the road, and it was a great experience which I’d love to repeat next year if I’m in the country.
Next year would be nice, although I’m still aiming for the charity cycle around Madagascar which I uncovered online. Bring it on baby.
What wasn’t so great was the fact I still had to cycle home after I finished.
Quit whining, pussy!
And that is the epic tale of Pedal for Motherfucking Scotland, Mofo!