Round the Forth, Round the Velodrome, Round the Dance Floor and more.

Where on earth did October go to?   I seemed to go from one annoying cold to another so not done as much exercise as I would have liked,  but as I type this,  realise that I’ve still done a fair amount.

Another Round the Forth circuit – this time stopping to look at the old pier at Culross which is being repaired and a wee stop to look at the new Forth Crossing which is gradually getting more joined together.   For the first time I arrived at the Forth Road Bridge to find the West side of the bridge was closed to pedestrians and cyclists,  meaning that I had to carry the bike down too many steps,  cross under the bridge and then carry bike back up even more steps so that I could join the East side of the bridge – this was an unexpected nuisance – however there were 2 benefits to this – (1)from just below the bridge you get a better vantage point of the Forth Railway Bridge and (2)There is a public toilet at the end of  the East side of the bridge (bonus).

I went with friends,  Colin and Sara, to watch the cycling at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.   First ever time at a velodrome and I loved it.   There were a mix of some of the recent Olympic cyclists and some up and coming junior cyclists and all were amazing and lots of different of races going on so never got boring.   Surprised though by the old fashioned and (I think) sexist presentation of the flowers to each of the winners by the very pretty dolly bird in heals – surprised that she was allowed on to the track – just the very edge but never the less on the track in her stiletto heals – but why was there no good looking male presenting the flowers to the female winners,  which I would prefer – but suppose it does open up all sorts of questions of who should make the presentations depending on each cyclists sexual preference – maybe it is easier to have one lassie (heals or not) doing all the presentations??   Anyway the racing was great fun to watch and will definitely be going back to the velodrome.

The following  weekend I was in Ballachullish with the Ochils Mountaineering Club(OMC). Two Munros on the Saturday and a Corbett on the Sunday.   Good company and chat on and off the hills.

 

Then I took Ben,  my nephew,  to Holland for a weekend.   No hills but plenty of walking and of course you can’t go to Holland without a hiring a bike.   We hired our trusty steeds from the hostel we were staying at – combination of style and weight of bike we were both a bit wobbly to begin with but soon got to grips with things and a had great wee bike ride.

We had a super day at Apenheul (the monkey / primate park) – all pictures taken by Ben except the one of himself monkeying about.

In Amsterdam we explored some of the canals,  visited the Anne Frank Museum,  climbed the (approx) 180 stairs up the Westerkerk Bell Tower and got super views of the city,  and we had amazing waffles and cake.

Absolutely shattered but a great weekend,  although I’m not sure how well I handled the “what’s a cannabis condom Auntie Lucy?” conversation.

I’ve now signed up for the Loch Ness Etape next April – it’s been on the tick list for a while and probably doesn’t make sense to do it the month before the Stirling Marathon but had a what the heck moment and signed up – it’s only 66 miles and I don’t think the hills should be too bad but I need to figure out how to keep my hands warm so I can keep training over the winter.

The last weekend in October was the OMC dinner dance and I was full of the snotters again.   I did think about staying cosy in my sleeping bag on the Saturday but dragged my body out of bed to try and keep up with Nige on the bike.   Starting from the Ben Lawers  Carpark we had sweeping downhill ride to Loch Tay – the easiest part of the day.   From there we headed West and very pleasant cycling alongside the River Lochay and then the hard work started – up,  up and more up – my snot filled lungs were protesting and I had to admit defeat and pushed the bike over 2 sections of the road as we headed North West to the high point before another lovely down hill to Pubil.   From here lovely gently undulating cycling to Bridge of Balgie and a very short detour to the Glenlyon Post Office come tiny shop come Tea Room – definitely worth stopping for – cake heaven.   One final pull back up to the start point – my kind of uphill – tough and constant but achievable without having to dismount and push.   Will definitely be back to do this route again (and have more cake).

Nearly sleeping during the dinner but managed to get a second wind for the dancing later that night – Strip the Willows,  Gay Gordons,  Dashing White Sergeant and more.   A relaxing start to the morning and the cold seemed a wee bit better and it was off on the bike again along with Nige and Ade this time – I hadn’t got a hope in hell of keeping up but Ade was kind and Nige kept stopping to take photos so I didn’t do too bad at trying to keep up as we did the Loch Tay Loop (clockwise) from Killin.   Great route in beautiful autumnal weather and will need to go back and explore it some more including Kenmore which is really pretty and the Crannog Centre which looks interesting.