LEJoG day 11 – Inveraray to Fort William via Glencoe

Another day of perfect weather. I’ve been incredibly lucky. Although, as I write this I can hear rain outside. Let’s hope it won’t turn into the deluge that we experienced in Cornwall and Devon!

As my newly-formed support crew, John and Dave, wrestled themselves from bed to see me off at 08:45, I was still mulling over my decision to ditch the panniers. You see, I’d had in my mind that it would be cool to keep the panniers all the way to JoG (as we would have done if injuries hadn’t forced the retirement of two thirds of our team). However, temptation gave way and I set off with the bare minimum. Now, before you question this decision, I’d like you to imagine having 2 crates of beer strapped to the back of your bike and then cycle to Scotland. The panniers were that heavy.

So, without panniers, the bike felt weirdly light. I flew up the 15% hill out of Inveraray on the A819. I got to the 20 mile mark in under and hour. I had a text from my support crew who were just tucking into a full Scottish Breakfast. Thanks for your support, lads!

Soon after, I turned off the A85 and took the B8074 towards Bridge of Orchy. This road was stunning. Flat for the majority, it ran adjacent to a small river – with huge mountains either side creating the valley. Still no sign of the support car.

I turned left into the A82. With such good visibility, I wasn’t concerned about the fast traffic – although I wouldn’t have liked to cycle on the road in the rain.

The A82 runs through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country as the road heads through the deep mountain valley of Glen Coe. With only a light breeze in the air and the climbs not as taxing as expected, it was a true privilege to cycle there. My GPS showed I’d done 44 miles before my “support” crew turned up. Just as we were refilling bottles, a fighter plane flew through the valley and buzzed the elevated parking space we were standing in.

Halfway through the valley was a great decent – but a pot hole caused a bottle to fly out of the cage. At the bottom, I got my new support crew to go and retrieve it.

I was still munching through the miles and it occurred to me that, if I got to Fort William early enough, there could be time to climb Ben Nevis! Better get a wriggle on!

I followed the support car into Fort William to complete my day’s 66 miles – arriving just before 2pm. After dumping bags, John and I set off to climb Britain’s highest mountain.

We got to the summit in just over 2 hours. The views from the top were stunning! And, unlike most UK mountains, there weren’t any clouds to spoil the view. The descent was sore for John’s knee, but we did the round trip in 5 hours.

After food in Fort William, I’m hitting the sack. Exhausted.

Garmin tats for LEJoG day 11: target=”_blank”
66.55miles.
2,828ft ascent. 2,848ft descent.
Fastest speed 40.5mph.
Average speed 16.9mph
Average Heart Rate: 137bpm
Max heart rate 172bpm.
Average cadence 78rpm

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