Run down and ill. What a way to start my 40th lap around the sun. A sore throat, cough, nausea and a painful oxter lymph node not withstanding, I spent several hours in the mountains north of Kinlochleven on Satrurday. I was weak from the beginning, but Maul flew up the hill dragging me after. The rough, rocky access road beside Loch’s Eilde Mor and Beag gave way to the patch of grass at Luibeilt. The Abhainn Rath flowed dark and cold past the ruined house.
I moved up and down the river and tried to persuade myself that crossing was a good idea.
The objective for the day had been to get up past Loch Treig and round Loch Ossian. A late start and heavy legs made that impossible. In addition, my fully charged lights were still in a zip lock bag in my car rather than my back pack. Less than ideal with only two and a half hours until sunset.
As I sat munching yoghurt covered snacks the rain started to fall as did the temperature. Crossing the river, getting cold and wet, was now sliding out of the uncomfortable zone and into the irresponsible: I had nowhere near enough energy to generate the heat-through-activity I would need to keep myself safe once I made the ford.
Somewhat reluctantly, I turned tail and endured the bitter head wind back to Kinlochleven.
This ride was supposed to add to the knowledge bank for the Highland Trail 550 – a long distance self supported race across some of the finer terrain Scotland has to offer. This is happening on May the 24th 2014 and I will be on the start line in Tyndrum. It had been several years since I had ridden around Kinlochleven other than the Tour de Ben. I had forgotten how long it took and what the ground is like as you pass east, beside the Abhainn Rath.
I didn’t learn much that day, but I did use the hours to ponder SON dynamo hubs, lights, GPS charging and which bike would be the best compromise for such a long effort.