Date: Wednesday 27th May, 2015
Distance: 46.3km | Elevation: 459m
Destinations: Gleneagles – Muthill – Gleneagles
Start kms: 3,337.3km | Finish kms: 3,383.6km | % complete: 33.8%
Mid-way into a 10-day UK road trip, Ashley and I spent 2 nights in Gleneagles Hotel, where it turns out it’s not only possible to while away your day in spas, restaurants, bars between golf and shooting sessions, but also to hire Condor bikes and explore the surrounding roads of Auchterader.
Gleneagles being the Mecca of all things golf, I naturally chose to body-swerve the greens and fairways entirely in favour of some Scottish roads.
With the help of a couple of Garmins pre-loaded with several routes, Ashley and I set out to explore Strowan Road and its surroundings.
The roads were as quiet as you’d expect given the fact that they surrounded an idyllic retreat and the undulations were as present as you’d assume them to be in an area named The Highlands.
What I had failed to anticipate was the considerable contrast in temperature compared to London. A month of committing to attire consisting of bib shorts and jersey-only meant that I’d turned up woefully unprepared. My true colours as a soft, southern twat were at risk of being exposed, made immediately obvious to anyone that might care to gaze longer than a couple of seconds on my goosebump-covered, purple/red-coloured arms and chattering teeth.
Ashley had already laid claim to the only vaguely suitable cycling jumper I had, so I strictly adhered to Rule #5.
The Condor Italia RC bikes we’d hired were by no means top of the range – and I suppose a £2,500 frameset, one of Condor’s higher-spec numbers, is an unreasonable expectation for a morning jaunt – but they were comfortable runners.
This comfort was made all the better by the addition of bar-mounted Garmin cycle computers. Whilst I’ve benefitted from the navigational prowess of the Garmin Edge in the past, I’d never used one first-hand and I was entirely sold on the merits of using it over a mounted iPhone – battery life, size and clarity and three of numerous realms it trumps the latter.
The Scottish scenery had put on the most ominous, looming, moody outfit it could find for the morning. The clouds hung dark, grey and heavy over the surrounding hills and valleys. The threat of rain was constant.
With so little in the way of weather protection, I was living dangerously, but it made for some truly phenomenal views and superb panoramic shots. I was willing to risk being battered by the rain for both.
Thankfully, it did manage to hold off for the majority of the ride, with increasingly frequent droplets welcoming us back to the hotel before an all-out downpour.
That was our cue to hit the spa.