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Midwinter Metric Meiklour Cogal Report 2013

Midwinter Metric Meiklour Cogal Report 2013

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The view from Strahlubnaig.

December 21st, 2013, at latitude 56 ½ degrees North, a little before 9am, and of course not fully light yet in this small corner of north west Europe, where the shortest day grudgingly gives us 6h 50m of what can be loosely described as ‘daylight’.

Of course, the Great Cloud Belt which seems to perpetually loom over Caledonia in winter gives a dull and watery light, even in the middle of the day, no wonder there are so many SAD bastards in this country.

So the scene is set, complete with a persistent rain which varies from icy cold to plain wet snow and sleet. And did I mention the wind ? Aye, we had wind and quite enough of it, thanks for asking.

I initially missed the meeting point, having failed to read the latest update from The-Farmer, but luckily spotted the other three brave and hardy souls as they were gearing up. It was great to meet the instigator of this merry midwinter jaunt, and of course there was the ever present Velomiscottie McCogal attendee, JohnB, who has failed to miss a single one (i.e. all four so far) and also present was all 6 foot five of CambellRae1.

Slightly disappointed at the turnout personally, but the last shopping Saturday before Xmas obviously had its attractions for some, or the VMHs had perhaps put their foot down, who knows, hopefully it was not the Neufesque weather conditions which was to blame ? A hardier bunch surely ?

So, promptly at V after 9 we rolled out, red lights blinking away as we left a wake in the sodden roads behind us. A fairly sedate pace to begin with, we ambled along for a bit letting the legs warm up and riding in two pairs, even the (shock – horror) fenders on the bikes could not fully limit the icy rooster tails behind, so we kept a decent gap.

It was pleasant to swap out paired riders as we went, getting to know The Farmer and catching up with the other lads. The route rolled up and down, traffic was fairly light, and the weather continued to keep us entertained. I stopped now and then to try and snap a photo, which was a challenge in the poor light and constant downpours. The odd comfort break was announced, the pace quickened and slackened, lights went on, lights went off. The kilometres clicked past, though for myself I was riding purely on V meter, and I always feel distance goes by a lot quicker when in a group.

Presently we approached the one main climb of the day up Glen Cochil, from the South, which tops out at around 405m, and is a pleasant 5km long, roughly. What had been a monsoon at the junction quickly became wet snow near the summit, adding to the enjoyment. The run down to Aberfeldy on the other side was a balance between speed and avoiding hypothermia, none of us having a dry copy of L’Équipe to stick down our fronts.

Reaching town a wee bit ahead of the chasing pack I went for some cash and then found a café, leaning my Focus on the front window, where the troops would see it, I thought. I ordered up some java and waited…..Seems they piled into a different café about 50m away, more fool me, they had found one with a log burning stove and better looking staff. Bugger. I eventually made contact (cell coverage was poor) and joined them for a hug round the stove, then we hit the road again for Part Deux.

As is normal after a decent stop like that, welcome as it was given the chill we all felt, it took a few km to warm up again, but the sky also brightened quite a bit, and what could be described as sunshine made an appearance ! This was a real psychological boost, along with us now following the mighty River Tay (the longest river in the British Isles) DOWN stream.

To avoid the busy A9 highway we used a combination of back roads, cycle paths and the odd CX inspired section, even coming across a closed gate. I was surprised JohnB didn’t vault it in proper style with his cyclocross rig on his shoulder.

Soon we passed through Dunkeld and could almost smell the mince pehs in The Farmers house. By this time were we ready for a wee seat and a seasonal snack, and upon approaching Meiklour I enquired about the distance covered, and was informed we would be shy of the 100 by about 2 or 3km. As a unit we all managed to find a bit of extra road, by turning around for a bit and also scooting past the finish point to circle back eventually, having surpassed the metric century mark. It would have been a shame not to.

A change of shoes, a dry fleece and a warm tuque on, we headed to The Farmers ranch, negotiating a few potholes on the track across his back forty, we were greeted by his best hunting hounds and a few chickens. Unfortunately we were all driving soon after, so no Belgian brews, but good coffee and festive munchies, we dissected the ride, congratulated one another on our Rule #9 efforts,and soon bid farewell and merry xmas. Cheers lads.

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// Cogal Report

  1. Thanks for posting @Gianni

  2. Very nice write up strathlubnaig. If I’d vaulted that gate I’d still be in a groin stookie right now.

    Looking forward to Cogal #5 later in 2014. I must start a thread on a potential 2 day affair based around the Bealach na Ba as we briefly discussed on the ride. That may interest some of the other UK based Velominati and make it worthwhile travelling to take in an 11/10 ‘holy grail’ climb as rated and described in 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs: A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hills. Mountain Higher also states that the Bealach na Ba ‘can hold it’s head high in the rarified company of Europe’s toughest and most spectacular cycle climbs’

    Now, if that doesn’t whet a Velominati’s appetite for tackling it in a Cogal I don’t know what will?

  3. @strathlubnaig

    Thanks for posting @Gianni

    My pleasure. Great write up, almost minor points off for not getting slaughtered on ales and installed deeply in dog house with Farmers hounds. Pre-Christmas timing was bold, points added there. And I love that one lane industrial bridge being ridden over. Is that crossing the mighty Tay. I am jealous all the way around, well done.

  4. Correct @Gianni, the old rail bridge is over the mighty Tay, just South of Pitlochry. Fair comments re lack of malted bevarage recovery drinks, but I think we compensated by mince pehs and quality street candy.

    @JohnB , aye the Balach na Ba would be the dugs ba’s right enough. Make it happen.

  5. Nice work you Rule #9 nutters! I was chilled to the bone reading that and looking at the pics …

  6. Well done Velomiscotties, a great read and chapeau to all on getting it together and riding R#9, the aftermatch must have tasted all the sweeter..

  7. @strathlubnaig Great write up.  Sorry I couldn’t make it but with enough warning I could make the Bealach na Ba Cogal, I’ve been trying to get over there for a while now.  Let’s do it.

  8. Great read @strathlubnaig, also sorry I couldn’t make it. The photaes scream “DREICH,” makes me shiver just looking at them. Well done lads, +1’s to all four of ye hardy drookit craiters.

  9. Chapeau all round, enjoyable read thank you.

  10. Despite the watery winter light (I know it well) and the rain and wind just reading this makes me jealous.  I must attend one of these at some point and tie it in with my trip up to my parents on Lewis…great write up!

  11. Great ride and great write up. Oh to have had the Velominati when I was living in Scotland! Mind you, wack them Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet, so it’s a moot point. That being said, long, dreich rides are not so easily forgotten so I could empathize with you all. Largs and Bridge of Weir were two winter cafe stops depending upon the route.

    It was fun to read this yesterday upon returning from a cold, wet 65kms where a few sections of road were still a bit too icy and slushy to be safe. Temps were in the high 30s but the wind and general ice/snow cover kept things cool. Needless to say, I saw no other cyclists out there.

  12. Strong work McVelominati. I’ve never ridden in that part of the world but know it well.

    @wiscot

    It was fun to read this yesterday upon returning from a cold, wet 65kms where a few sections of road were still a bit too icy and slushy to be safe. Temps were in the high 30s but the wind and general ice/snow cover kept things cool. Needless to say, I saw no other cyclists out there.

    We had a somewhat frigid club ride yesterday as well. Some idiot set a route that took us along a road called Low Road – named for the fact that it always seems to be flooded. Not so yesterday, it was sheet ice; after 200m, two or three people had come off and the entire C group, the social group had decided to jack it in. That was was within 2km of the start.

    Apart from that it was a cracking ride although I was glad to have my new Rapha soft shell jacket on when the wind got up on the way home.

  13. @strathlubnaig lovely write-up and strong effort to celebrate the solstice in what is really the only appropriate way.  Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of daytime Scotland…

  14. Nice! Love that opening photo. I often ride under a railroad trestle that looks very similar, though I’m in the U.S. Makes me feel like, at least in my mind, that I’m passing under that big ol’ one in the Arenberg.

    Wind sucks. I can handle rain, but wind is such a pain in the arse.

  15. Excellent write-up; really had the feeling of being there – love that area. Never ridden there – only business in Perth, but sounds amazing – especially the stops at the pubs. Good Rule #9 effort!

  16. I loved reading that – you have a great writing-style. Chapeau to you all on a great Rule #9 effort.

  17. @HMBSteve

    Excellent write-up; really had the feeling of being there – love that area. Never ridden there – only business in Perth, but sounds amazing – especially the stops at the pubs. Good Rule #9 effort!

    Do feel free to get in touch when in Perth,  sure we can organize a wee ride.

  18. @wrongsideof40 cheers mate.

  19. Sounds like a great ride, really like the pics too

  20. @strathlubnaig

    @HMBSteve

    Excellent write-up; really had the feeling of being there – love that area. Never ridden there – only business in Perth, but sounds amazing – especially the stops at the pubs. Good Rule #9 effort!

    Do feel free to get in touch when in Perth, sure we can organize a wee ride.

    Thanks for that – now live back  in the US, but may be in the UK in August.  Will surely attempt a “wee ride” in that event.  Thanks for the offer!

  21. @JohnB

    Very nice write up strathlubnaig. If I’d vaulted that gate I’d still be in a groin stookie right now.

    Looking forward to Cogal #5 later in 2014. I must start a thread on a potential 2 day affair based around the Bealach na Ba as we briefly discussed on the ride. That may interest some of the other UK based Velominati and make it worthwhile travelling to take in an 11/10 ‘holy grail’ climb as rated and described in 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs: A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hills. Mountain Higher also states that the Bealach na Ba ‘can hold it’s head high in the rarified company of Europe’s toughest and most spectacular cycle climbs’

    Now, if that doesn’t whet a Velominati’s appetite for tackling it in a Cogal I don’t know what will?

    I’m there

  22. @JohnB

    Very nice write up strathlubnaig. If I’d vaulted that gate I’d still be in a groin stookie right now.

    Looking forward to Cogal #5 later in 2014. I must start a thread on a potential 2 day affair based around the Bealach na Ba as we briefly discussed on the ride. That may interest some of the other UK based Velominati and make it worthwhile travelling to take in an 11/10 ‘holy grail’ climb as rated and described in 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs: A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hills. Mountain Higher also states that the Bealach na Ba ‘can hold it’s head high in the rarified company of Europe’s toughest and most spectacular cycle climbs’

    Now, if that doesn’t whet a Velominati’s appetite for tackling it in a Cogal I don’t know what will?

    Re groin stookie http://www.stickybottle.com/latest-news/irish-racing-cyclist-suffers-seven-week-erection-after-fall-on-crossbar-cured-in-dublin-hospital/

  23. @JohnB

    Very nice write up strathlubnaig. If I’d vaulted that gate I’d still be in a groin stookie right now.

    Looking forward to Cogal #5 later in 2014. I must start a thread on a potential 2 day affair based around the Bealach na Ba as we briefly discussed on the ride. That may interest some of the other UK based Velominati and make it worthwhile travelling to take in an 11/10 ‘holy grail’ climb as rated and described in 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs: A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hills. Mountain Higher also states that the Bealach na Ba ‘can hold it’s head high in the rarified company of Europe’s toughest and most spectacular cycle climbs’

    Now, if that doesn’t whet a Velominati’s appetite for tackling it in a Cogal I don’t know what will?

    Looking forward to hearing more about this. As long as it doesn’t clash with holidays etc I’d bee up fro a two day Cogal.

  24. Nice report guys! Loved reading about your ride. It also brings back excellent memories of our Dutch Cogal. So when’s the first Pan-European Cogal where we can all meet? Or is that simply called the Keepers Tour?

  25. @Marco Legweak

    Nice report guys! Loved reading about your ride. It also brings back excellent memories of our Dutch Cogal. So when’s the first Pan-European Cogal where we can all meet? Or is that simply called the Keepers Tour?

    I think a long weekend visit ‘over the water’ may not be out of the question at some point, especially if some Pays-Basque locals can lead the way. Might be worth thinking about.

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