The weather in Perthshire had been glorious all week, with bright warm sunshine, but I was stuck in my garage. Work commitments mean the “old git” and the “old gal” really only have a Sunday to take me out for a ride. But I have been promised some outings in the longer Summer evenings – no doubt for the odd picnic tea or for a gin and tonic stop at a nearby hostelry!
Now I need to report that my dynamic duo had been indulging a bit on Saturday evening when they watched the Eurovision Song Contest – one of the “old gal’s” favourite television events – washing down the cheesiness of the spectacle with some nicely chilled Loire valley white wine. The “old git” stressed this was all part of the research for the grand Tour de Loire Valley du Tandem we are embarking on in September – but I have my suspicions!
Anyway after a late evening, I was a bit sceptical about our planned early Sunday morning departure. But Team Matilda were up and about bright and early, with the weather pleasingly doing what was forecast meaning some nice sunshine.
The “old gal” was in buoyant spirits, so much so that as she declared this as a “shorts day”. Now as you know she does feel the cold, but decided that my dynamic duo should discard their thermal leggings and expose their knees for the first time in 2016!
The plan was for a quick cycle round the loop around Gleneagles hotel and round by Blackford before heading home, as family commitments meant we only had limited time. The idea – well the “old git’s” idea at any rate – was to do the same route as we did back in the middle of March, only do it faster.
Check out the location and route of my Sunny Sunday sojourn in shorts on Strava below – don’t forget to click on the map to get the full data and statistics!
So after fuelling up with a healthy breakfast it was time for the off. And it was most definitely sunglasses required as I emerged from the garage, with Matilda’s Rest bathed in glorious sunshine.
After the obligatory selfie – wearing those sunglasses of course – we cycled off in balmy, calm conditions. Yes I will say that again – balmy, calm conditions. It doesn’t happen too often around here, so we were going to make the best of it. And yes it was warm enough just for shorts!
My dynamic duo pedalled off and were soon in perfect synchronicity (well that’s what the old git likes to believe anyway!) as they pedalled up Auchterarder high street and headed out of the town, continuing up hill towards Gleneagles hotel – the local landmark and playground of the rich and famous!
We headed up the road towards Blackford and Braco with my crew feeling healthy and in good spirits. I was impressed as they completed the long climb past the back entrance to the hotel. I have to say we were actually moving faster and smoother that I expected – as the “old gal” using the gears to help power us along. And all the time we were soaking in the picturesque Perthshire countryside and wonderful fresh air.
We soon picked up speed on a nice downhill stretch and reaching the dizzy heights of 25.9 mph – albeit only for about 200 yards – before resuming standard speed of about 10 mph heading to the next incline.
It was a wonderful day to be out tandeming – proving the old adage that “it’s always better tandeming together!” We soon turned sharply to the left taking the undulating narrow country road to Blackford. In fact the road bounces up and down so much at one part, the stretch is known as The Red Barron by local cycling enthusiasts on Strava!
Through Blackford we passed the sprawling Highland Spring water factory – home of one of Perthshire’s most iconic brands – before cycling through the village and past the Tullibardine Highland single malt whisky distillery which is expanding its visitor centre.
After negotiating the adrenalin-fuelled dash across the busy A9 dual carriageway – on foot rather than pedalling for safety reasons – we turned into the much quieter and remote road around Bardrill.
The half way mark and time for a quick coffee stop with the “old git” having remembered to pack a flask of freshly brewed coffee.
It was a lovely place to have a cuppa though, with the coffee welcomed by the “old gal”, even though the “old git” couldn’t resist taking another photo to illustrate my blog!
Mind you I got a chance to relax leaning at a jaunty angle against a gate, looking out towards the Ochil hills. It really is a beautiful part of the country we are lucky enough to live in you know!
With the sun deciding it would stay with us, and the temperature rising, the “old gal” was delighted she had made the call to wear shorts. We were soon on the move again, with the three of us enjoying the cycling on the farm roads around Bardrill. This is a good road for practicing gear changes as there are straight stretches followed by downhills and inclines all in quick succession.
The road runs adjacent to the railway line for a bit with a couple of old fashioned humped back bridges which have a weight restriction because of their age.
The “old git” couldn’t resist a photo opportunity pointing to the weight limit while pointing out that we didn’t need to worry any more. You see that Hay Plan food combination eating thing my dynamic duo has certainly been working.
I am very proud to report that Team Matilda has lost a combined 59 lbs between them in just 13 weeks. Very impressive! And I benefit as that means that is the equivalent of nearly 30 bags of sugar that I am no longer having to carry around!
At the end of the Badrill road, we turned on to the Glendevon road and tandemed through the roundabout featuring an artwork of giant-sized golf clubs to mark the Ryder Cup golf match held at Gleneagles in September 2014 – when Europe famously beat the US.
We passed the grand front entrance to Gleneagles before cycling back downhill into Auchterarder and back to Matilda’s Rest.
Strava officially recorded the ride at a distance of 14.3 miles, covering an elevation of 598 feet. The good news was that the moving time was 1 hour 29 minutes – 23 minutes faster than the same trip back in mid March. And our average speed was 9.6 mph, up from 7.7 mph.
And particularly pleasing was that Team Matilda managed to clock up no less than 5 personal records on the route! See I told you the weight loss of my dynamic duo would boost our stamina and speed!
The “old git” has even found a function on Strava which calculated that our estimated average power output was 152 w while achieving an energy output of 814 kJ. No idea what that means in real money, but it sounds impressive for an “old lady” like me.
And the final bit of data was that we burned up 907 calories! And not a bit of carrot cake in sight!
So all in all it really was a most satisfying and enjoyable sunny Sunday sojourn in shorts! Roll on the next ride out!