Rob Roy Relay, August 2008
Can a race report do justice to this brilliant event, organised by the Magnificent Hutchinsons (MH's)? Not only did they do all the logistical preparation and jildying necessary to ensure the success of the venture, but they also arranged pre-event accommodation in Pitlochry( well, except for those-and-such-as those) for the paltry fee of £2 a head. And, to cap it all the MH's also hosted the post-relay party.
Anyway, I'll briefly summarise the event from the viewpoint of the victorious, invincible and unassuming Kelvinside National Team. I'll leave it to others to explain the altogether inferior performance of the Milngavie National Team!!!!!
John D set off at 5am in the dark on the 1st stage up out of Pitlochry, making sure he turned off his headtorch to prevent Hamilton from seeing his way through the wet forest. He handed on to Muffy, who had a great run to Aberfeldy...well, up until she lost 20 minutes visiting Dewar's World of Whisky. Mind you, this was just as well, as the Bold Brian Brennan had completely misread the spreadsheet and took the estimated FINISH time as his start time. A frantic fonecall from Dave got Brian out his bed and to the changeover in 10 minutes ( if only he could emulate this spped on the uphills????) ready to take over from Muffy when she finally made her way to the finish. Brian made up most of the gap in his section, handing over to Keith Adams at a midge-infested Tombuie Cottage.
Keith, who ended up totally exhausted by doing virtually the whole of the rest of the relay on his single-geared mountain bike, caught up the Milngavie lot by the time he reached the shores of Loch Tay and handed over to Muffy. Well, it shouldn't have been Muffy, but Johannes made the same mistake as Brian ( "Well, you wouldn't expect the BBC to write a programme schedule showing the times when the programmes ended, would you?"). Muffy ran the first road section along Loch Tay, before passing over to Pat for the second. Pat had every reason for performing well on her section, having snubbed the rest of her team mates the night before by partying in Killin with the Kelvinside Logistics Support Manager, Isabel.
The next section, from Ardeonaig over the hills to Killin, was the longest stage, and Dave took over from Pat a couple of minutes behind Cap'n Chris. He ended the stage respectably only 12 minutes behind Chris, but his slow time allowed the rest of the team to get tea and scones in Killin. Colin took overthe team baton ( a catapult imported from the Pyrenees) over into Glen Ogle. Here, after the team had more tea and cakes from the layby snack bar, Jason stormed down to Lochearnhead before handing over to John D for his second stage, down to Strathyre. John overhauled Catriona on this stage, giving us the lead for the third time on the day.
It was at Strathyre that we encountered HBT going in the opposite direction. They were midway through a relay from Edinburgh to Oban, having started on Thursday ( far too civilised for them)!!!!!!
David Snake Riach, training for the Loch Ness marathon, put in an effortless couple of stages to extend the lead to Loch Venachar. Johannes, having paid penance all day for his earlier missed stage, ran a strong stage over to Aberfoyle, handing over to Jason. Here was great potential for getting lost, but Jason fortunately knows the forest like the back of his neck and maintained the team lead despite a strong run by Ellie. Dave took the catapult down to Drymen, handing over again to Colin. By this stage the Milngavie folks were pulling us back in, but Pauline, fresh from not having run earlier, kept ahead from the Beech Tree to Carbeth. At this point I gave Pat a pep talk, telling her that victory was all down to her. It was a master stroke having Pat on the final stage; no way would she let anyone pass her, and the ensuing discussion included the best technique for felling an overtaking opponent.
So, at the end, a fine victory by the Kelvinsiders. But in reality a great day out for everyone. The 8 minute difference between teams at the end ensured that the event was the great social occasion we had hoped for.
So, that'e the factual bit written ( well for 1 teamm anyway). I'll leave it to others to include their favourite vignettes, photo's, anecdotes and excuses.
Thanks again to the MH's for organising a brilliant day!
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