SUNDAY 23 AUGUST
105 miles 10 000 feet ascent
Wet, wild and windy – yet somehow I enjoyed it! The weather started on us just at the 9am start and didn’t relent all day. Over 200 likeminded nutters turned out for this beautiful, rolling route from Hawick Rugby Club. I headed off on quiet country roads to Bonchester Bridge and swept down in a nice fast peloton to Newcastleton for the first tea and cake stop at 30 miles. I caught up with fellow Westies runner and now Borders resident Damon Rodwell out for a spin with his gang from Kelso Wheelers. A steep climb out of here took me up on to the high moors, where Damon passed me, and down to Langholm where it was bucketing it down.
I turned round here to head north on steady drags and flooded roads via Eskdalemuir, passing the Tibetan monastery en route to a sweeping descent with a Falkirk cyclist down to the 66 mile tea stop in Ettrick. Gloves, balaclava and tights were donned here for the very hilly last section – Berry Bush, The Swire, Woll Rig and Leap Linns – none overly steep but still relentless hard work this late on, before a cracking fast last few miles from Roberton where I passed a bonked Damon. I was really pleased merely to have got through it all in the dire weather and even more chuffed to finish in just over 7 hours and about 80th of 215 starters. I didn’t think I could have as much fun for 7 hours in the rain.