Sorry for the delay, have been waylaid running around hills…

At about half five last Saturday night, Owen and myself were on our way home from Lochearnhead, discussing, amongst other things, who should write up the race report after quite an eventful day.  Owen came up with a bright idea that we should toss a coin for it, to see who would have the honours. Knowing just how likely it would be that I’d lose the coin toss, I decided to suggest we write a joint report. Owen agreed, and here we are.

main thing :

Our initial aim on Saturday was just to do the one hill race, at the Lochearnhead Highland Games. We left Glasgow about half ten and made it to the car park just in time for the half twelve start. It was about 12:20 when we parked and ran round to look for the race registration. Cutting it fine you might think? Not really. Turns out the race wasn’t going to be run until 4pm, at the earliest, after all the other exciting events the games had on offer.

This left us with a dilemma. How should we keep occupied up til 4pm…. Laze about in the blistering heat? See what the watersports centre had to offer? or, drive 45 miles to Taynuilt?

The decision was made, and soon we were back on the road, racing against the clock to make the half one race at Taynuilt. The journey was fairly straightforward, but because of the obvious time constraints, we couldn’t afford any delays at all.

First up was a game’s marshal, guiding the traffic out the car park which only had enough room for one car to enter or leave the field at any one time. A young boy, who couldn’t be no more than 10, told us to “just wait there please” whilst his elder colleague guided a queue of  incoming vehicles through the gate. We didn’t have time for this. But we couldn’t exactly ignore his orders, he was wearing a high vis vest after all! After wasting a full minute or two, we started taking things seriously, and found an opportunity to squeeze out of the field without upsetting the wee lad too much.

We literally had no time to spare and had to overtake the slower cars and caravans at every opportunity. After a few delays, we made it to Tyndrum in fairly decent time, where we became stuck behind a car with a trailer, that was going about 50miles a hour (well below the average speed we required…). The windy roads at this point left very few opportunities to overtake and we had no choice but to hope he wasn’t going all the way to Taynuilt.  It didn’t look good. Then, just as we started celebrating his intention to leave the A85, we saw something much worse joining our road – at the very same junction. A caravan pulled out right in front of us! 

Things were going from bad to worse. If we did make up some time on the road ahead, we would still have issues with parking, changing and registering. It wasn’t looking good at all. What’s more, it was actually one of the nicest days in a long time to be driving along such a picturesque stretch of road. The scenery was spectacular, but, unfortunately, our eyes were fixed firmly on the car in front, and on the dashboard clock.”

So we were cutting it fine, no doubt about that.  We even used the traffic lights at a bridge to make a tactical driver change to change, red, brake, open, boot, bag, shut, chunk click, third party third party, green, go, accelerate, text book.  

Lucky we did as we got to Taynuilt with no minutes to spare, found the first parking space going and dashed towards the games field.  Bagpiper playing, crowd cheering, athletes running, we had missing the start.  However our race had started some 50 miles away over an hour ago on the banks of Loch Earn, we weren’t going to let a couple of hundred yards get in the way of our resolute plans.  Quick chat with the man that looked like he was in charge, for arguments sake lets call him the Chieftain and we were away.

Well 3 hours in a car, bar a short interlude at Lochearnhead and 2 litres of liquid, don’t mix too well, you get the picture.  Whether one or both of us corrected this during the race and definitely before overtaking the only women in the race as that would be the gentlemanly thing to do, we will leave to legend.

The weather was roasting, enjoyed the course, little road, track, trail, across fields, suspension footbridges, woods, forest track, fire break and open hill side.  Gregor boosted off at the start to try and catch up with the front runners.  By the time we got to climbing the hill I was burst, and walking pace it was as the heat and all the rushing took its toll.  Gregor topped out 5th a fair bit ahead of myself in 7th at the turn.  Quickly got into 6th on the way down the hill and once on the forest track had about 100 yards.  This chase must have quickened the pursuer and myself up as though mostly out of sight on this twisty turny course, we must have closed up on Gregor a fair bit as he was running back comfortably in 5th.

Few mis-directions by myself on the way back and the chaser became the quarry, but still had enough to nip in front again to claim 6th.  Results say I came 7th, but hey ho.

But we weren’t finished yet, with a minutes cool down it was back in the car to race back to Lochearnhead to catch the Highland games there, our original plan.  Made it with 5 minutes to spare, light years in comparison.  Brain Brennan was there, even he was impressed with our endeavour, though inside you knew his blood was boiling with jealousy.  F’ing young team this, another race to do next year that!  Na,  we were greeted with an honest wry smile and a firm handshake.

This 2nd race was a non event for me, slow and then slower, held position on the way down to finish outside the top ten.  Gregor had a stormer, topping out joint 2nd.  Though the long day and over an hours racing already in the legs the descent took its toll and 4th or 5th it was for Gregor, just outside the big cash prizes.

Well after all that it was time for some well earned Chips and Lucozade, a splash in the Loch then home.


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