Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Terminal velocity

Every now and again a chance for a spot of exploring comes along, this weekend was to be one of them. The 'classic' ride to meet the family in Comrie was on the cards, as was a wee ride on Sunday to free up the legs. 

The Saturday ride followed familiar roads and provided an ideal chance to test the fitness. Strava, once again, was on to keep me company and log the route. The post ride analysis showed that I'm not the only rider who has the the last 16k/10miles into Comrie as a target. My aim for a time under 30 minutes over rolling exposed moor roads may sound like an easy target for some, this guffer has only succeeded once! Saturday wasn't one of them, but a time in the mid(ish) 30's wasn't to be sniffed at, especially since the wind was being a pest and the road surface on the B827 towards Comrie is truly awful, a shocker and one of the worst examples of the state of Scottish roads. This got me thinking about, I'm not about to go on some political rant about council tax freezes, local councils' lack of funds and the responsible party that decided to specify one of the below to repair roads....

Oh, the irony
In theory, the kit above is good, but the experience of riding roads where it has been used is awful. The repair leaves a high spot, the aggregate emulsion mix doesn't adhere to the damaged section. And, what is left results in small stones littered across the road, not surprisingly, these are usually in breaking areas and corners. This guffer is aware of a number of riders (moto and velo) that have experienced close calls.  The larger sections of roads that have been repaired with this kit end up displaying very similar characteristics to a washboard. Whether this is due to breaking forces of vehicles, temperature extremes and poor application, it doesn't matter. It is not a long term repair and is classic example of a solution causing even more problems. As for the so called cost savings - don't get me started. 
Back to the ride. There is a little road that quietly calls me every time I pass. My ambition to beat 30, results in a subtle nod and next time glance. Sunday was to be that day. A fab little route of 40k was chosen for its mix of great views, straight as a die ascents and very fast country lane descents. 

One of which has an incredible transitions from ultra quick chute to a very steep and short hairpin climb. The map had been looked at and memory serving me well, I would be turning left very soon after Muthill and heading back towards the Drummond Estate. This little gem of a rolling road didn't disappoint and is one that fellow Guffers will hopefully experience on a training ride prior to Etapé Caledonia.

Stay upright

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