#5for5 race report 2/3
After a horrendous night of waking up shivering with cold, my sinuses throbbing and muscles aching I was feeling lower than ever.
Perspective came with a warm croissant over breakfast. In the dining hall were a trio of similarly aged guys dressed in a variety of Tour replica and branded Lycra. Politely (but secretly competitively) I asked where they were headed, assuming my journey was the worst possible. Nonchalantly one replied drearily "We're doing lands end to john o'groats. Lot of riding. 9 days so far. I just wish it wasn't raining so much".
No sympathy here then. Better get to it. So after a little reluctance (and some last minute plan alterations) I set off with a measure of "someone has it worse than you so crack on". My route to the #Lecht was diverted long enough to allow me to detour into Ballater, pick up some much needed supplies, and with it my enthusiasm for the climbs ahead. Scrawled across the floor were the markings of either a comedian or sadist, or possibly both. "My Gran moves faster than you" followed by "and so does my 7year old daughter ", finished with "you love it". They were right, I did love it. The barbed encouragement let me see the funny side of an incline that began at 20% and lurched wildly into banked switchback after uneven gradient in such a wild manner you might imagine Mother Nature had a hangover the morning she cooked this one up!
I celebrated the Lecht far more than Glenshee - I'd managed to arrive in daylight and could afford myself the luxury of refuelling. My legs sang as I hurled myself at every climb, flat and descent afterwards. My pain was now somehow more pleasant, more invigorating and I felt inspired.
On the journey I realised I had acquired a new job- resident livestock startler. Maybe it was the laboured breathing or the stream of sweat-soaked dreadlocks that made them gasp so reliably but it added some welcomed humour to watch endless cows, sheep and the like ask themselves "what was that?" Day 2 ended infinitely better than day 1. Nestled alongside Cairngorm mountain, tandoori banquet now warming my insides, I knew now more than ever that the end was possible.