My goal of waking up early so that I could acclimate to the time change was a big fail. Since I was wide awake until 2 a.m. Wednesday night I slept in until 10 a.m. Thursday. To tell you the truth I wasn't too worried about it. I figured all that mattered was that I was getting as much sleep as possible.
Scott, Ted and I headed over to our cafe for COFFEE, breakfast and more wifi. The cafe owner informed us that the butcher hadn't arrived yet so there was no bacon. Not a bad thing since I was in danger of overdosing on all things MEAT. Instead I had fresh eggs straight from the farm and toast. Delicious!
Ted wanted me to change my suspension settings from what I usually ride with at home. Not only did I have my rear shock fully unlocked, I was running Kenda Honey Badger 2.2 XC Pro tires with about 18-19 psi in each one. I felt like I had a whole lot of squish going on but I used every bit of it on the course!
The start was easy to spot with a bright yellow arrow pointing up a rocky little hill. While getting ready I saw a rider fumble on the rocks and got worried that it was going to be crazy technical. In reality it wasn't bad at all...phew!
I finished the lap in complete awe. It was 8-miles long with 1,500 ft of climbing per lap. There's nothing remotely like it where I live and I will be the first to admit that I did not feel comfortable on the long downhill switchbacks. That being said I could clean the whole course and was excited to ride something outside of my comfort zone. Plus the views...there was no way that I would ever get bored out there.
After the pre-ride I chugged some CarboRocket Rehab and we went back to the cottage. Even though the sun was shining off and on it was chilly and damp out. After scalding hot showers we headed into town and played tourists for the night.
Lots of pictures...
Friday (1 day until race day!)
We woke up to a light rain and walked to the cafe just in time before it started to rain really hard. So much for an early pre-ride. I had mentally prepared myself for it to rain for my entire trip to Scotland so I didn't let it mess with my head at all. Yes it COMPLETELY SUCKS to ride in the rain (especially for 24 hours) but it's one of those things that can't be controlled. Plus I had spent my entire years salary on rain gear so I was 100% prepared. My biggest concern was that I would slide off of my bike and all the way down the mountain if I did have to wear it because I was basically a giant Slip N' Slide with all my rain gear on. :-)
It was still raining hard after breakfast so we decided to stay at the cafe. We were there long enough that we ended up ordering lunch as well. I think the owner was getting sick of us...haha. Lunch was homemade carrot ginger soup (amazing) and a cheese panini (equally amazing). I was still taking a "wee bit" break from meat!
To my surprise the course was in great shape! Yes there were a few slippery spots and a few puddles but other then that you would never have guessed it rained as much as it did. I was happy, Scott was happy and Ted was really, really happy!
The last climb intersected with the bottom part of the World Cup Downhill Course. The sign pictured below had the address to the nearest hospital which was slightly alarming!
|Scott and Ted's home away from home for the next 24 hours|
While Scott and Ted were out to dinner I entertained myself by checking out the swag bag. It had all the normal things like gels and chain lube but it also had this...getting whiskey in a swag bag was a first!
Finally Ted and Scott got home with dinner for me. It turns out that it's a little harder to order "take-out" in Scotland then it is in the United States. In Fort William there were designated places for "take-away" and the rest of the restaurants were for dining in. When Scott explained that he wanted to order a dinner to go the waiter said that they would figure something out and came back with this...
Then it was time for bed. I never sleep well the night before a race and this one was especially bad. I think I finally dosed off around 1:00 a.m. and I had crazy race dreams all night where I couldn't find my socks, and then I missed the start, and then I was riding inside a building. I'm not sure why but not being able to find my socks is a common dream of mine before racing. And it's an ironic dream because I always bring a ton of socks :-) Anyways....
To be continued...