2 down, 10 to go; that is, a 200km ride in each of 12 consecutive months. This month I took myself off across the border and into the Borders. Relatively close to home, an area that I've driven past many times on the way to the Scottish Highlands, I'd possibly never have thought of riding here but for this ridiculous challenge that I've set for myself. My route started at Langholm and had to visit Innerleithen, Biggar, Moffat before returning to Langholm. It hasn't really turned to Spring up here yet and I was glad to have put my warm Winter jacket on and to be carrying a couple of spare pairs of gloves. The first section from Langholm to Innerleithen follows the same road/lane for 70km over rolling, remote feeling countryside passing a Tibetan Monastery en route. At present part of the narrow road is used heavily by logging lorries but all were the epitome of careful and considerate drivers as I passed by.
After 70km of rolling, scenic, lonely feeling road I arrived in the village of Innerleithen and after a few seconds was Innercafe tucking into a plate of real food - no gels & bars on these rides! Although these rides have a time limit they are extremely generous and actually don't matter when it comes to having a ride validated - you either finish the ride or you don't.
A shorter section on slightly flatter terrain led to Biggar where I paused for a short stop for Coke, sorry, a Coke. The next section was the hardest - the loooooong ascent of the Devils Beeftub from the North. Never very steep it seemed to go on forever, not helped by a bit of a headwind.
The weather had improved slightly and it was a warm ascent. The top of the climb also marked the source of the River Tweed. A fast descent led to Moffat and a stop at the small PO/shop for life sustaining fruit squares. I have to apologise here to the lady of the establishment as, when I removed my glove to pay, I managed to empty its liquid content over her counter. She was most gracious in helping to mop up. The final section back to Langholm was still lumpy, never too hard but continually working the old legs. A final long descent back into Langholm completed an excellent ride in a lovely part of the country.
So, where to next? Not entirely sure but routes planned include a circuit from Musselburgh heading South towards Innerleithen again or a ride from Bala out to the end of the Lleyn and back. Or maybe somewhere else. Watch this space for Mays update.
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