My little challenge of completing a 200km ride in 12 consecutive calendar months continues with July's ride successfully completed. For this ride I took myself abroad to the land of blue painted faces and deep fried Mars bars - yes, the Borders beckoned and off I went. The route linked Innerleithen, North Berwick, Musselburgh, Duns and then back to Innerleithen. The Borders are a fab place to ride; loads of rolling hills, remote country, pretty villages and the weather last weekend was superb. The first half of the route was relatively easy, rolling through vibrant green interlocking spurs alongside babbling brooks, the odd golf course or two to arrive at the seaside at North Berwick. A quick Coop stop and then it was off along the coast towards Edinburgh with that seasidey seaweedy smell in the air just past Aberlady as the road hugged the shoreline. A really quick stop in Musselburgh to provide a proof of passage and then it was off on the long 30 mile cross country leg to Duns. Part way there I passed through Gifford, a fantastically pretty village and had to pause there to bask in the sun and patronise another local Coop emporium.
This was a hard section, nothing particularly steep but the hills just keep rolling & rolling. The descent towards Duns was exhilarating and another snack stop beckoned. The final miles back to Innerleithen didn't relent, the climb out of Lauder towards Stow back up onto the moors felt hard by this stage but was fab nevertheless. I paused at the top of the climb to gaze & muse. As I set off down the descent a couple of tiny birdies (not sure which sort) flew alongside me at about chest height glancing cheekily sideways seeming to say "bet we can keep up with you fat boy". I accelerated downhill and the birdies kept right there still glancing cheekily sideways. I reached terminal velocity, the cheeky chappies gave a last glance, did a barrel roll and shot off ahead; pure magic. The last few miles betwixt Stow & Thorneylee used a tiny lane that still climbed and rolled for a few miles, my legs were definitely feeling it by now. A last few miles along the A72 - thankfully not that busy - saw me back in Innerleithen, and shortly after that I was Innerfishnchipshop. Never ridden here, make a date and go - easily accessible from Edinburgh it's big, remote feeling country where you can ride for miles and not actually see that many cars. A grand day out indeed.
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