Edging ever closer… Will tomorrow be the day!?
Elsewhere, it looks like Tim van Gemert has started stage 5 on Orkney! GBDuroPLUS anyone?
Hello? Anybody out there?
I’m assuming Dan, Ben, Tommy & Monika are away back to their day job?
Loo & Pete, arrived today at what would have been CP3 in Fort Augustus. Looks like they’ve had a decent rest before continuing on North. Checking the tracker, they’ll be getting a belter of an evening up by Loch na Beinne Baine.
Might pop out to cheer them as they pass my gaff. Providing it’s no daft o’clock in the morning that is… They’re looking good for reaching JOG tomorrow night though! I would go meet them but I wasn’t given a leccy motor :-( Unlike the slackers who have sodded off home! Dan…
Anyway, braw night so off out on the bike to catch up on some training that I’ve not managed to do for the last two weeks. This is me getting in my excuses now for my shite performance in an upcoming race!
Party for 4! Or the ‘alt finishers party’ as Sharon called it! Out of GC, but still rolled in bringing their adventure to a close. Izzy, Chris, accompanied by Sharon who jumped out from behind a bush to surprise him, we’re eventually joined by Phoebe and Jack. They were joined by a friend of Izzy’s, who had started a tarmac LEJOG on the same day as GBDURO, also rolled in on the same day.
So even though everyone else had pissed off home, they they weren’t alone. The riders Whatapp group, cheered them in and our very own rock Lewis even pedalled out to see them in to JOG.
With the photographers long gone, I’ve managed to grab these from WhatsApp and IG!
A smiling Izzy!
An even more smiling Chris & Sharon!
…and Phoebe and Jack to complete the ‘alt finishers party.’
Being a good bloke, our photographer Tommy, managed to catch up with Loo & Peter near Loch Rannoch still in high spirits. Currently around Loch Ossian, we’ll keep an eye out for them reaching JOG.
I still have the log in details for this which is a good thing... After having my wings clipped I’m still being allowed to fly… for now…. Albeit I’m flapping about uncontrollably on the floor.
Without further ado, lets get this runaway train back on the tracks and catch up with the good shit!
Finally, the route has treated us with the weather our summer should have dealt us. Those still out on track or in the hills will be feeling pretty smug about themselves. They’ll get to experience Scottish wilds in all their glory. Their story hasn’t yet ended so we’ll be keeping tabs on them as they make their way to the end of the pink line,
Below is a snap shot of those riders who have so far made it to the end of stage 4 and the end of a gruelling event. These are the order in which they appeared at John O’Groats. The weather and terrain have not been kind on their bikes, body and mind, but miraculously they are still smiling!
Monday and Tuesday morning was a bit of a blur for everyone. However we can’t ignore Angus’s incredible ride, who rolled in very early morning, regardless of the outcome.
Ollie just got stronger and stronger as the days passed. Apart from a low point earlier on in the event he seemed to take most of what was thrown at in his stride. Early battles with Lee Craigie and later Jaimi, had us on our edge of our seats.
Our first female home on Stage 3, just of a couple hours behind Ollie, but also our first female home overall. If we’d had a podium for overall shed been on it alongside Mark and Ollie. Stunning ride!
Seemed to be in front of the lens a lot as well as being towards the front of the field. A strong performance, rolling in 3rd on stage 4, The photographers must’ve taken a shine to him as we’ve heaps of pics of him!
Needed no introduction at the start and still doesn't! A superb ride from our celebrity and first time bunch rider… Rumour has it he’s pretty handy on a bike though! The Corrieyairack pass will be ingrained in his memory for some time to come. A huge congratulations to Mark for being our first rider home. Again, it’s not the way he wanted thing to transpire but you can only ride your own ride.
Rolling in together, Philippa and Alice both had a storming ride! Our 2nd & 3rd female home respectively made even more impressive that they were 5th & 7th home overall. Both we’re lively characters on and off the bike and keep the other riders and crew entertained throughout. Plus, they can ride their bikes! PDQ.
An honorary Scot for the past week, after all but one of my countrymen and women kacked it and scratched. Carl is another hard bastard that just rides his bike without fussing. No surprise he rose to the occasion when the weather turned shite.
One of the many riders who seemed to smile their way through their ride. Emily genuinely looked like she was having an absolute ball!
Nick flew under the radar to put in a solid ride both on stage 4 and overall. Coming home to bag 6th rider home overall. However I am very unimpressed with the mismatching tyre sidewalls. Just wrong, Only slightly redeemed by matching the reflective strips to his bottles. Fine work sir.
Fast and adding colour to our photographs even when the weather was ming! Still haven’t a clue why she looks immaculate when all around her look like they’ve been dragged through a hedge every which way.
Simon’s photo should be about here but our photographers were….
I’ll trawl IG and grab one of him and update this later!
Ed was another to put in a sold ride. Not a stranger endurance sport - his IG handle suggests as such - coming from the dark side of tri and running daft distances he dipped his toe into the world of TRC having done TransEngland and TransWales, as well as the ‘DURO’ events he seems to be no bad at cycling daft distances off-road either.
I met Howard while he was Riding the GlenDuro in July. Scoping out the GBDURO route no doubt. Having been one of the last riders home within the GC crowd, there’s no shame given casualty rate dished out by a savage route which has claimed around 20 souls.
Claire has measured her effort throughout the event and managed To arrive within the GC cut off. Through she’ll get a row from the team as she hasn’t posted a timestamp pic yet. So I’ll put that down as pending… she maybe went straight onto the beers as rumours that Lewis was nearby, who’s job seems to be, put a can of T in the hands of the riders pronto.
Last night was the official finishers party. Although, going by the cut of Carl above before revelries commenced, I’m not sure how lively it was.
Provisional results are up on the website for the statos out there.
Will keep you updated as riders roll in.
It’s not only our riders who have moved fast on GBDURO, following the loan of a bike to Angus Young yesterday our GBDURO commentator (aka ‘Deadpool’) moved fast to get the news out. An insta story was posted immediately before the ride organisers had taken time to fully assess the situation. The story has now been removed. In it our commentator said that he thought the decision would be OK, but this was before the organisers had discussed the repercussions of this tricky subject. Once we, the organisers had talked it through, the action was decisive, even though it was far from our intended way to finish an event that we’ve spent over a year planning for. We do not believe this hiccup impacted decisions on the road and is the result of running a grassroots event where everyone involved is kindly volunteering their time.
The true essence of self-supported riding is something that we all think we understand, that is until we fall into the sea of ambiguity surrounding that core value of ‘doing things for yourself’. The Transcontinental Race has grappled with this for years and has clarified it as far as it can here - https://www.transcontinental.cc/outside-assistance. The test is to ask whether help you are offered would be available if the race/ride wasn’t taking place. Sure, the bike shop you found would still be there as would the filling station at which you bought a bag of long life croissants. The offer of a CO2 cartridge or inner tube from a fellow rider or dotwatcher wouldn’t exist if you weren’t part of an organised event.
So what to do when a dotwatcher offers you a madeleine or a bottle of iced water on a long alpine climb? You take the bottle and next year when you repeat the event you don’t resupply before the climb because there might be someone offering water on the climb. By the following year you could be counting on it. Turning down help is counter intuitive, people love to help and depending on local culture it can be seen as plain rude to say ‘no thanks’.
Taking a more serious example, ask whether a dotwatcher would be on the route with a bike if the event wasn’t taking place. Would that rider still lend you their bike if you were a genuine stranger? In the course of many remote mechanicals I have never been offered a bike by a complete stranger. If it were to be ok in the course of an event then I suspect it might figure in my planning. Personally I might ditch the bag of spare cleats, rotor bolts, bungee cord, gaffer tape, zip tyres and a hundred other bits and bobs that I’ve carried up scores of mountains ‘just in case’. My default action in the event of a mechanical might be to find a dotwatcher rather than a bike shop.
The Racing Collective strives for integrity in all its actions, often taking its lead from the high bar set by the late Mike Hall, and Anna Haslock, at the Transcontinental Race. It’s tricky maintaining this ethos whilst resisting the urge to write a rule book that contains a rule for every conceivable scenario. We’re not going to have that rule book though because we credit you with a shared understanding of that ethos. Occasionally in the heat and tight focus of an event you might lose sight of those shared values and that’s where we’ll step in, but at the end of the day we all share those same ideals.
The show must gone as they say. That was some day yesterday! Glorious weather, incredible scenery and riders who have or are still running themselves inside out to reach John O’Groats.
For some of the pack they were setting off for the final push to John O’Groats whereas we had our remaining riders cross the border into Scotland ready for the final stretch North.
The elephant in the room has to be mentioned. Having reviewed the situation, it pains us that we had to DQ Angus for using the dotwatcher’s bike kindly offered to him.
The formal stance we felt we had to adopt to maintain the integrity of the event is that self-supported riding is about getting yourself/your kit to the finish and riders must not gain advantage as a result of the event taking place.
It is for this reason we have had to DQ Angus Young for using a dotwatcher’s bike after he experienced a catastrophic mechanical.
To have avoided using ‘outside assistance’ Angus should have detoured to make use of a commercial service i.e. one that was available to all riders, regardless of whether the event was taking place or not.
It goes without saying that this should not detract from Angus’ exceptional performance during the entire event. We have no doubt he’ll be back hungrier than ever!
Through the small hours and early morning we had more riders join Angus in John O’Groats. Ollie rolled in followed by Jaimi, Chris then Mark.
Not long after Mark, we had Philippa and Alice roll in at the same time closely followed by Carl.
Just awaiting some times to come through at the time of writing so will update you later on today.
A huge congratulations to Mark Beaumont who officially becomes the first rider home after an equally impressive ride considering its his first ‘bunch event…’ I reckon his solo endeavours are not a bad skill set to transfer over to this bikepacking malarkey. It’s maybe not the way he would would have liked it to pan out but you can only ride what is on front of you.
Will update later after work!
For those riders left in GC, today marks the start of Stage 4. The final push for the end of their ride to John O’Groats.
For half a dozen others it is simply day 10 of their adventure. Although ‘out of GC’ they have continued on determined to ride the length of the UK off-road. A pretty cool thing to boast about when they get home! Long after the quickest riders have posted their final timestamped photo and contemplating throw the hell they are going to get home, the riders at the back of the pack will still be enjoying some of the best gravel riding Scotland has to offer.
I popped down to CP3 yesterday to see what stage the riders who had so far made it the CP3 were in. Pretty chilled as it turned out. Arrived to them flaked out on the grass doing chuff all apart from eat, sleep and fix broken bikes.
The front lawn was strewn with them. Finally enjoying a chance to dry out. The mood had changed slightly from when I had been there the day before. Gone was the gaunt looks and instead replaced with fresh optimism… For those that haven’t ridden the first few climbs that they are about top face… ;-)
It wasn’t all lazing about though. Keeping our riders fed and watered were our kitchen staff, selflessly working away behind the scenes. Nick and his daughter Lilly were plying us all with the and those amazing Oreos with the brownie filling amongst other goodies. I say Nick, but he just sat on his arse while Lilly did all the work! Reckon they be getting paid as much as me.
Every group or community has a feeder. Our is Lewis. WIth the help of his kitchen pen skivvy - chief badgerer Stuart - who is very camera shy.
Who Dusnae like macaroni cheese! I think he ignored my top tip of slicing up some smoked sausage into it!? Artists don’t like being told what to do. Cheese was expertly grated by Stuart, so he wasn’t completely useless. Only surprised he didn’t make Lilly do it. Scoured the internet and finally found a pic of him…
Before I left I went round checking out the state of the bikes and kit. Surprisingly, most are still in one piece. Just.
Ollie trying to remember where he packed the kitchen sink??
I appreciate someone who has good chain cleanliness etiquette. A clean chain is a fast chain!
How does Victoria keep herself, her bike and kit immaculate? I have purple envy too. I dig shiny bike bits!
Radiator space was at a premium. Prime real estate within the bike packing community.
Some rest day entertainment. Hope no ones easily offended 😈
More BAAW. If the only mattress available was in use….
It’s about proper work time for me, and our riders are about top be let loose for one final time.
I bumped into my colleagues yesterday, trying to glean for information for where to get the best shots of the day. As they are in competition with each other I’ve naturally sent Dan and Ben off on a wild goose chase into the arse end of nowhere. Coincidentally around the same mileage as the range of their car… Have it!
Though to even the score a bit, I’ve sent Tommy and Monika up a big F off hill!!
Having narrowly missed getting a hiding from our resident Scottish maitre d’… I cut my losses before Alice arrived. Tail between my legs I buggered off home.
I arrived there earlier however, fully expecting to find Angus slumped against the door. Thankfully, another slave had been called on to help out, who’s daughter was actually doing the work whilst we sat and got the chat.
I hung about to see the next lot of riders in. Ollie arrived partly pushing, partly riding up the last cruel hill to checkpoint. Mark arrived shortly after looking pretty miserable after a 3 hour walk off the ‘Coriander Pass’ that it’s now being dubbed by a lazy typing Dan. (The Dan bashing continues.) A slashed sidewall meant the descent was unrideable. Carl was next to arrive, riding that last stinger of a hill that the previous 2 were too goosed to ride. In chipper mood, he was straight into the stories and Tennets.
Time was starting to drift for Jaimi, as she needed to get into CP3 before 1831hrs to retain 3rd overall in GC. Sodden, she ralled up around 7pm, relinquishing 3rd overall to Ollie but a slender 25 minutes. Will be a good battle on stage 4.
I felt bit a bit of a fraud to be honest. Sitting there listening to the stories. All the highs and lows they’ve experienced. Feels strange listening to it all when you’ve not been riding. I’d rather be riding. So I decided to split. It earned me partial brownie points, as I arrived home in time for dinner with the ‘handbrake.’
Off on a bike ride. With a buddy, to console myself. Yes I do actually ride my bike sometimes…
Catch you laterz
DP a o o a B
I made it to CP3 at last. To the tourists out there - it is not acceptable to drive at 32-38mph on the A82. It’s also not cool to pass every parking place between Drumnadrochit and Fort Augustus, without pulling in!! Meant I did get through my Taylor Swift playlist. So not all bad.
My current view whilst I await rider No.3 come in…
Oh, and there’s no WiFi here. And crappy 4G. So had to pinch my wife’s data. Every now and again she gets a text to say she has ‘gifted’ data to someone. I don’t know how to turn this notification off!
I arrived to Angus horizontal on the couch, unsurprisingly. Making himself comfortable though. Not sure if he’s carried these bad boys with him for the past week?? Fetching though.
So far, I’ve not been given a hiding yet. Lewis and myself are trying to size each other up and both in mutual appreciation of our mullets. I think we’ll get along.
I think he came prepared just incase though. Those boots are meaty 😳 Fingers crossed, I’m recalled home before Lucy arrives…
Ollie arrived a wee while ago, but he’s spent better part of an hour in the bike shop trying to get his brake fixed. I don’t think water is a good medium used for brake fluid. Luckily he only has 400 odd kms left to do. Pretty much flat too.
FFS, Mark Beaumont seems to be making a meal of this descent?? Been waiting here to pap him for ages. I could climb the bloody hill quicker than he come down it…
My butt is going numb on this bench so will catch up in a bit.