Rise and shine campers (it was already raining) – we knew we had another madcap climb up to yet another Scottish ski slope so we set off early, kidnapping almost 60 year old Margaret from the hotel along the way; she likes to do a different challenge every year, and this year she chose us, thank goodness we were passing through.
Another indication, if any were needed, that we are not professional cyclists, came just before we climbed Glenshee. Apparently, like kilts, you’re not supposed to wear any underwear with padded cycling shorts, so Derek informed us. Ed and I stripped off by a babbling brook and discarded our pants. Derek gave us some magic bottom potion which basically acts like a local anaesthetic and we were on our way (Margaret was more reluctant to remove her knickers).
Scotland seems quite competitive about how steep it’s hills are, and the locals take some satisfaction from dropping the bomb shell that their hill is steeper, harder, rougher, wetter, colder, deadlier, flirtier, scarier, and generally the worst hill since Benny (if I could include music here it would be the Benny Hill comedy chase music, and you would see us going up and down hills in fast motion with scantily clad girls on board and a lecherous red-faced old man chasing us – oh the good old days of comedy).
Yesterday we had the Lecht and today we had Glenshee – it was a different sort of challenge; we very gradually climbed out of Braemar for about 6/7 miles before it suddenly lurched up into the clouds. Maybe it was the lack of oxygen or that we were so close to heaven, but I could swear I saw might late grandmother laughing at us from on top of a mountain.
Margaret was really pleased to make the climb, and we were very proud of her for doing it; her friends drove by and rescued her from our steely grip and we sat down and fried some bacon by a toilet. We contemplated the fact that there were now 4 of us, the famous 4, the incredible 4, the 4 CoBi bikers of the apocalypse.
I won’t bore you with details, but the to sum up the general gist of the next 7 hours in four factoids, in no particular order:
1. A mixture of feeling very cold and very sweaty, in menopausal waves
2. Some beautiful strawberries thrown at us from the side of the road
3. Photographers making us go up hills we had already been up
4. 7 eager young lads from an outdoor activity centre commandeering the bike for an hour
When we got into Dundee we headed for the university for a guided tour of the Cancer Research centre; the lovely Inka showed us round – she looked like a young Jamie Lee Curtis and I told her so. We saw protein cultures being mixed; chicken embryo’s in the cool room and lots of flies in jars. Bliss. Ian, who works as a researcher there, said that the biking message is an important part of the overall fight against cancer. Our lifestyles are a major contributing factor to the continued high incidence of cancer across the UK. We can take action to beat cancer everyday by cycling, walking, swimming and exercising more and by eating better.
The other key message that the team had was about colon cancer, which is fast becoming a major killer among men of 50 and over. If there’s one thing you take away from the blog, let it be this: Don’t be embarrassed about talking about your backside (We certainly haven’t been on this ride), get down to your local health authority and find out what their screening procedure is. It’s a simple exercise and if they find polyps (Small lumps) in your colon early, they’re simple to remove. A surgeon from Ninewells said it was very frustrating that people put up with problems for months or years, when getting them checked could have saved their lives.
If you want to find out more info about the work that the Dundee centre do, have a look at the previous post.
After saying our goodbyes we then headed back to the Baldwins where I was reunited with Rocky the cat … we consummated our love with stroking and purring then we went to sleep, again (these days follow a similar pattern don’t they?)