I had never heard of a Cyclosportif or Cycle Sportif, hell I don't even know the correct name for it.
Saunders and Jean pointed me in the direction of the Loch Ness 360 website as they were doing the 360 MTB and the 180 MTB, I then saw the bit about the road cycle and decided I wanted to do it.
I wish I had taken my camera but I didn't want to carry any more weight than I had to.
All I can say is that it was an amazing experience for me. I had done a few 10 mile time trials years ago but had never ridden in a group of riders. The first 2 miles were in a neutralised zone as we were led through Inverness by a 'pace' car.
I soon noticed cyclists in front of me pointing this way and that and soon realised that they were pointing out drains, hydrant covers and pot-holes. When we reached the Holme roundabout the horn sounded and we were racing. Well some were racing I was just trying to keep pedalling !
I spotted someone in front of me and decided it would be easier to be with someone else rather than alone. I caught up and realised that this was the guy who had sold me a pair of running shoes in a shop in Inverness a month earlier, small world eh ?
We soon caught someone else and became three, then four. We continued 'chaining' along for about 20 kilometres. We then joined another group who then speeded up and our wee group got strung out, I was alone again. I then knocked my pump of when returing my water bottle and had to go back for it.
At 33km in there was a short hill climb and at 40Km a nice big downhill I reached speeds of 73.7 kph ( 46 mph )
I felt great at Fort Augustus but when we turned around and I started to climb back up the hill that old devil called cramp came a calling. I had to dismount. I had several attempts at climbing but the cramp wouldn't go away. I eventually topped out but I had wasted valuable time, I still felt great though.
So here we go. I got down to Fort Augustus in 01:44 but it took me 02:33 to get back with my crampy legs.
Important bits are as follows
Av Spd 21.9 Kph
Av HR 80%
Max Hr 101% Ouch
Total Ascent 2063.5m
Oh and here's the profile with that scary hill.
More strength training needed for next year !