Twa Wee Coonties
A 100 km Audax

By Wallace Shackleton

 

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Held on 7th April 2002.

A good weather forecast and a bout of botched bike maintenance had left me with a broken brake / gear lever, a handful of bits and not much time to get ready for my first Audax of the year.

Arriving early at the Control in the Dalmeny church hall gave me lots of time to register and go over the all important route sheet for the first time. Normally I tend to study the route and commit the route to memory, so I was rather surprised to discover that the route consisted of a big loop around West Fife, Clackmannan, and Kinross using roads that I know.

After meeting up with old friends and acquaintances we launched ourselves at 10 AM onto the Forth Road Bridge and an unsuspecting Fife. The first part of the route was very similar to the route of the LEPRA Edinburgh to St. Andrews run, except the Audaxers play with the big boys on the A8000 and the South Queensferry roundabout, sure was nice being able to cut through the traffic on a bike.

Over the bridge and along the Rosyth road, the new road surface is now beginning to break up heaven knows what it will be like when the ferry terminal starts operations. On and around the dockyard, a glimpse of a ship in dock, then the busy Kincardine Bridge Road, all the way along to the Cairneyhill roundabout and left to the tranquility of Torryburn and the run along the coast to Culross. Straight through Culross and our first attempt of many to reduce the pace, which lasted all of five minutes, you just can’t slow down when you’re having fun.

In Kincardine we tried to make an appointment to cross the road, we waited and waited and waited and waited for a chance to cross, seeing a gap we took a chance and sprinted across into the peace and quiet of Kincardine. Along past where Kincardine Power Station used to be, strange to see someone manning the gatehouse, too late someone’s stolen it! Around the perimeter fence and we were on the Kennet Flats on the short run to Clackmannan and the first info control of the day, well flattish, there was still the cheeky wee climb to negotiate first.

With that done we were off on a short run along the A977 to Forestmill and then up the hill to Aberdonia and Dollar.

Seizing the opportunity for a Magnum break we basked in the sunshine eating our ice creams - it doesn’t get any better than this. It certainly didn’t as the next stage was the hard climb up Dollar Glen, I don’t think anyone stopped at the info control even though it was a shop, half way up a steep hill is still a cheeky place to put any control!

Over the top and down to Muckhart, Rumbling Bridge and the control point at the Powmill Milk Bar for a welcome break. In the 18 years that I have been living in Kinross this was the first time that I have been inside the place and I will be visiting it again, great food and good value… that is another thing about Audaxing, the controls tend to be at good cafes.

We were at the back of the pack, I know because we were the last three to leave; Jackie dropped back on the climb along the Aldie road and we passed a chap pushing his bike uphill, suffering from cramp (he managed to finish). Down to Balado, along the Stirling Road to Milnathort and out along the Glenrothes Road to Kinnesswood for the last info point, again we did not stop, preferring to keep on going in the sunshine.

Up the slope and a sprint through Ballingry, meeting a pair of riders one of which had suffered a puncture. Then down through Lochore for the punishing climb up Station Road in Lochgelly. I resisted the urge to go off and fire bomb the leather works, but then again the infamous Lochgelly Tawse is no longer used in schools these days.

Really familiar ground here, going through Cowdenbeath we were passed by a group of riders doing the 200… “We are not worthy, we are not worthy,” we chanted as these lithe demigods disappeared into the distance.

Then the big descent from Crossgates along the Great North Road to Inverkeithing, throwing caution to the wind I sped through the bends at 30 odd mph, descending fast for no other reason than the sheer exhilaration of being out on a day like today. After a short pause to allow my companions to catch up we made it through the double roundabout and into Inverkeithing for the penultimate ascent of the day.

There was something about the surface on the bridge cycle lane; it seemed to suck all the energy out of my legs, what a miserable climb that was. George had the right idea; impersonating a bus, he rapidly gained ground on his “fixed” Flying Scot, as he sped past me in the bus lane.

A slow climb to the crest of the bridge and a great freewheel to the toll plaza and the ugly normality of the A8000 slip road. A short stretch of this hellish road and we were into the peace and quiet of South Queensferry and the final climb to the finishing point at Dalmeny.

We weren’t the last of the 100's to finish but we came very close to it! All in all 107 km in five ½ hours traveling time is good enough for me and that is what Audaxing is really about – finishing!

My thanks go to the Charlie the organiser, Sonya for the wonderful cakes at the finish and my riding companions George & Nan Shepherd and Allan. Now about that 200…

Wallace.

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