Saturday, 1 May 2010

Edinburgh to North Berwick Race (by bike)

Don't tell anyone but this race is a lot easier by bike.

I had a few aims today. Get some biking miles in, try out my new HRM which I got for cross-training, follow the race and take some photos.

It was a grim, grey day with a nasty north wind and Peter was swithering about whether to do it or not. He went to the start just to see what he thought and I felt fairly sure that the contact adrenaline he'd get from just being in a race atmosphere would make him race. Race he did.

I got along to the end of the prom. and 2 professional looking cyclists arrived and turned out to be Rachel and Jacqui. I took some practice photos of dogs on the beach etc. and told anyone who would listen about my injury and the Highland Fling. It was an unpromising looking day for photos. I did my best but the camera's not so quick in the lower light and some of them were blurred.

I soon got into the racing aspect of trying to cycle ahead of the racers and then get off and take photos and then get going again. Peter started off in a group with Stuart Hay and a few others, well up the field. There was quite a long gap and then another group containing Willie J, Gareth Green and Johnny L.  I was surprised at how well P seemed to have recovered from the Fling.

All the Highland Flingers from last week were racing except me and I temporarily felt a bit down about it. Damn. Bad day for E2NB though. Cold stiff head wind all the way.

After stopping and recording how Stuart Hay and group had dropped my poor Peter and Willie et al. were gaining on him I determined to find the head of the race. I had no idea the E2NB race has a race car! It does. I had to overtake it. Yer man out in front was a long way out on his own. At least at Aberlady nature reserve he was.

I was pleased with how easily the cycling was going, having never knowingly gone further than my 8 mile round trip commute since we cycled about 30 spectating the Edinburgh Marathon last year. I had a bit of a longing look at the food shops as I went through Gullane but had to press on as I still hoped to get some photos in Dirleton and then make it to the finish in time, if not to photograph the leaders, then to capture the people I knew.

Beyond Gullane I found that Johnny Lawson had made a break from the group and was out ahead alone. I gave him a big shout. He looked very focused.

In Dirleton Johnny still led the Porties. Willie et al. had long since made mincemeat of Peter.
I want to also mention Michael Geogheogochan or however the hell you spell your name Michael. He was running ALWAYS hard and ALWAYS alone into the wind, and never slackened off.
(I have started drinking beer and the effects are taking hold. I mistakenly typed Abeerlady before instead of Aberlady and now I have become a beer lady.)

I cycled lickety-split to the end but it was not fast enough and I had missed much of the action. Peter ran in relaxed and looking non-ferocious. Johnny was looking very grey around the gills. I must admit I assumed that Johnny had taken the top Porty spot as he seemed to be building an insurmountable lead the last time I'd seen him and it was not til later that I found out Willie J. had done a Willie J and got him at the end! No wonder Johnny didn't look as chuffed as I thought he should.

I'd been leap frog biking with Rachel and Jacqui and Lynn all along the way and they were at the finish, now joined by Toby, who could barely speak having cycled a million extra miles and needing food and warmth rather acutely.

I was impressed to see Graham finish in good style looking strong. Ian Mac. got the attention and appreciation of the crowd with his blood-curling cuss filled yells and final charge for the line.

I hung around for a good while and took photos until I was cold and very hungry and needed to get moving. At first I thought I'd get some coffee and something to eat in NB before making the trip home but Mrs Ian Mac. had planted the idea of Falko's in my mind and as I cycled through the main street of NB I thought it would be a lot easier to cycle the few miles back to Gullane and go there instead. It was a pity because shortly afterwards I got a call from Amanda to say she'd just arrived in NB and needed to eat right away. (She was also on bike and had been marshalling the back markers.) By this time I was in Dirleton or I would have headed back but it seemed like she had to eat right away and by the time I got back she'd be finished and I was also getting a bit low blood sugary - so decided to press on. At Falko's (Konditormeister -whatever the hell that is!) I found the other cyclists; Lynn, Rachel, Jacqui and Toby. Couldn't have planned it better really. I had the most amazing fruit tart. I think I was shouting because I'd been in the wind for so long so I apologise. Caught up a little bit with what people have been doing and are going to do. I've been a long time away from club and that looks set to continue with night shifts coming up next week...

And then home. Really quite an enjoyable cycle once I'd got moving again. A back wind made the whole game a lot easier and the time whizzed by. I've been meaning to get back out on the bike for a good while but running always wins if thats the choice so I'm seeing my injury as maybe a little blessing in disguise. I did about 46 miles and I'm pleasantly tired and hungry but it was fine. I enjoyed it.

Time to put the photos up. There are a whole lot more photos that'll go up on the web-page too.

Well done to everyone who ran the race today. It wasn't the easiest day. Jazz man Stuart Hay looks in fine form coming up for Edinburgh Marathon this year if he can stay on his feet! haha

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