We were eating a late dinner last night, enjoying a little Dumb and Dummer action…and then we got the brilliant idea to head for a track walk. It is light here so late, in fact, I don’t think it ever really gets properly dark in the summer, pretty rad if you ask me.
I cannot wait to ride the track…all day today I have had ants in my pants. I just want to RIDEEEEEE. It is pretty much the same as last year, a few changes here and there but pretty much the same!
The track here is one of the longest and most physically demanding tracks on the circuit, I think the winning time here last year was 4:35+, don’t quote me on that one but I am pretty sure that’s about right. Aside from being long, it is high-speed the whole way down and we cover a lot of ground. Makes the consequences a bit higher, also makes it more difficult to memorize the track. It’s an amazing track to race.
Fort William is a great venue for the spectators as you can almost see the whole top half of the track from a single viewpoint…there are no trees up top so you can see a lot. It is empty now but there are going to be a lot of people here this week, in the past I think it has averaged about 20,000 people!
We have a couple more days of laying low before we have our official track walk (course wasn’t totally marked last night) and then we get practicing. Track Walk Thursday, Practice Friday, Qualifying Saturday, Race Sunday!
Hopefully wind doesn’t play into the equation this week…its supposed to be nice on the weekend but right now its super rainy and windy again. Not good. Because there are no trees to protect the lift from wind, it doesn’t take a whole lot for the gondy to shut. Last week they were running the lift in 60+ mph winds, the closure limit at Ft. William is like 40mph.
Wind, wind go away come again another day. :)
So I met those old scottish guys in the lounge the other morning but we didn’t quite cross paths on the meeting part…they came early and I came at the time we were supposed to meet and we missed each other, oh well…anyway, I already made up my mind that I was going hike so I just went solo.
I really enjoy hiking, its something totally different from riding but so similar at the same time. You can cover much more distance on a bike but a lot of times you miss the small things because you are traveling that much faster…
Anyyyway, the hike up wasn’t too bad…definitely a solid grade the whole way up. Bum of steel. I of course had to set a goal time for myself…given the height, distance and past times I wanted to do it sub 5 hours, seemed realistic. I didn’t want to push it too hard because I couldn’t even see the top of the mountain since it was covered in clouds so it was really hard to gauge exactly how far I was going plus I was out there to enjoy the scenery, chill out, take some photos and be social…people here are sooooo nice and everyone wants to chat, I like that.
So I got to the top in pretty good time, hung about for a bit, took some photos…I was planning on staying longer but it was cold and snowy and I couldn’t see much so I just decided to head down. At this point I realized I might possibly be able to make this whole thing in sub 4 which lit a bit of a fire under my bum. It was a bit of a fine line pinning it down because I was wearing Nike Free’s…no ankle support at all and the trail was super rocky the whole way down, last thing I wanted to do was roll my ankle…I came here to race my bike not hike. ha. I had to run a few bits…some of the flatter stuff and areas with predictable rocks but I made it in 3:56, pretty happy about that one, especially knowing I could shed 20 minutes more off that with very little extra exertion. Maybe next year.
All in all a fun day in the beautful Scottish Highlands.