It’s 11pm and the sun is still setting in the Highlands of Scotland.
A few days ago I made it to Edinburgh after 3 days on my bike, for the first time ever. I’m stoked about my trip even though I have to confess, I cheated. After 80km on the second day through the Scottish hills, I was quite worn out. It was a real ‘learning by doing’ kind of feeling as I probably should have taken it easy the first days as the most challenging bit was waiting for me between Hawick and Edinburgh.
I woke up early and felt I was more keen for a hot chocolate in bed and a sleep in rather than a full
English Scottish breakfast. My body ached from biking but mostly from a cold I caught and I already knew it would be a tough day.
I head off in the morning, again on a hot sunny day. I was pretty much ready for anything to happen/go wrong except for one: sunny hot weather. It’s Scotland we’re talking about it. Thermals and goretex jacket remained nicely packed in their panniers though as it was sunny and 25+ degrees… I even got sunburn!
As expected, the first hill felt like a high altitude summit attempt. The first hour always is the toughest whether I hike, climb or bike, so I ignored the pain and convinced myself it would get better (at least tried). The ride in the countryside was so lovely that it made up for how exhausted I felt anyway.
But at some point I had to face reality, I didn’t have the energy for another 80km day. After 30km, I ended up jumping into a train to Edinburgh. That way, I’d be on time for l’apero as my friends that I hadn’t seen in 2+ years were waiting for me at the pub.
Some things just come first in life 🙂
I am very happy about my first cycling trip and feel I’ve learnt a lot from it. I know a little more what to expect for the upcoming one.
1 – Plan at least a little bit (routes and where to sleep). I am ridiculously
adventurous unprepared, a bit more planning ahead would allow me to enjoy more the non riding time.
2 – Do not underestimate the saddle (new one on the way, hope the Brooks one will break in quickly!)
3 – Less weight, less weight, less weight…hard when you want to combine city visits, cycling, hiking, climbing, photographing, camping…haven’t found the solution yet, open for tips and ideas!
Edinburgh is a pleasant city though pretty touristy, interesting (free) museums and really nice to wander around. I haven’t any rainy day so far, how bizarre!
Coming up next: the Highlands and how good it feels to be in the North of the north again…