Rest and Be Thankful. Scotland Bicycle Tour Circa Christmas 2003

Yes, 2 posts in one day. Well, almost. It is now after midnight, so technically not. Please don’t get used to this. I am sure I will only disappoint.

I have been thinking about winter cycling a lot lately. Unfortunately I have been a bit lazy this winter. After the 100 mile trail run I did a marathon in November, and that was a struggle. My body has been tired as I have been going hard non stop for at least 2 or 3 years now. I haven’t really kept track because training had become so much of a part of my life that it didn’t seem like a big deal or anything out of the ordinary to be on the bike for days at a time or doing 40 mile training runs. It was just part of my lifestyle. But now, my body has been asking for rest. I took a couple weeks off, which helped me catch up on work. Then, I got a mild cold, and was so congested that biking or running was extremely difficult. So 2 weeks off turned into 3, almost 4 weeks off…..

But, I’m better now, and totally missing my bike. I am moderately caught up with work, so I am actually going to take a little break and do a Christmas bike tour. I am not having any family stuff going on, so its a better time then any to get away and spend it on the bike. I will head down to Austin, via the Hill Country. I wont say too much about this trip now, because 1) I will surely post about it after I go on the trip 2) I haven’t planned a damn thing even though I will leave on Sunday, just gonna get on the bike and go. It’s the only way.

In the meantime I wanted to share some photos of another Christmas bike tour I did. This was back when I lived in Scotland. My Christmas plans had fallen through, so at the last minute I decided on doing a bike tour. Mind you, this was the end of the year, it was bloody cold, and there was very limited sun light. It would get dark around 3:30 pm, limiting how much riding I could do. But the whole thing was new to me anyways, as this was my first tour. I did about 40 miles a day, on a track bike, with a messenger bag.

I went around the western coast of Scotland. I was never far from the water. The road would hug the sides of the lochs, winding itself up one side and then back down the other side.  Between the lochs, the hills, and the soft light breaking through the rolling clouds every moment was pure magic. The whole trip was only 3 or 4 days, and I really didn’t cover that much distance, but the ever changing scenery, cloud play, frigid temperatures  made it feel like I had been on a long epic journey. I stayed in hotels each night as I was not brave enough to camp in December. Each day of riding would end with a hot bath to defrost my toes, a hearty dinner, a wee dram, a couple of pints, and some gallus patter with the locals.

I just dug out these photos, and was lucky enough to find the negatives. Yes, taken on film. No digital tom foolery. Just high speed 35mm  film, and me not really knowing what the hell I was doing. I got the negatives scanned so I could post them, and honestly, I can’t stop staring at them. Inspirational Nostalgia.

Have a great holiday season. Cheers.

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