21st September 2016

Carbon Fivers 500 Highland Challenge – Day 3

“So tough today. The climbs were steeper, the wind wild, the rain, er, wet. 90 miles, 7,900 feet.” (Tweet, Day 3)

In the third of his series of blogs about taking on the Carbon Fivers 500 Highland Challenge, lead cyclist Richard Wadsworth tells of searing wind, merciless hills and a hunt for food.

Day 3 meant saying goodbye to a couple of our riders and being joined by Carbon’s MD, Gordon Wilson, as an additional support team member to give us some encouragement.

Out of Ullapool we were straight into a long climb, helping to blow the cobwebs away.  Soon we turned west and directly into the teeth of the wind, the spectacular Stac Polly ridge moving in and out of our vision in the mist and rain.  We ground on, finally turning north, climbing and descending along some lovely, quiet, single-track roads to Lochinver.

After a break it was back into the wind and up and down along a busy, tough section of single-track road.  The road quietened after a few miles as it turned inland, and we were pushed along by a tailwind.  Our joy was short-lived, however, as we turned back and forth in and out of the wind and rain, and up and down some of the steepest hills any of us have taken on – at one point we passed an electric bike which had refused to take its passenger up to the top!

We turned north again onto bigger roads and longer climbs and descents, but the wind and rain continued.  We longed for our lunch stop, but at 2.30pm the highlands seemed to have shut up shop for food. Then Alison convinced the owner of a lovely café in Scourie to wake up the chef, and soon we were gorging on pasta, vegetable stew and couscous.

Refreshed, we took on the final 25 miles, the last five or so being one of the best and longest descents any of us had been on, sweeping us to Durness.

This was the toughest day of the trip so far, but we recovered in the luxury of the Mackay’s Rooms in Durness.

If you would like to support the Carbon Fivers campaign and Winning Scotland Foundation you may still do so here. The donations page will stay open until 2 December 2016.

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