Updated: Sep 3, 2020
Finally we gave up our bikes, but unfortunately at this point my team mate was forced to call it a day. I was immensely proud of her for getting up on the second morning and still getting on her bike, despite being completely drained, emotionally and physically, from the horrors of the previous 24 hours. It takes enormous courage and spirit to carry on when you are broken like that, and I for one would not have thought any less of her had she stayed in the tent for the whole of the second day. The extreme weather conditions of the previous day, compounded by the pitiful hot fluid provision for bedraggled competitors, ontop of a sleepless night, had led to what was almost certainly mild hypothermia. How on earth she managed to get up that morning, put on her cycling gear and cycle a further 21 miles I will never know, but I am so proud of her for pulling that final cycle out of the bag.She badly needed to recuperate and recover, her experience of the event ruined by the horrific weather, which was compounded by the pitiful arrangements for competitors at the end of day 1. A hot drink and dry changing facilities would have made all the difference to her, and I am positive she would have continued on to complete the event had this not happened.
I had one last thing to do, though, which was to have a wee in the car park next to their car, her wife gamely holding a towel around me to protect my dignity. It’s not often I wish I were a man, but sometimes having one of their pointy hoses to direct into discrete shrubs would make life so much easier! Dignity and post motherhood are not often happy bedfellows.
I set off walking, knowing that the first section was a huge hill, and although some competitors did run all the way, I knew that I could run once on the top, where the hills were undulating. I also knew I had another ascent to complete before the last descent down to the lake side. I was saving my legs! Once through the initial wooded section, we were out in the bracken covered hills, Scotland at its glorious best on a fine sunny September afternoon.