Stage 3

"Just put me down please, I can't turn the pedals any more."

Stage Stats

Distance 191.1 km
Time 7 hours 28 mins
Elevation 1316m
Pain Factor 10/10

Had real trouble getting out of bed this morning. After two long days on the bike and the Tour of Cambridge a couple of days before we started this little adventure my legs were feeling it. The best thing is to not think too much and just get back on the bike. It really hurts for the first 10km and then things start to loosen up. From the hostel we head into Fort Augustus and pick up the track alongside the canal.

This is a hidden little route and is traffic free. I get a crap load of abuse about "Why are we riding roadbikes on a track ?", "My bike is getting dirty", "This is a crap route !!!". After 30 mins of moaning, I point out all the roads round Fort William all go up and down and are full of tourist traffic, and the one thing about paths along canals, is that just like the canals that are right next to them they are FLAT !!!, which seems to stop the moaning. I forgot to mention that we only follow the canal for about 10km and then things start to get a bit "interesting".

We pick up the back road at Galochy and come into Fort William on the scenic route. His lordship has the red mist on and powers through, I stop for a photo at Neptunes staircase,

The road from Fort William to Ballachulish is not pleseant for a cyclist. There is only one road through the mountains and this is it, which means lorries, tourists and everything comes along this road.  The other problem is there is no where to pull in to let traffic past you. The edge of the road is a mass of stones and boulders with only a few stopping points.

From the bridge we took a pause to let the traffic pass and we observed the view up Glen Coe. Hmmmm thats gonna hurt. The shock of the climb imediately causes his lordships bike to puncture again.

Glen Coe is the biggest single climb on the route and its a long one. Pace yourself up, if you dont, you won't make it in any state to ride on. The views from the top were amazing. We had a great chat with a German biker gang at the summit, we spent a few minutes over some great banter comparing machines. Carbon fibre and lycra vrs the leather and V8. (the cost was probably similar)  But what goes up must come down, and its a good one. fantastic views of the surrounding mountains while descending through the Glen.

The A82 after Glen Coe is amazing cycling through a real wilderness landscape. Small lochs and bodies of water, with heather and just a single road winding through. We were forced to stop for a swifty at the Bridge of Orchy, including a large bowl of chips and another "swifty" to keep the sugar levels up. The onto Crianlarich and Inverarnan, where we pick up the head of Loch Lomand. 

The road along the loch is flat and winding the legs are starting to hurt now, eventually we make it to Tarbet. At Tarbet we picked up the cycle path that follows the loch shore, which was a welcome relief from the traffic. 17 miles of closed road to finish and we end up at the southern tip of the Loch in the town of Balloch where we retire to a very late meal and a pint and then crash. 191km (Longest day I have done on a bike, and some big climbs thrown in to measure)

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