2016 Tour o’ the Borders – video

1st place finish at this year’s Touro, shortly after the birth of our twins… a gruelling effort!

So the big day finally arrived, three weeks after the birth of twins which made the McCraw household less of a place for bikes and event preparation…

After hardly any sleep for weeks, lots went wrong on the day but I can’t be too critical because I pulled off the upset, placing 1st with a time of 3:31 on a very windy and respectably hilly course. Again, proper write-up to follow in due course!

Who would have imagined that I would be the first rider to summit the 20% climb at Talla… on a recumbent?

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I can only say that the agony of having newborn twins makes any amount of bike riding, however hard, seem like no problem – so I can’t take much of the credit for this performance… In the meantime, below is the whole of the event sped up to 800%.

At 3:00 into the video you can see me put in a break on the peleton (such as it was). I held this for almost the whole of the next 69 miles, and was first to summit four of the five climbs on the event – all except Paddy Slacks near the finish, where I had finally been reeled in by another break. I then set the KOM on Paddy Slacks descent towards the Tweed by quite some margin to go on and sneak the overall result by just five seconds.

More highlights from the video:

The climb up Talla begins at 10:00 and the descent down the other side at 11:00

The descent from Megget to the extremely fast St Mary’s Loch section is from 12:00 (picked up a KOM here!)

The descent from Berrybush into Ettrick valley at 15:50

Finishing the Swire climb and screaming descent from 19:35

The final climb up Paddy Slacks starts at 22:00 and you’ll see one solo rider then two pairs manage to pass me. I immediately overtake the second pair on the descent (from 23:30) where I picked up another KOM.

Pain now to Peebles. After 26:00 you can see some nice descending from Kailzie and the run in to the finish. Boom!

To be continued with a full write up in due course…

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2016 Etape Caledonia – video

Headcam footage of the first half of the 2016 Etape Caledonia (I finished in 21st place).

This year I rode the Etape Caledonia as a warm-up to get me training early in the year (if you like, a B event ahead of August’s Tour o’ the Borders).

I finished in 21st place, five minutes off the pace, which wasn’t awful for the first ride of the year. The High Baron was great as usual, mainly held up by traffic in the first two thirds of the ride, as can be seen on the video.

I’ll write a longer report separately, but I did get a headcam rigged up to the front of the bike which recorded roughly the first half of the ride before the batteries died:

After the video ends, there’s one climb up Schiehallion (not as long as you’d expect, nor as steep – it took me just over eight minutes at 270W), a bit of descent then a pretty dull main road finish, barring a slightly lumpy section immediately before the line.

I was pleased to ride the Etape just to see what it was like, and it did prove valuable incentive ahead of the Touro in August, but I have to say that the quality of the riding isn’t great with so many others on the course. I did a recon ride a few weeks before and was only passed by a handful of cars, but otherwise had it all to myself!