Broughton and Back: Audax uk 100km
This was the third year in a row that I have ridden this event, and it still hasn’t lost its appeal!
Once again it was an early start from Kirkintilloch, with ominously grey skies and a gale blowing from the south-west. On the drive across to the Edinburgh Ring Road, the skies improved a little with the sun making an effort to cheer the threatening sky. Once on the A7, the weather improved significantly, meaning we arrived at the start in bright sunshine. Unfortunately, the strong wind was still blowing from the south-west so I was anticipating a hard ride from Galashiels to Broughton.
The event got under way with 15 riders making the start, a significant decrease on last years field, although the 200 km event had a slightly healthier 30 entries. My prediction of a hard ride into the wind was spot on and I was struggling to keep pace with the main bunch. My excuse, I was still recovering from “man flu” which seems to have stalked me throughout the winter.
However, the ride over Gala Hill to the B7o60 was as grand as in previous years, with a little respite from the wind as we cut through the grounds of Faimilee House. Onto the A707 the ribbon of trees along the river Tweed kept the worst of the wind at bay until we turned right at Caddonfoot Road to continue on the main road. The route remained on the A707 until it reached the slip road to Peel where it crossed the river to join the National Cycle Route 1. This is a super section of the course, sticking to the back road on the south side of the Tweed, and skirting the edge of the Elidank and Traquair Forest all the way Innerleithen. I can see why this is such a magnet for Mountain Bikers.
On reaching Innerleithan the course picked up the B709 past Traquair and onto the B7062 to Peebles. Here, I must admit, the GPS failed me and I rode up a cul du sac near the High School; an idiot will always blame the technology! After being put on the right track by a local, (he cheerfully informed us we would have to shift some to catch the group that was about a minute in front of us), we resumed on the right course. This next section proved to be an absolute killer as it skirted the base of Cadmuir Hill. (Incidentally, the John Buchan Way goes over Cadmuir on its way from Peebles to Broughton. I’ve walked this a couple of times and it’s a wonderful day out on the hills, although it requires two cars if you’re not going to use the bus from Broughton to get to the start in Peebles). The wind really got to work on me along this portion of the course, and it was here that the group I could see in front of me just simply rode away. Fortunately an Information Control had gone missing so I was able to rejoin two others who were searching for it.
Back in the fold I was able to reach the A72 with company, a left at the sign posted “Lyne Station” took the course onto the B712 towards Stobo. Here a squad of about 30 walkers were signing in at a check point where the John Buchan way crosses the road. I was beginning to wish I could abandon the ride and join them in a pleasant walk, rather than suffer the purgatory of riding into the wind. A further 2km on, a right turn took us over the hill to Dreva. At this point the folk I was with just rode away as I struggled up the slope. It was even more depressing to have other riders pass in the opposite direction, on their return journey. However, a rapid descent into Broughton allowed me to catch up just as other riders were entering the cafe control.
After consuming copious volumes of tea, a bacon roll and a cake, it was time for the return leg. We emerged from the control into rain, so instead of going back over the hill I opted to follow the A701 to Rachan Mill, and then picked up the B712 to Lyne Station. The wind was now at my back, the rain shower had passed, and I was able to make good time back to the A72 which I followed into Peebles. In the town I picked up the B7062 to retrace the route back to Gala. With the wind at my back it was a pleasure to ride the course I had struggled along earlier in the day. Back at the start control, food and a welcome coffee awaited. Once again a cracking day on the bike.
Thanks Gala CC.