Preparation, preparation and preparation!! Those were the words going through my mind as I pushed my almost fully laden Tour de Fer up a rather steep gradient from Hopes reservoir on Monday (27th March). I was recceing most of day ones route, Edinburgh to Kelso. I say most of as I headed off before Kelso to get the train back to Kirkcaldy. But I am jumping ahead…..
Monday the 27th of March was forecast to be dry and bright and it did not disappoint. I was basking in the sunshine at Kirkcaldy station as I waited for my train to Edinburgh. My Genesis Tour de Fer had two Brae panniers on the rear rack one was packed as it will be during the rally with my sleep system the other was packed with various articles of clothing, spares and electronics the full list of which has not yet been finalised.
I started the day off from Waverley station and headed towards the meadows where I picked up the official route. Edinburgh is built on seven hills and I think the route took me up eight of them!!
Once out of the city the route takes you through Dalkeith Country Park and past the Go Ape site with two gates to open it will be interesting to see what that is like on a Sunday in May. You then go onto NCN 196 Pencaitland railway route.
My first stop of the day was just outside Gifford where I tucked into some food I had brought with me, just a small snackette before the climb to the highest point of the day, in fact of the whole rally. Once out of Gifford it feels as if the climb starts straight away as the route takes you by Knock Hill, Bleak law, Hopes reservoir onto and over Crib law. Hike a bike time for me!
The descent took me down to Carfrae mill and for a short time onto the main Edinburgh road to Lauder. I stopped at a conveniently placed Co-Op to buy supplies to last until I got home. Taking note as I did so that this will be an ideal resupply stop on the Rally. With my bag full I headed towards Kelso. Once I reached Earlston I headed west for Tweedbank station and a train home to Kirkcaldy.
A great day. Gear and body tested. Resupply venues confirmed and a great day’s cycling into the bargain.
Stats: Dist 56.7 miles, Climb 4025 ft Moving time 5h 47 min Av speed 9.8 mph.