Posted by: Stu | August 12, 2010

Enduring Selkirk again… Part 1

First climb Selkirk Sportive, originally uploaded by StoooPotter.

Last year I took on my first cycling endurance event in the form of the Selkirk Merida Sportive and MTB Marathon. It didn’t go quite according to plan and so I went back this year with a bit of an agenda.

Once again, I entered with the aim of completing both the 100mile road Sportive on the Saturday and the 100km MTB Marathon on the Sunday. I had great memories of superb route choices for last year, despite not managing to finish the MTB ride due to a nasty fall 30km in… however, this year felt a little short changed when Mike, Sue and I arrived at the start line to find they’d shortened the routes slightly to 95 mile road ride and 85km MTB. Never mind, shorter… should be easier, more likely to complete it this year.

Saturday morning we rocked up to the event village, bikes tuned and big tick besides important bits on the check list… Energy food/drink, water, pump, spare tubes… and even sunshine (shhh, the forecast said rain). Perfect. We set off and 3 miles in, on the first climb, I punctured the rear tyre. Slapped one of my 2 spare tubes, the lovely Sue waiting for me, and off we go.

Legs were feeling good and I was keen to make up a bit of time after the puncture… 3 mile further on and the rear tyre is down again… Dam it. Another stop, second of my two spare tubes, get passed by some more people and off again. Another 3 mile and, this is starting to take the piss, another rear flat. What the hell is wrong with my rear tyre! I check it over for thorns and holes, took the tyre off and checked the rim, patched my tube and Sue and I started to make our way again… now nearly at the back of the day’s riders.

Another 2 mile… I don’t believe it, this is really getting to me, this is more punctures than I can remember ever having on a road bike, let along in one ride. No tubes left, unless I steel Sue’s. I decided I may have to abandon the ride. Sue manages to get a mobile reception by walking up to the top of the hill and call’s Mike, the Magic Spanner, who offers to come get me. Meanwhile, a nice chap passing by offers to give me one of his spare tubes and I manage to squeeze the 30mm touring tube into my 23mm race tyres and we head on down the road to meet Mike. This tyre seems to be holding.

We’d lost so much time that it didn’t make sense to attempt the big ride and so I decided to join Sue on the shorter 50 mile route, which still took in the final steep climb that conquered me last year. While we were deciding this, the broom wagon, picking up the route markers, caught us up… indicating that it was time to crack on.

Now I knew I was only doing the short ride, I figured I may as well enjoy the roads we were riding… and they were superb. We carried on along a fantastic wee bit of tarmac, heading north into Crosslee, then up and over the lovely climb to the Gordon Arms pub on the A708, rear tyre still holding. A shower passed by as we hit the top of the climb, failing to dampen spirits as we descended down to the feed station at the Gordon Arms where High5, biscuits and power bars were consumed before we hit the last climb of the day.

Heading East along the A708 to Yarrow, we then turned right up the last hill. I really wanted to clean this after cramping up on it last year and having to walk a bit. My legs felt good, only having 30 mile in the rather than 80! I started up at a nice steady pace and even passed a couple of folk. Three quarters up the hill, I felt that oh so familiar thudding of my rear rim making contact with the tarmac through my tyre which once again matched my now rather deflated spirits. I knew Mike would be waiting for me at the top of the climb, I removed my shoes and strolled up the last bit… no magic spanner was gonna sort this, I’d had enough.

We stood by the van and cheered Sue on as she sailed over the top of the climb. My only saving thought was that I should have more energy in the legs for the MTB Marathon on Sunday.

This picture pretty much sums up the day….
Last Climb Selkrik Sportive



  1. […] on from Yesterday’s report on the CRC Road Sportive (Selkirk round) 2010, here’s the run down of the the rest of the weekend… the MTB […]

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