Golden times 

On an afternoon in early 0ctober 2016, I was having lunch with my friends, George and Adrian when we came up with the idea of travelling to see one of cycling’s spring classics. We usually enjoy a ride together to coincide with the classics, the gather in the pub to watch the race, but venturing to mainland Europe to see one in person was new territory for me. By the time we’d emptied our plates the idea was gathering steam, so I booked a table in Blackfriars for that evening where we could have a planning session.

Later, gathered around a table by the window, we checked our calendars and quickly decided upon travelling to Maastricht for the weekend of the Amstel Gold Race. As quickly as the beers flowed that night, Operation: Amstel took shape.

I took an unlikely organisational role, setting up the Trello board and filling it with to-do’s and ideas as they came to mind, George booked the appropriate flights, and Adrian found us quality bars to visit and a place to stay on Air B&B in the days that followed.

In fact, the whole thing came together so quickly and was so far ahead of us that, over the winter, it was easy to forget that we’d be kicking off the spring in style.

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Pedal for Scotland 2012

I felt more at ease with Pedal for Scotland from the moment I decided not to attempt the 113 mile sportive route. The 47 mile challenge ride just felt like a more manageable distance that I wouldn’t have to worry about extensively training for. I didn’t even feel any shame about switching from my original sportive entry to the challenge ride, as after struggling through the Graeme Obree Sportive and doing the Great Scottish Run I knew it was a wise move.

As last year’s event had demonstrated, being entered as a team with the lads didn’t mean we’d ride together, either. Their higher level of fitness on the bike just meant that I got left behind and it was a solo affair anyway, so switching to the challenge ride and focussing on my own level of performance seemed like a way of maybe enjoying the event this time around.

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