Today dawned mostly clear and windless, particularly in comparison to last year's 60 mph gale force headwind and horizontal rain. We left JOG just after 7:00 and headed west along the coast. The first 32 miles to our first pit stop flew by - everyone was excited to be underway, and we speeded down the tiny back roads chatting away.
After the first stop, the roads got a bit "lumpier", a charming British euphemism for hilly. But the climbs were pretty steady - worst was about a 9% grade according to my cycling buddy's fancy Garmin. They reminded me of Arizona climbs: long, but steady enough to find a rythym and just spin. After about 50 miles, we turned south at one of the most beautiful beaches ever, and headed inland. The next 25 miles were alongside a river, on a gorgeous one lane road that rolled along gently, always going up. The river first rushed by on the left, but soon widened into a lake. At the head of the lake was pit stop #2.
From the second stop, it was 28 miles to base camp. Sadly, the weather gods decided to go to Aruba, and the clouds and wind started to roll in. A few drops started to come down as we finished the day's climbing and started a rolling downhill to the end of the day. After just under 8 hours total time, we arrived at Kyle of Sutherland.
Ten minutes later, the skies opened up, and the Scottish weather that was expected arrived in full force. Things since have been a bit damp. But I've had a shower, a brief nap, lots of dinner, and a massage. The evening briefing is next, and then its off to bed. And hopes for reasonable weather tomorrow!