|Before - sort of!|
Should have done a proper 'before' picture really 😉
As mentioned last week, we did a bonus bike club ride on Sunday. Nine of us met at Waterstone Crook leisure centre in Newport on a windy but sunny morning. Once again Ian had planned a really good route - challenging for me and a couple of other riders I think, but manageable. We headed off through Newport and Wormit crossing the A92 at the Five Roads roundabout and joining the A914 at St Michael's as we've done previously. I think we're getting a bit better at staying in a tight group - we're hardly a proper peleton but the more compact you can get the better when you're out on the road, so that you're not annoying drivers too much! We continued on through Guardbridge and stopped just after the Guardbridge Hotel for a quick fuel stop.
From there we joined the cycle path to to St Andrews. This is Dave's route to work so there was a bit of a risk that we'd lose him as he disappeared off into the distance on autopilot! Next stop was St Andrews for another breather/drink/snack before starting the climb up to Strathkinness. This was probably the toughest part of the ride to be honest. It's a shallow climb - you wouldn't necessarily even realise you were climbing until you look at the route profile on strava. That's when I realised why I was so knackered by the time we stopped at The Strathkinness Tavern, sadly before opening time as I could have done with using their facilities really! The head wind didn't help either. From there it was a fast descent (some faster than others - I'm a scaredy cat when it comes to speed 😊) back down to Guardbridge then on through Leuchars, past the edge of Tentsmuir forest, turning off before Tayport. There's a new farm cafe on this stretch but Ian hadn't realised it was open so hadn't planned in a cafe stop. I'm sure we'll fit it in on another ride though! The next section was the hilliest - when Ian says use your lowest gear you know it's going to be a bit of a killer! Luckily I had Ian with me for the climb so he could tell me when we were nearly at the top, otherwise I might have given up and walked - which is rarely the best course of action. The scariest part of the ride was crossing the dual carriageway heading towards the Tay Road Bridge. Luckily it wasn't too busy, being Sunday lunchtime, but I don't think I'd attempt it on my own. From there it was a short ride back to the start where I dropped my bike and headed straight for the leisure centre loos - I reckon that's the longest ride I've done without a 'comfort break' 😅
There's a lovely cafe in Newport called kitschnbake so we drove round there for lunch and were lucky enough to get a table.
On reflection, going out for beers on Saturday night probably didn't help with Sunday's ride! However Brewdog had some tiny rebel beers on tap, and I couldn't pass up the chance to get my hands on the Stay Puft marshmallow porter. Yup - marshmallow porter! I love a sweet stout anyway, but this was next level insane. It smells like the taste of old fashioned candy necklaces if you can imagine that, then has a slightly burnt sugary sweetness, like a toasted marshmallow. Definitely a 'wait, what wizardry is this?!?' kind of beer. Not to everyone's taste but I loved it!
I followed that with a banana-y wheat beer from Amsterdam brewery brouwerijhe t'IJ (easy for you to say....) which was nice a summery. Next up was a beer that's been on the wishlist for a while, Common Grounds by Magic Rock from Huddersfield. It's a coffee porter made with 7 different malts and 7 different coffees (from Dark Woods coffee) and pretty much tastes like an iced coffee. I'd put it up there with Northern Star from their fellow Yorkshire brewers over in Leeds, Northern Monk, which is high praise indeed!
Now common sense would have had me heading home at this point, but it was the Blues Weekend in Dundee and one of my work colleagues was playing a set in a pub with his covers band George and the Jungle, so we popped in there for a couple of drinks, and ended up having a bit of a late one. The Star and Garter is a proper old man's pub, with beer list to match, but they did have bottles of 71 brewing's German style pilsner, so despite not really being a lager drinker I went with supporting the local brewery and opted for that.
The plan for next Sunday is a more off road ride, weather permitting, so no pub for me on Saturday night!