Day 15 has again been a great day with physical success with the reward of meeting and talking with great people. There is however a dark cloud of sin looming over the day…

It was a day for a bike ride under blue sky and before the beckoning storms. Stirling was my target 7 miles away straight down the A84 but on such a beautiful day I decided to take the National Cycle Route of the 765 via Dunblane, Bridge of Alan and the Riverside. A lovely route through deeply wooded glens and signposted in Doune as 8 miles to Stirling. By the time I reached Dunblane (4 miles away) Stirling was signposted as 10 miles away. I knew the NCN 765 route was a slightly longer route but not by 7 miles!!!!! To make matters worse after cycling for a few minutes I met another signpost for Stirling which was still 10 miles away!!

I had to get back in time for a meeting in the afternoon and the gears on my bike were slipping badly. Shouldn’t I turn back as the sensible option? No way hosay. The second hand bike shop, Recyke-a-bike, from which I had bought the bike was in Riverside Stirling and perhaps they could fix the gears (even though the warranty on the bike had run out 3 months earlier!!). Besides I was now sat at the top of what looked like a fantastic descent through a deep wooded glen. I couldn’t resist and forgetting that what goes down has to come back up went for it!! What fun. Nearly ploughed straight in to a wooden fence on a sharp bend in the descent but didn’t, giggled childishly and pointed back down hill.

Cambuskenneth Abbey with glorious views over the Ochils and the tomb of King James III is well worth a visit if passing.
Cambuskenneth Abbey with glorious views over the Ochils and the tomb of King James III (pictured below) is well worth a visit if passing.

What a ride that was which then continued past the thoughtful ruin of Cambuskenneth Abbey and the Royal tomb, through the charming village of Cambuskenneth, over the Forth and into the bike shop at Riverside. Maureen was in the office that day who explained to me very calmly that two mechanics had gone to pick up bikes and would be away for quite a while, the other mechanic had called in sick and so she was holding the fort. However book the bike in for a service and we could do it next week. I explained that I needed the bike for a Relay tomorrow and had called in earlier in the week, after I had first discovered the problem, to be told that today was the day when they would be most likely be able to do a quick fix if that was all it needed. Maureen really wanted to help and saw a chance if I could give her a couple of hours. Brilliant. A huge thank you, a flyer handed over, and off I went hopeful that something could be done.

Then I sinned. I walked in to Stirling and caught a wiff of MacDonalds. I had to do it. I had a whole bag of carrots, tenderstem broccoli, tomatoes and grapes in my daysack but needed a quarter pounder with cheese. I am so sorry but it did taste really good!!

My bum was by this time really numb and with time to spare popped in to Sports Direct and bought a pair of padded cycling trousers for a tenner – brilliant!! But even better Trespass were considering sponsoring me with the provision of some clothing to keep me going in the mountains as we head in to winter but they needed my sizes. Still time so popped in to the trespass shop to be looked after beautifully by two assistants while I found the sizes I needed for the various items of clothing and footwear. I thanked them for their help and seized the opportunity to pass on another flyer but forgot to ask their names. Please forgive me but thank you for your help.

I padded back to the bike shop munching on tenderstem broccoli and tomatoes to try and make me feel a little less guilty about the burger. Carrots and grapes should counter the effects of the fries!!

Then amazing. Not only had they repaired the bike which required a number of new parts but had decided to do it under warranty in the circumstances. Maureen squared it and Rory did the work so a huge thank you to you both. The bike is working brilliantly. Time to go home.

It was uphill almost the whole way. I was breathing hard and the legs were burning but my goodness it felt so good to find the will and energy to keep going. I did find an excuse to stop as a pair of cyclists coming the other way and I were heading in to a choke point but they were far too nice, applied the brakes and ushered me through. By Jingle – I had to keep going!! Made it to the top, and back on to the muddy track with the puddles from Dunblane to Doune. Whooshed through giggling, got soaked but made it home in time for a quick shower and my first ever interview on the challenge.

Cambuskenneth Abbey with glorious views over the Ochils and the tomb of King James III is well worth a visit if passing.

The Kilmadock parish magazine was wanting to do an article on me and the challenge. I was really nervous but Juliet was truly professional and I had a great cup of tea and a lovely time talking about me and the route that led to the current situation (what I now know to be my back story) and the reasoning behind the challenge.

On the way back bumped in to three friends who expressed a desire to sponsor me – thank you very much – and got a toot and cheery wave from Cameron as he passed. A great day. 25 miles (at least) cycled, my first interview done and some encouragement from friends. I walked home with a big grin and feeling a little less guilty about the quarter pounder meal!!

The challenge in numbers total since the start:
Days completed: 15
Total Miles Cycled: 72
Total Miles Walked: 51
Total Miles covered under own steam: 123
Total Height Gained under own steam: 4,361 feet
Mountains Climbed: 2
Days of Conservation Activity: 1 1/4
Organ tunes learnt and performed: 5
People Met and Hands Shaken: 51
Pills popped: 66

If you see me around do please give a cheery hello and shake my hand or toot your horn and give a cheery wave to show your support and encourage me on.
Thank you all for your incredible comments and support. Please continue to spread the word.

Thank you

Yours aye