Day 4 of Le Jog was closed by meeting two incorrectly named dutch girls; Maaike (who should have been called Ilse) and Ilse (who should have been called Maaike). Having rented an English car, the two had been sauntering through Scotland with their headlights on, going the wrong way across roundabouts.
They are keeping a scrapbook of proceedings and we ask to have a look through it. The pages are strewn with receipts, newspaper cut outs and indiscriminate Dutch inferences. One page reads “Quotes.” We enquire as to whether these are inspirational quotes? Literary soundbites? Historical citations? Ilse (Maaike) replies to the contrary and translates one of the quotes, “Volgens mij zit er een teek in mijn bilnaad, wacht even.” We do not really possess the faculties to deal with these situations and so we move on rapidly.
Before the evening is closed Maaike (Ilse) rises to make a pot of tea and offers us some, in reference to some very subtle empty cup references on our part. She storms into the kitchen. Rafe Watson remarks “She looks angry. This might be the angriest cup of tea we have ever had.” She returns several minutes later and pours the tea out, spilling half of the beverage onto Rafe Watson’s notebook. She is apologetic, but we see the fury in her eyes and agree between ourselves. “Angriest tea ever, see?”
Part of the appeal of any sport, is the unique ability one has to construct new verbs and deconstruct the English language. To Chris Froome [Froome], is now the rapid ascent of an intimidating climb on our bikes, as in “Completely Froomed that hill man!” or “Let’s Froome this!” What, you don’t agree? Well, you can go Sagan yourself.
Today we embark on 90 miles to Oban. We begin easily and early enough at a most ungentlemanly hour. The mist is still clearing itself from the Loch as we depart and begin the dizzying ascents and death defying descents. We are making good progress and the wind is being kind.
Between Inverlochy and Fort William we Cavendish furiously, the 6 miles. (Cavendish [verb] – to ride all out, to aggressively destroy other riders as in – “that rider was completely Cavendished.”) Enjoying our brief sojourn with the throttle, we spend the next hour tearing across Scotland taking turns to sit on the wheels of one another, basking in a slip stream. We ride solidly at 20mph or so for a good hour. When we finally rest, we are finished.
We exhaustedly roll into Oban at 1630, some 6 hours of cycling later. Rafe Watson is spared no rest as he is recruited to the assistance of a middle aged women with bike computer problems (which he corrects) and Aldercy Manning struggles with the incompetence of the local hostel staff. “Where can I lock the bike up please?” The assistant behind the desk is more interested in big brother and her phone. She looks up. “Just lock it up outside. Nobody steals bikes.”