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Mountain Biking World Cup

Fort William here we come |

We had a great time in Scotland. Had a day in Glasgow and then drove up to Fort William. Whenever we rent a car we always ask for an upgrade and nearly always get it. This time we went from one of those horrid Ford Ka's to a VW Pssat. Very nice car to drive, with lots of get up and go but unfortunately made whoever was in the passenger seat carsick which wasn't so good. Mind you the roads were very narrow and windy up to Fort William. We had a fantastic camping spot right beside Loch Linnhe. It was a little chilly camping but we have very good sleeping bags so it didn't worry us. We were very thankful that Rachelle's Mum had brought over our thermarests for us though, as it does make sleeping on the ground way more comfortable. We were very lucky with the weather - it didn't rain although it was grey. It was pretty much perfect biking weather.

The World Cup was great and very well organised. We got picked up by a bus and delivered to the front gate of the event. It was held on a skifield beside Ben Nevis so the views were fantastic and we could use the chairlift for access to the top of the downhill course. We did our bit for the kiwi contingent - had our large black silver fern flag. The good thing about it was that it made us identifiable to other kiwis there. Mind you they seem to stand out a mile away - macpack, ground effect, fairydown labels were seen of a fairly regular basis. The downhill was less technical than I expected. It was solid and fast. Cross country looked great, pity I didn't get a chance to ride it. If we had stayed until the Monday we could have rented bikes and ridden the course - might have been embarrassing though given our current bike fitness.

Andrew and Jane can have a laugh at our expense. They warned us about midges (a very small, irritating bug that bites) in Scotland and with them being from the land of the sandfly I should have taken more notice. It was so cool in Scotland that we decided that small insects with wings wouldn't be flying - WRONG. The were down our pants, tops and in Si's hair. I am normally the one targeted, but for once it was Si's turn - they took a particular liking to him. If I stood about 6ft away I was pretty safe as they made a bee line for him. One of the camera men felt so sorry for us that they gave us some insect repellent. I didn't think the bites were so bad until about 10 days later when they all got a second wind and itched terribly for a few days. Jane and Andrew - we have learnt our lesson.

We flew back from Glasgow on the Sunday night to Stanstead. That was where everything started to go wrong. I have vowed to never use Stanstead airport again. It is a long way from where we live so when things go wrong, they really go wrong. We arrived to find that the train we had prepaid a ticket for was not running, and basically to cut a long story short it turned into a four hour nightmare (should have been one and a halfs at the most). We got home at about 1.30 am and to finish us off the gas station had no milk or bread - we couldn't believe it. Simon swore so loudly that a nice man on the forecourt offered to give us a ride down to a 24 hour shop in Acton High Street - really nice of him, but we just wanted to go to bed, and we were carrying our packs and all our camping gear. I guess I should add that poor Si had to get up at about 5.30 the next morning for work and as a result of the night before had to go on the hunt at that time for bread and milk.

Locations Visited: Glasgow, Inveraray, Fort William

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