Updated: Jan 10, 2022
Durris Dash. The first time I heard of this fab concept, a first for not just the north east, I had to get involved. Why has no one thought of this before?
So, the day itself came. After the very early alarm call, helping set up the Kirkton of Durris Hall in readiness for the hordes of riders, listening intently to our briefing and picking up my fab eMTB from Tony (more of this star later) all while the clear sky was still packed full of bright, white shiny things (spot the Toonzer!) I made my way off to get myself sorted at my checkpoint.
Having been allocated the top of Cairn mon Earn in the SAC marshal sweepstake (sorry Rosie!), I was full of excited anticipation for welcoming the first of the riders and a cracking view of the sunrise and then splendid 360deg vistas all around.
However, as I climbed and climbed, I couldn’t help thinking that I must be nearing the masts. Nope, no sign of them, kept climbing. Still no sign. Oh, wait a minute, there’s the edge of the building line right in front of me, couldn't see the rest of the buildings, fences or the masts. Shrouded in cloud for the first part of the day so no sunrise or views...yet.
Camping chair put in its place, coffee on. The marshals/volunteer WhatsApp group pinged constantly with check-ins and updates. Like a military operation, I jest not.
Before too long the first of the riders began arriving, digging eagerly into their pockets for their little white card as they put their foot down having just crested the climb. The smiles on seeing the little Ride Coffee House stamp was great to see.
What became clear very quickly and remained a constant throughout the day was, despite the many differing abilities, confidence levels and off-road experience was the infectious enthusiasm and enjoyment of all who took part. The smiling faces was a real fillip. It also became quickly apparent that there were so many different types of bikes, often with a wide range of tyres.
The chat hung on what way they’d got to me, what way they were planning to go. Have to admit it surprised me that there was quite so many differing, often wildly so, route choices. No right or wrong way though. They all got there in the end. Some bikes and riders were a bit more muddied, some a lot so and some pretty unmarked somehow. Some had wet feet. Most were cold. But they all got there in the end. Many had gone off script from their planned route, many had turned around and gone a wholly different way. Not to worry. They all got there in the end.
It was really heartening to hear from many of the more hardened roadies that they didn’t know how far they’d gone and many didn’t know what time it was. No one seemed to care. The focus was just on riding the bikes and soaking in the surroundings.
This was not a day for being a slave to the Garmin/Wahoo/Hammerhead right under your nose on the bars keeping you up-to-date with how fast, how far, how high, power output etc. Yet, not relying on it seemed to make riding the bike that bit more enjoyable for most.
It was great that so many had travelled some distance to take part, although unashamedly biased, Aberdeenshire really is a fab place to see, particularly if you’re on a bike! Also, great to see so many ladies taking part. In the week of #andshecycles a stark reminder that more needs to be done across the piece to help get more women and girls into biking.
Apologies for the seemingly endless Dutch techno-pop blasting from my Bluetooth speaker. I'd Links Rechts set up but then Apple music created a random playlist while I blethered with the visitors to my checkpoint.
Big kudos to all those who helped create, plan and organise yesterday’s Durris Dash. These things don’t just happen. Well done all of you!
A massive well done to all the riders, it was great to hear and see so much enthusiasm, enjoyment, commitment and determination. Special mention to young Alec (8) and Flora (3) (who looked as snug as a bug in a rug and seemingly had hot chocolate on tap!). A real big, big adventure day for you both yesterday! Special well done to both Dad’s too for making those memories for them. Thanks also to Andy T. for taking a funcy piece for each of the marshals, a nice thought and very much appreciated. Having consumed a whole host of calorific treats from my bottomless backpack, I didn’t really need any more but, suffice to say, it was swiftly wolfed down as well!
Big pat on the back to all the event sponsors, whose fervent support ensured the event could actually take place. Tony, Mr eguide Scotland, thanks for the loan bikes to all the marshals and helping out with the technicals during the day. Great to see you. First class, as always.
Is it just me or can anyone else still hear cowbells??
Of, and one other thing, some commented that it was a bit blowy and cold out yesterday. Have to say, I didn’t notice... much. Must do this in the summer next time, I said to myself as my teeth kept chattering.
But, despite having almost been blown off my feet, which shows how strong the gusts must have been, what with my slight (cough) frame, above all else, a grand day out and one I'd do all again in a heartbeat.
Note: some of the pics are mine, others are from our WA Group. Hope no-one minds me posting them here?!