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Coming the day after the KoM sportive, I knew this race wasn’t going to produce any PBs! I’ve run this race many times since my first attempt in 1991. It’s route has changed since the early years, and it’s now based around the beach area of Aberdeen. The route takes the runners from the Beach Boulevard, though the harbour to the south end of the beach. From there the route runs along the beach front, joining King Street and passing back thought Seaton and past Pittodrie football stadium. The last km has a climb up past Trinity Cemetery on Park Road, then it’s flat down Urquhart Road to the finish at the beach.

I seeded myself in the 55 min – 60 min group at the start with the view that this would probably stop me going off too fast and suffering later. As soon as the race started, it was obvious that my legs were still pretty tired after the previous day’s efforts. I managed to hold a 5:50 – 6:00 pace. Once I’d make my way through the harbour and onto the beach front, I managed to settle into a more even pace. Thankfully, the always-present wind on the beach was a tailwind this year! After I’d turned onto King Street, at about the 7 km mark, things started to go downhill – I cheered myself with the thought that it was only 3000 m to the finish. At the 9 km mark, the route starts to rise up as it passes the graveyard – it’s not a long or particularly steep hill, but, at the point in the race, it’s certainly feels like it is! At the top a quick glance at my watch told me I still had a chance to finish in under the hour, so I upped the pace and completed the race in 59:25.

I’ve finished this race considerably quicker in the past (48:xx in the 90’s) and 52:07 at my last attempt in 2011. Both of these were without having had 4 hours in the saddle the day before. Considering that I was pretty satisfied with my result.


The King of the Mountain Sportive is organised by a local cycling club, Deeside Thistle. There are three options; 100 miles, 100 km or 25 miles. I took the 100 km option. This would be the furthest I’d ridden for a long time, certain since my days of living in the Netherlands in the early ‘90s.

The route starts and finishes at the Grampian Transport Museum in Alford. The 100 km routes heads north-west from the town following the river Don though Towie and Strathdon before turning south to climb over to Bridge of Gairn and onto Ballater. From there, the ride heads in a mainly north-east direction back to Alford, via Muir of Dinnet, Tarland and Muir of Fowlis.

I started in the 4:30 hour target time group, although my personal target was 4 hours. I also aimed to ride the route alone, rather than in a group, since triathlon’s an individual sport.

The group started at a bit of a faster pace that I would have liked, so I soon saw the leaders heading off into the distance. Since the plan was to ride this as a solo effort, this wasn’t too much of a concern. The route was mostly small ups-and-downs until we turned off the main A944 and came to a climb from Towie. After this, there was a long descent, which ended with a right-hand bend. Unfortunately, one rider didn’t take the bend and end up in the ditch. When I passed, there were a number of other riders helping.

Next up was the main climb from Donside over to Ballater. The climb was only about 3 kms long, rising from 336m to 556 m - I found it pretty hard and was on the absolute limit when I crossed the summit. Max HR at the top was 192 bpm (92% Max). Once over the top, the views and the descent down to Gairnshiel Bridge and onto Ballater were fantastic.

Once over the big climb of the day, the route was generally downhill back to Alford, with the exception of the sting in the tail, the climb of Queen’s View at the 80 km mark. Normally, a climb of this magnitude won’t be a problem, but, coming after 80 kms, it was a bit of a struggle. Thankfully, it was a steady climb without any steep bits and after that, it was downhill all the way to Alford.

Total time was 4:10:06 for 104.6 km, with 4:06:00 actual moving time. I went through the 100 km point on exactly 4 hours (4:00:25 to be precise), which was just what I’d aimed for. My place was 181 out of 351.

Fuelling: 1 x SiS Gel every 30 minutes, start at 1 hr. Caffeinated gel at 3 hrs. 2 750 ml bottles of SiS Go Energy.

KoM2014ProfileRide Profile

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I’ve been using Ultegra Di2 on my new Felt Z3 for the past 6 weeks-or-so. In my cycling career, I’ve gone from downtube friction shifters, through indexed shifters, on to STI combined brake/gear shifters and finally to Di2. Here’s my initial thoughts:


  • Slick shifting – easily as slick as a newly setup mechanical system
  • Easy to maintain – no cables to replace or lubricate
  • Easy shifting – minimal movement in levers, good with cold, wet hands
  • Having multiple shift positions (i.e. bar tops & tribars) is great! This is probably the best advantage of Di2 for me.


  • Expensive – not so bad on a new bike, expensive to retro-fit
  • Difficult to fix at road-side – hopefully I’ll never have to confirm this!
  • The wires a bit fragile – easy to nip one when fitting wheel, etc.
  • Battery – Although it lasts about 1000 km between charges, it’s just another thing to check before going out

If you’re tempted by Di2, visit Carlton Bale’s website ( for an in-depth look at the various options and compatibility issues.