I recently headed to Inverness for a weekend. The reason for the trip was an important one, although one which definitely didn't fill me with joy. If you follow the Scottish cycling scene you may have heard that we recently lost one of the stalwarts of the sport. Ivor Reid was an amazing man and someone I feel so blessed to have known.
I was heading to Inverness to pay tribute and to celebrate his life with his family and many friends. Ivor was a real legend and lived life to the full, always with a smile on his face. They say 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade' so I loaded the van with bikes (gratefully borrowed from my friends) and camping gear then hit the road north.
On the trip up I decided to explore a few places I've not really been before. I headed towards Aberdeen and then into the Cairngorms to find a suitable place to set up camp. It was a beautiful drive and I ended up in Aviemore, one of my favourite places. I set up next to Loch Morlich. It was an awesome night with clear skies and a beautiful full moon.
The next day I headed to Inverness via Nairn, another important stop for me as it is where my best friend Dougie is burried. We lost Dougie just under 2 years ago when he took his own life. This may sound like a super morbid story but I don't want to hide this. I want to share the truth and reality of who I am and what I do. It's not always good times all the time. I want to share some of my highs and lows and how the outdoors and riding bikes is a great outlet and means to cope. Obviously this trip was emotional for me, but there were positives. In Nairn I remembered a great friend and then visited his parents. It was great to catch up, talk and remember the good times.
Once I arrived in Inverness I really wanted to make the most of my time there. I called Greg Williamson, pro downhill racer and all round goof-ball, to ride some bikes and check out some secret spots. Inverness has an amazing riding scene and so many awesome spots to ride. I didn't have time to ride everything so I decided to hit the dirt jumps, skatepark and pump track.
Greg joined me after a gym session and coached me through the dirt jumps. Riding dirt jump trails isn't what I'm used to - they have super steep take offs and landings and if you make mistakes you won't get through the whole set. They can sometimes take a bit of time to figure out but once you get the right rhythm they feel so good and are so much fun! It's really satisfying.
As you can see in the video Greg and I had a right laugh at the trails. I was pretty scared of getting through the whole set but managed almost everything. There's no doubt that riding that day lightened the mood of what was a sad weekend. However I know it is exactly what Ivor and Dougie would have wanted.
I didn't even scratch the surface of the riding in Inverness so I definitely need to head up again when I've got some new bikes! I've been riding quite a lot recently and have some footage from other rides too. I've entered some races and I'm back training. I'd like to return to the race fitness I had in 2012-2014. If you want to follow my news then check back here and hit up my YouTube channel and subscribe - I aim to keep it active with content for blogs.
Now that's enough time typing. Time to get out and ride some bikes.
Over and out.