The LEL course is simply stunning on the northern end. Traveling through the grassy canyons of Scotland was a profound experience.
I rode solo on the 120K northbound leg from the Eskdalemuir Control to Dalkeith, striking out at 3:30 a.m., sleepless and stinking of sweat. I had to stop within the first quarter mile to tighten an annoying bolt on the left crank arm, a mechanical demon that haunted me the entire ride.
But you never know when a stretch of road will leave an indelible stamp. The shadows of night shift from deep blue to muted greens and gray, the wind shifts to your back, your bike finds wings and your mood lifts like the morning fog. And there you are, in the thick of it all, remembering why you came.