When I heard about the Cross Border 100, I was intrigued. Action Medical Research descibe it as a brand new ride with a difference, offering a choice of starting points, one in Scotland and the other in England. The Cross Border Scotland stared in Haddington and a fantastic new 100-mile circular ride offered some of the best cycling terrain through the challenging Border region including some truly lung busting climbs. At the half way point you cross the border and meet with fellow riders who have started their 100-mile challenge in Alnwick, Northumberland. Further information on the site described the ride as 'Grade 7 hilly route with some testing climbs, training required!'
The group of four local people who had planned to take this on whittled down to Frank and me. We started the ride, late and in pouring rain. By the time we got to Gifford my rather flimsy rain jacked had soacked through, but I didn’t notice this because the hills above Gifford into the Lammermuirs took up all my attention. But I did notice that East Lothian Council have been busy in the hills and the roads are newly tar-macked. We cycled up through the switch back hills and on to the crossroads and headed for Longformackus. This is when I realised that the back up team were doing a splendid job. There were two motorbikes on the road and an ambulance with paramedics, plus a bike repair van. Each turning was well signed and there were other helpful signs such as ‘Pot Holes’ or ‘Single File.’ The other major attraction was the feeding stations and lunch stop, which were first class and very welcome and .
When we reached Duns the roads became a lot flatter. We took a circular route to Coldstream. This is where the riders from the south joined us and where the weather took a real turn for the better. Replenished by a fantastic lunch we set off again and had to take off our rain tops!. The circular route continued to Norham and then back to Duns. This marked the start of the trek back over the Lammermuirs, this time taking in Whiteadder reservoir. We were told by one of the back up staff that it was all downhill from there on, but I knew better, having ridden this route before. The last range of hills was over the B road to the Catholic monastery and Garvald. From there we travelled down to Morham and back to Haddington to a round of applause, a medal and a goody bag. It took us nine hours to do the route and I have to agree with the description of the route, it has some fantastic scenery and some lung busting hills.
The charity helps to stop suffering in children. Every tmile ridden helps fund medical research to treat sick babies and tackle premature birth, to make life better for children with disabilities, and to target a group of rare diseases that together severely affect many forgotten children. One of the leaflets in the goodey bag described a Cycle from Lands End to John O'Groats next May, now there’s a thought!