The beauty of riding in a new place is that you never truly know what to expect. Sure you can do your research, read maps, look at photos, and study the weather, but the beauty of a true adventure is that element of the unknown. With this at the forefront of our minds, Matt and I set off to Scotland this spring ready to embrace whatever lay on the trail ahead.
We had heard that the weather in the Highlands could change on a dime. We stuffed our riding packs to the point of eruption- wind layers, warm layers, sun protection, and food. But nothing could have prepared us for the vastness and exposure of the Highlands. I often felt like a tiny spec in sea of rock with no tree in sight to provide shelter from the elements.
We had read that the days would be long and the trails unforgiving. But that did not do justice to the chess game we were about to play with the trails of Scotland. We spun our wheels through soft peat bogs and up steep climbs, descended the other side until we couldn't hold the bars anymore and finished rides in the dark.
We had XT Di2 on our bikes. They were the very first groupo's off of the production line and unproven in the environment we were about to enter. There were questions about it's durability, water resistance and battery life. But XT Di2 met every challenge on our journey on one charge, not backing down from river crossings, all day rides and the many jagged rocks that tried to grab at it along the way.
We finished our adventure with sore legs, our memory banks stoked full and a thirst to continue exploring the unknown.