Another beautiful warm, sunny, dry evening, too good to stay in the house so I ventured out along the Comber Greenway and back for a nice gentle recovery cycle including a lap around a local pond on a loose gravel track.
A really warm, sunny evening and I couldn’t resist venturing out after Work for another Bike ride. Whether it was the tough head wind on the way out or whether all the miles of the previous few days had caught up with me, I was not able to sustain a decent pace this evening, my power output was down and I stopped in Comber for some emergency food to perk me up a bit before continuing on around the County down roads on a beautiful evening.
With the 80 plus miles Tour de Connemara Sportive this Saturday rapidly approaching it is now time to take some down time, increase the food intake and recover the energy levels starting with a bowl of Porridge.
Another shorter, easier effort spin on the Bicycle after Work. Tonight a friend, Andreea, accompanied me. Her Bicycle is a bit over-geared for her making climbing hills more challenging than they need be. Tonight we made the short Cycle over to Holywood then up the twisting, turning, Creighton’s Green road. Despite burning legs Andreea dug in and completed the climb…before collapsing on to the grass to recover 🙂
A nice easy effort, recovery spin on the Bicycle after Work in the Sunshine. Just cruising around the County Down roads keeping the effort levels down to flush out the muscle fatigue.
This Morning saw the second annual running of the SQS Tech Challenge Cycle Sportive, a Sportive open to teams of five employees from Northern Ireland Technology Companies to raise funds for the NSPCC whilst competing against rival teams.
Last years Tech Challenge was based in Ballycastle, this year it was a change of venue with Ballygally on the Antrim Coast road the base. The Sportive is over an 80KM route with the challenge part of the Sportive being a timed, hill climb section about 10 miles in to the route. The route featured an easy start along the flat lands of the Antrim Coast road through Glenarm, the terrain might have been easy but the fast start before the legs had properly warmed up took most people by surprise.
A left turn took us in to the Carnlough to Broughshane road and the gradient started gradually increasing, before long the road markings announced a left turn in to Slane road and the start of the timed segment, the gradient took a big increase, the conversations stopped and the heavy breathing began. Once the gradient started to level out again there was a tight right hand bend that tightened more as you got in to it, one member of my team misread the bend and crashed out breaking his Saddle off and was unable to continue.
Timed section completed the pressure was off and so to was the sunshine as a very heavy but short-lived rainshower hit us. We continued on through Broughshane and on to the Food stop. Leaving the food stop the gradient kicked up hard again as we climbed up the Deerfin road and in to the Lisnahilt road winding our way around to Kilwaughter and back to Ballygally for a recovery snack and the prize presentations. Our team were the overall winners last year, this year we came in third, picking up the fastest lady and also a team prize for being the team that raised the most funds for the NSPCC. My time over the timed segment was the 12th quickest time out of the 47 cyclists on the day.
So Phoenix Cycling Club recently took the decision to start the Weekend Club spins half an hour earlier at 9am for the duration of the Summer. It means I have to get up early at the Weekends if I want to do a Club spin and with me up early every day of the Week for Work I opted again to give it a miss today.
Looking at the Weather forecast it was to be a Windy but Sunny Morning with some heavier Rain showers around. A bowl of Porridge with some fresh sweet Strawberries and Sultanas got me fuelled up and ready to ride.
I clipped in to the Pedals and set off along the Knock Carriageway and round to the Malone road with the intention of climbing up to Drumbo and trying to set a personal best time on the climb.
Setting out in to the strong headwind I was having to Work harder than expected and hoped I wasn’t depleting my energy too soon before the climb. Passing Lady Dixon Park and down to Drumbeg I was still felling good as I crossed the Hillhall road to start the climb up to Drumbo. I kept up a good tempo and changed in to a harder gear each time I felt my power output dropping, soon the climb was over and I achieved my personal best time to date 🙂
The route I had decided on for today kept off the main roads and around the narrower, quieter country lanes. The county down countryside was bathed in Sunshine but it was tough going fighting the strong headwind and I was burning up energy so quickly weighed up my options for a quick stop to refuel somewhere.
Passing through Boardmills and on to Ballynahinch I decided a little Cafe in Crossgar would be just the job. Leaving Ballynahinch I was no longer battling a headwind, instead I was travelling across the wind and my forward momentum picked up… or was it just the lure of a quick snack? I travelled on at pace and soon arrived in Crossgar.
Spoilt for choice of snack I opted for Scrambled Eggs and Bacon on Toast washed down with a big mug of Tea dining al fresco.
From Crossgar I continued on to Crossgar, Balloo, Killinchy, Whiterock, Comber and home on the main Dundonald road for a total of 52 miles only catching one very light Rain shower back in Belfast.
Rather than get up early to get ready and across town for the Saturday Phoenix Cycling Club spin I opted for an extra hour on the pillow followed by a leisurely Breakfast before venturing out on the Bicycle.
A handy spin across town to McConvey’s Bike Shop on the Ormeau road then back across town again for a short training session on the hills in Stormont Estate.
Finally the good spell of Weather broke and back to the Rain, I did not care I wanted out for a spin on the Bicycle.
I thought it was only light Rain but once I got out in it I realised it was a lot heavier than I first thought so I decided just to do a short loop but keep the pace high across to Holywood round by Kinnegar and back in the Airport road and up the Newtownards road home.
Another fine Sunny Evening, too good to sit in the House so I sat on the Saddle instead. Out along the Comber Greenway to Comber then across to Island Hill but then back across the Carriageway and up to Scrabo before descending down to Comber again.
Out the Ballydrain road as far as Castle Espie then up to Lisbane and back home via Comber and the Comber Greenway. Another 30 miles at a gentle pace just enjoying the Sunshine and Scenery.
I took a reasonably gentle spin out to the Lisbane / Ballygowan area tonight to watch a Cycle race hosted by Ards CC. It was a beaut Sunny Evening but a distinct chill in the air.
Being Bicycle mounted myself the trusty Nikon Dslr stayed at home and instead I used my little pocket Camera to try and capture a snap or two of the competitors.