After yesterdays long endurance Cycle today was a chance to chill out and enjoy life at a slower pace. I waited until almost noon before heading out on the Bicycle to allow the ambient temperature to warm up nicely.
I took a very easy effort Cycle up the Comber Greenway and out the Ballydrain road hugging the shore of Strangford Lough. It was another beautiful Sunny day as you can see from these short video clips I recorded on my Phone.
Has Spring finally sprung? Yesterday the strong Winds and Rain stopped, the Sun came out and the ambient air temperature crept upwards and the Weather forecast prediction was that it would last all Weekend long.
I planned to go for a long Bike ride to help work on endurance after a Winter of shorter mileage spins and short but intense sessions on the Hamster Wheel. The Morning started off Cold and Frosty but Sunny and as the Morning went on the temperature increased. It was one of those rare perfect Spring days, dry roads, warm sunshine and legs feeling fresh and strong after an easier Week of rest.
My route took me along the Knock Carriage way and Outer Ring to Shaw’s Bridge then I took the Lagan Towpath up to Drumbeg before rejoining the Road again, taking a short stop on Sandly Lane to meet an inquisitive furry friend.
On through Hilden to Lisburn then through Blaris, the Maze and Moira to Magheralin. From Magheralin it was back round to Lurgan then through Brownlow and in to Portadown. With 33 miles clocked up I had made better progress than anticipated so decided to throw in another short loop out the Garvaghy Road, Moy road, across the Loughall road in to Kilmore and Richhill then in to the country lanes back to Portadown and lunch at my Parents House and a well earned rest.
As often happens after a lengthy stop the legs were slow to start working again as I left Portadown by the Brackagh Moss road and made my way through Bleary. At last the Legs woke up and came back to life and the miles were coming easy again as I made my way to Waringstown and back to Magheralin and the minor roads around Moira back to the Maze and Lisburn and Drumbeg before taking the Lagan Towpath all the way back to Belfast’s Ormeau road.
A great day on the Bicycle in fantastic Weather and some signs of good fitness gains from all the Hamster Wheel sessions throughout January and February.
Yesterday was a short, fast, tempo spin incurring a bit of muscle fatigue so today it was time to rest and recover. A longer than usual lie in on the pillow, followed by a protein filled Breakfast and I was ready to get out on the Bicycle and loosen up the Leg Muscles with a very gentle recovery spin.
The Connswater Community Greenway recently announced that a new section of Greenway in Belfast had been opened up. The new section links up C.S. Lewis Square at Hollywood Arches to Victoria Park. Today I took a slow Cycle along it to capture it on video. The overnight and Morning Rain had cleared and the Sun came out.
The Weather forecast for the Weekend was less than favourable 🙁 but looking at the Satelite Weather Map there appeared to be an hour or two in the early Morning with no Rain 🙂
I set an early alarm clock, skipped Breakfast and was clipping in to the Pedals by 7am and set off along the Newtownards Road passing the Ulster Hospital through Dundonald and in to the Belfast Road and the first draggy climb of the Morning. The legs were feeling good so I kept up a good tempo and soon I was descending down the Brae to Kiltonga and in to Newtownards.
A short flatter bit of Road passing the Shopping Centre before another long draggy climb up the Scrabo road I decided to descend down the Moate road to the dual Carriageway and do a u-turn to climb back up the Moate road for a bit more hill training to test the legs. By now the first spits of Rain were falling.
Continuing on past Killynether Wood in to the Ballyhenry road the Rain was falling heavier now so I pulled in to put the Rain cape on before continuing along the Darragh Road in to Comber Town. At this point I could have cut my ride short and returned by the Comber Greenway but I decided to stick with it and was rewarded with no more Rain.
Exiting Comber on the Killyleagh road I turned in to the Tullynagee road, another long draggy uphill section. Despite having had no food yet the legs were still good, keeping a steady intensity I was soon at the end of the road going straight through the crossroads and on to Kilmood before turning right and the long stretch in to Ballygowan.
From Ballygowan I took the main road back to Comber and stayed on the main road back to Dundonald and home for a well earned Breakfast with 30 miles clocked up at 17.5mph average and a nice haul of personal best times.
It was a cold, damp, drizzly Morning as I loaded the Bicycle in to the Car to set off for Camlough in South Armagh for the annual Spring Sixty Cycling Sportive. Approaching Newry the Rain was a lot heavier and thoughts of returning home crept in to my head. Before leaving I loaded up on Porridge to give me some slow release energy for the 60KM ride that lay ahead.
Arriving at Carrickcruppen GAA Club the Rain was still falling, the Weather forecast had promised that it was to clear up to a Sunny Morning and Afternoon but it was looking grim as I got out of the Car and signed on for the event. Temperatures were low and I was now thinking I had underdressed having only brought thinner, lighter layers of Cycle Clothing with me.
Bang on cue the Rain did relent and the Sun started to breakthrough as we all rolled out to get the Cycle started. My plan was to start up at the front to avoid the hectic, early bunching as always seems to be the case with these mass starts. I knew I wouldn’t have the pace to stay with the front lads but at least starting at the front would afford me some clearer roads until the big peloton got more strung out.
Our route took us through Camlough around the Northern shore of Camlough Lake along the Newtown road and in to Mountain road, through Lislea and a lovely fast spin through Forkhill to Dundalk and round to Jenkinson where there was a scheduled food stop. If I stop for food or a Coffee Shop I generally struggle to get the legs going again for a few miles afterwards so today I elected not to stop even though I knew I would need an intake of carbs for the lumpier road ahead.
Had I realised the lumpier road ahead was also in to a very strong headwind I definitely would have stopped and carbed up but by now I had made my choice and had to live with the decision. The pull up through Ravensdale Forest, Dromad and Meigh and onwards seemed to drag on forever as the energy levels faded but the scenery helped to distract me from the voices in my head a little.
Soon all the climbing was over, the gradient turned negative and I enjoyed a very fast descent down in to Camlough and the short blast back to the club house to collect my finishers medal and more importantly the Chicken Curry provided by the host Camlough Cycling Club.
Earlier in the Week the Weather forecast looked promising for midweek, I thought about booking a day off from Work for Wednesday but did not book it and of course Wednesday was lovely bright sunshine all day long, though very windy.
This Morning came around and it was still lovely and dry, with a few sunny spells and light winds and it was all the excuse I needed to book a half day and get out on the Bicycle to clear the head. It finally felt like Spring had sprung. 🙂
I set off along the Comber Greenway for the first couple of miles then took a hilly route to Moneyreagh looping around the country lanes between Ballygowan and Saintfield then on to the lovely smooth tarmac of station road through Darragh Cross and on to Derryboye passing Clay Lakes then back in to the lanes with grass rather than white paint in the center of the road 🙂
Continuing on along the undulating Ringdufferin road and the scenic bays along the shore of Strangford Lough I was soon descending down in to Whiterock passing through Ballydorn and Castle Espie back to Comber. Back to Dundonald via the Comber Greenway and home to put the feet up with 40 miles on the clock.
Tonight was one of those all too rare, beaut evenings. The strong Wind of earlier in the day had relented, the Sky was full of pastel coloured shades, the roads were nice and dry. There was no way I was going to turn to the Hamster Wheel tonight, instead I turned to my Cannondale aka the Summer Bike and cycled away the stress of the day job.
I clipped in to the Pedals and was rolling along the Comber Greenway before I had even thought of a route plan. Before long I met one of the ladies from Phoenix Cycling Club Cycle commuting home from Ards so we both stopped for a quick chat, the dusk turning in to Night.
From the Greenway I cycled on through Comber town, up the Ballygowan road along the Hillsborough road keeping a good steady tempo and then descending down the Ballystockart road which was surprisingly clean for once, normally it is a mess due to the proximity of the Quarry. Leaving the Ballystockart road by the Hillhead road then back on to the street lit roads of Dundonald and home for a nice 18 mile spin door-to-door.
After lots of Hamster Wheel sessions indoors this Week I was keen to get back outside on the Bicycle this Weekend. Saturday was another washout but today’s forecast hinted at better Weather and indeed it was dry (but cold) when I set off this Morning.
It was a nice still Morning with none of the strong winds that have hammered us lately, the Sun was even shining 🙂
I set off along the Newtownards road, climbed up the Belfast Road in to the Ballybarnes road then descended down to Clandeboye crossing the main road and continuing along through Crawfordsburn and in to Bangor. The Sea was nice and calm and the Sun was rapidly being swallowed up by cloud.
Continuing on through Groomsport, Donaghadee and Millisle the original plan was to venture on to Portaferry but the clouds were thickening and a few spots of rain were already falling so at Ballywalter I swung inland to cross the Penninsula and start heading for home.
Passing Carrowdore and taking the Mount Stewart road the rain that had been threatening duly arrived. Heavy and sustained rain and nowhere to shelter I pressed on at pace until Newtownards stopping at a petrol station forecourt to sit out the worst of the rain before continuing up the long climb at Bradshaws Brae then descending down to Dundonald and home for 47 miles and a good recovery snack 🙂
After a horrible Wet and Windy Weekend, true to form it was Dry and Sunny for returning to Work today. Luckily it was still pleasant outside come parole time so I took the Summer Bike out for a short spin 🙂
The overhead Sky hinted at long Summer Evenings, alas the ambient temperature was still firmly rooted in Winter! 🙁
Rather than stay out a long time inhaling freezing air in to the Lungs I deliberately kept it short, a quick Cycle up the Greenway to Comber then up the Glen road, descending the Ballystockart road and back to Dundonald via the Hillhead and Newline roads for just 14 miles.
So last Night and today both I elected to spin the Hamster Wheel to get some Cycle training done rather than venture outside. Todays Weather whilst very wet was also quite mild so I could have gone out and been reasonably comfortable in the conditions but there was some professional cycling on the tellybox that I wanted to watch. Rather than record it and watch it back later I decided to watch it live and do an interval session on the turbo trainer.