Today was one of those ‘character building’ days on the Bicycle. Many months ago I submitted my entry for the North Down Cycling Club’s (NDCC) annual Coastal challenge Cycling Sportive and today was the big day. A percentage of all entry fees were split three ways amongst The Samaritans, St Vincent de Paul and The Salvation Army.
We had drizzle and damp, slippery roads, then dry roads, then soaking wet roads with heavy rain, then dry roads with warm sunshine, then waterlogged roads with dangerously strong gusts of Wind trying their best to blow us across the road but somehow myself and a few other members of Castlereagh Cycling Club and our Forestside feeder club all got around safely and put in a strong performance.
The route started in Bangor and mostly kept to the coast as we travelled through Groomsport, Donaghadee, Millisle, Ballywalter, Ballyhalbert, Cloughey and on to Portaferry for a welcome Bowl of Stew, and a toilet break. Suitably refuelled we continued on our way to Kircubbin, Greyabbey along past Mount Stewart in to Newtownards then up a long drag of a hill past Conlig before returning to Bangor to strip off out of soaked clothing and collect our finishers T-shirt.
Despite a clash of dates with the much publicised Gran Fondo event the NDCC Coastal Challenge still attracted a large number of cyclist from various cycle clubs around the country with a conservative estimate of around 500+ cyclists taking to the beautiful County Down Peninsula.