The roads were still wet from very heavy overnight rain as I clipped in to the pedals and set off down the Knock road for the House of Sport in beautiful Sunshine for the Weekend Phoenix CC club spin having opted out of yesterdays club spin in favour of more time on the Pillow.
There were just over 20 of us in my group as we rolled out from the House of Sport and down the Malone Road with a loose plan of hitting more than a few hills to Castlewellan and back as a lot of the group have entered the Gran Fondo in a fortnight and wanted a tough training ride. From the Malone Road passing Drumbeg we took the Sandy Lane and then hopped on to the Lagan towpath for the short spin up to Lisburn Civic Centre and then back on to the proper roads to Legacurry, Annahilt and Ballykeel. From there we hit Kinallen went along the Gall Bog road to Ballela and Katesbridge, Moneyslane, Ballyward up round the horseshoe bend and down in to Castlewellan for a well deserved stop at the Urban Coffee shop.
Refuelled and Watered we enjoyed the fast descent of Castlewellan before swinging left and the long uphill drag of Slieve Croob descending in to Finnis and Dromara then a right turn shooting over to Ballynahinch then Saintfield and back to Belfast for a total of 77.5 miles and over 5,000 feet of ascent all in beautiful sunshine and County Down looking her finest.