Keeping an eye on the long range Weather forecast I saw today was to be a dry day with a little sunshine in the Morning so I booked it off and arranged a Bicycle ride with my mate Gavin who had also booked the day off Work.
Leaving Belfast with the Cannondale in the back of the Car and travelling up the M1 Motorway I couldn’t help feel sorry for all the ‘Rats‘ bumper-to-bumper in the opposite lane travelling in to Belfast on the daily Rat race. Before long I was pulling up at the parents house in Portadown and getting geared up for a day in the Saddle. The morning was cooler than I thought so I quickly pulled on arm and knee warmers, filled the jersey pockets with edibles and clipped in to the Pedals to Cycle over to Tandragee and meet up with Gavin.
Closing Gavin’s gate as we departed his House I somehow managed to cut my finger and for such a small cut it bled a lot. We descended down Tandragee main street and over to Scarva then swung a right to navigate around to Loughbrickland. My finger was still streaming blood so we pulled up in Loughbrickland at the village shop, washed the blood from my hand (and Bicycle) and bought some sticky plasters to cover the cut.
Leaving Loughbrickland we took the underpass beneath the A1 dual carriageway and out past Loughbrickland Lough through Ballynaskeagh to Rathfriland then in to the Lackan road to Lough Island Reavy Reservoir just outside Castlewellan. The plan was to stop in Castlewellan to fuel up for the Mountains but we both agreed it was to soon to carb up so continued on to Bryansford and then dropped down to Newcastle and on to the Harbour stopping at Olive Bizarre Cafe for poached eggs and Salmon and a brew.
Suitably refreshed we were back in the Saddle and pushing on at a brisk pace out the Coast road for a few miles and then a right turn took us in to Quarter road and the start of the long climb up head road all the way to Spelga dam. With the increasing gradient the pace naturally dropped, the chat quietened and the breathing got heavier as we climbed up through the beauty of the Kingdom of Mourne but we still took the time to stop for a couple of quick Photographs along the way and I even captured a couple of Gavin whilst still cycling along.
After all that climbing we got our reward of a hig speed descent from Spelga dam down round the S bends and in to Hilltown, we took a right turn in the town and headed over to Rathfriland and another sharp climb up in to the village square then took the Banbridge road. My lack of eating on the bike was catching up on me and the legs were down on power so I suggested another pit stop in Banbridge at my Grans to which Gavin was agreeable; he never refuses food!
Fuelled up again my energy levels were back to normal and the legs were pulling strong again and we were on our way taking the Ballygowan road almost as far as Loughbrickland then turned down in to Scarva and out the Gilford road then through Terryhoogan back to Tandragee. I said my goodbyes to Gavin and kept a strong pace up all the way back to Portadown for a well deserved shower and hot meal having clocked up 84 miles with over 5,000 feet of climbing.
Mondays do not get much better than this, it sure beats a Monday in the Office!