Sunny Slieve Croob

What a day for a Bike ride, ‘Wall-toWall’ Sunshine, dry roads and not too bad winds, mostly 🙂

I decided that County Down would be the destination and specifically an ascent of Slieve Croob from the Castlewellan side. I had ridden this road previously on a Phoenix Cycling Club group ride one Weekend but with the constraints of a Club spin I wasn’t able to stop to capture a pic or two 🙁 and today was the day to put that right. 🙂

My chosen route started off easy along the flat of the Comber Greenway before the long draggy climb up to Ballygowan then in to the Carrickmannon road to Raffrey and a right turn at the Derryboye crossroads to take me in to Crossgar. I resisted the temptation to find an open Coffee shop and pushed on to Kilmore and Loughinisland emerging out at Seaforde bypassing Clough to come out on to the Ardnabannon road where I stopped for a couple of Photographs and a little detour round Ballylough.

Descending down the Hill to Annsborough and a right turn in to Ballylough road I could see Slieve Croob in front of me and the climbing began. Turning left in to Clonvaraghan road the gradient began to kick up in places and I realised my gear indexing was out as I was unable to select my ‘Granny’ gear.

Without my easiest climbing gear I continued on but the scenic vistas were too good not to make frequent stops for a Photograph.

Eventually I summitted the climb and the views over Finnis, Dromara and beyond were great and it was time to enjoy the high speed descent back down to Dromara.

High speed, deep section Carbon Wheels and a strong crosswind is never a good combination and today the sidewind caught my Wheels and put me in to a high speed wobble. The wobble got worse and I started scanning the roadside verges to find a soft landing spot for an emergency ejection, but I gripped the top tube hard with my knees, relaxed my grip on the bars and was able to bring the speed wobble back under control, unscathed, much to my relief as cycling clothing is not very protective against rough tarmac!

The rest of the cycle home through Dromara, Ballynahinch, Saintfield, Ballygowan, Comber and along the Comber Greenway was without drama. Another great day on the Bicycle and is there a nicer wee Country when the Sun puts in an appearance?

68 miles clocked up today with a lot of climbing and 55 miles yesterday and the legs have felt pretty good both days, all the Winter training sessions on the Hamster Wheel are now being rewarded with a bit of form.

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