Cold temperatures and steady, light rain 🙁 greeted me as I clipped in to the Pedals and set off for a long day in the Saddle, the goal… to chalk off my first imperial Century Cycle of twenty seventeen. One of the keys to being able to complete a long bike ride is to get your pacing right, basically dial the effort levels back a notch and don’t push as hard on the Pedals as compared to how you would for a shorter distance. I took the first couple of miles easy up the Comber Greenway.
Leaving Dundonald I realised the roads were less busy than I expected due to the Easter Monday public holiday so rather than continue on up the Greenway to Comber I took the main road instead, with the inevitable increase in pace. Leaving Comber on the Ballygowan road I put the Rain Jacket on rather than get soaked so early in to a long Cycle. Continuing on through Ballygowan, up to Saintfield and staying on the main road to Crossgar the Rain had now stopped so time to
pack stuff the rain jacket back in to a jersey pocket.
From Crossgar it was on through Kilmore to Loughinisland and the main road to Seaforde, the Sun was now breaking through the Clouds and time for the first Photo opportunity of the day when I came across a field of bright Yellow.
Leaving Seaforde I was soon through Clough and passing through Dundrum at a good pace all the way past Murlough and on in to Newcastle which was bumper-to-bumper with traffic. My pacing was higher than I intended so I stopped at the Harbour for a little pick me up to top up the Sugar levels before climbing up the Mournes.
No sooner was I on the road again and the sound of a siren came blasting past me as the Mountain Rescue responder came whizzing past, an ominous sign of what lay ahead? Out along the coastal road in the direction of Annalong and I could see the tops of the Mountains where shrouded in Clouds, would visibility be an issue for me Cycling up over Spelga?
Turning off the main road in to Quarter road leading on to Head road I could see that visibilty would be fine.
Passing the Silent Valley and continuing on the views down over attical were worthy of another quick Photographic stop, shame the phone camera doesn’t do it justice.
The only way was up, a long relentless drag towards Spelga reservoir with a few steeper kicks right at the end and all in to a headwind.
By now the legs were tiring, the energy levels dropping and thoughts turned to Castlewellan for a fuel stop as I enjoyed the fast descent past Fofany back to the main road then across to Kilcoo and the main road in to Castlewellan passing Lough Island Reavy Reservoir. A great Burrito and four mugs of Tea revived me ready for the homeward spin safe in the knowledge that the worst of the climbing was now behind me.
Descending down the Hill from Castlewellan and left in to Lough road I plotted a route for Drumaroad then Spa, Ballynahinch, Saintfield, Ballygowan and Comber. By the time I was close to home I had 92 miles clocked up so I done a few short loops close to home to notch up the Century. 🙂