Saturday Morning 06:00 hours, time to start preppin for the Phoenix Cycling Club group ride. I turned on the Cooker to Cook some Eggs but when I opened the Fridge there were none arggghhhh! A Bowl of Porridge was the substitute choice as I analysed my Cycle training data on my Laptop.
The Weather forecast promised lots of Sunshine and a very warm day. It was very overcast as I clipped in to the Pedals and set off along the Knock Carriageway for the House of Sport meeting point but already it was very very warm and muggy.
I just about made it over to the meeting point for the earlier Summer only starting time of 9am and soon we were in our various groups and rolling along the Malone road through Drumbeg, up the Sandy Lane to Hilden and in to Lisburn.
Taking the traditional Phoenix route up the Ballynahinch road through Legacurry, past the Pheasant and on to Annahilt. Climbing a few short steep Bergs around Kinallen then an even lumpier road across to Kilkinamurry saw the conversations stop and the heavy breathing intensify as the sharp gradients took their toll.
I was having a rare good day on the Hills keeping in touch with the strongest riders in the group, whilst the weaker rides dropped back unable to sustain the effort. Eventually the terrain relented and we pulled in at the side of the road to allow the stragglers to catch up and set off again as a whole group.
From Kilkinamurry the Sun finally came out and we meandered our way through the lanes to Katesbridge then across to Loughbrickland and a short stop at the village Shop to top up the Water Bottles and visit the public Lavatory. We took the Scarva road out of Loughbrickland all the way to Scarva and on through Gilford, Lawrencetown and Blackskull to the Ballygowan road. The main group turning off in the direction of Lisburn with myself and one other going straight on through Hillsborough towards Carryduff and back home with empty water bottles and soaked in sweat ready for a good shower.
A scorcher of a day on the Bicycle with plenty of hills to leave the Legs burning and a door-to-door total of 75 miles clocked up. This however was nothing in comparison to a group of about a dozen from my Club who on the longest day completed their now annual 200 mile ride having departed the House of Sport at 5am this Morning!