Tour of County Down

I set out this Morning with ambitions of Cycling my first imperial Century ride this Year with a route that would take me up to Newcastle, through Bryansford up over Spelga, back down to Kilkeel and home.

As I set off through Dundonald towards Comber I knew the whole way to Newcastle would be riding against the Wind so that I should hopefully have the benefit of a tailwind home. As it turns out the headwind was much stronger than forecast, forward progress was much much slower than anticipated even allowing for pacing myself for such a distance. From Dundonald to Comber, Sainfield and Crossgar I was having to Work much harder than I wanted to just to maintain some decent progress, the temperature was also much chillier than forecasted and these two factors combined really started to deplete the energy levels.

From Crosggar to Kilmore, Loughinisland and onwards to Clough I knew todays route would not be possible. When I cycled over to Dundrum I could not even seen the Mournes such was the low Cloud.

Did I really want to Cycle up there in poor visibility with a further drop in temperature for the elevation? No! I decided to abort on my route and navigate my way to Castlewellan instead.

Onwards towards Castlewellan and the Clouds had lifted a little and I briefly considered returning to my original route plan, but I was already tiring so decided to just aim for home.

A road closure sent me up a road I had never been on before and this scenic little spot as the Sun finally broke through the Clouds.

Finally in to Castlewellan and I decided to make a quick pit-stop to take on some food for energy, alas the Chippy I stopped at had no interest in Customer service and a full 8 minutes later without my order having been taken I turned and headed for home without having got any food.

Just as I was leaving Castlewellan I saw a few familiar faces from my Cycling Club who suggested I ride back with them but I declined as I knew the pace would be a little to slow for my liking. So off I descended at speed down Castlewellan hill and turned left in Annsborough through Drumaroad and Drumaness to Ballynahinch where I stopped to grab a quick, cheap Sandwich.

My traditional route back to Saintfield was closed for roadworks so I stuck to the main road back to Temple then Saintfield, Ballygowan and back to Dundonald for a 72 mile spin. I could have continued on and added on the extra miles to make up the century now that I had recovered a bit with the wind at my back on the homeward leg but I opted to call it quits.

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