Saturday Morning and time for another group ride with my Cycling Club, as usual I soloed over to the meeting point at the House of Sport, a seven Mile ride to warm the legs muscles up and get them firing ready for what lay ahead.
More often than not I elect to Cycle with the B2 group but for about a year now I have been frustrated that that group rides too slow for me on the flat roads, rides far too slow for me on the downhills (yes I love a good fast descent) and even more frustratingly they are generally faster than me on the uphills. So today I decided to ride with the next group up, the B1s. Quite a significant step up in average speed, the ride leader assured me there would only be a couple of hills (he lied!) as I knew I had no chance of riding the hills at the pace this lot manage.
I have ridden with the B1s before and indeed the group above that again the A group and knew what to expect, a tough day in the saddle. 🙂
It would not be Phoenix Cycling Club if we did not start off on the much used traditional route up through Drumbeg to Lisburn then up through Legacurry and Annahilt and onwards to Kinallen. Sometimes I think this is the only way out of Belfast that Phoenix group leaders know. So far so good I was feeling comfortable with the pace and staying in the bunch taking my turn at the front when required.
Leaving Kinallen we went towards Kilkinamurry to Katesbridge, lumpy terrain, my nemesis! As expected I was spat out the back of the group unable to ascend at their speed but there were others not great at climbing either so we all regouped a couple of times along the way. But how much had the climbing taken out of my energy reserves? Foolishly I had also neglected to keep eating so I knew there was a chance that I might get dropped altogether somewhere along the route.
We left Katesbridge and had flatter roads now so the speed of the group inevitably lifted, thankfully I had no trouble riding at this higher pace and soon we were at the Corbet Lake where a quick stop was called for. I used the break to grab an energy bar to try and make up for my under-fuelling of earlier, but knowing all too well that playing catchup never works.
We continued on to Banbridge, Lenaderg, Donaghcloney and Magheralin with Brian continuing to crack the whip to ensure the group kept the speed up, utilising what was now a tailwind and I was still right in there feeling comfortable at the speed.
A few more rolling hills across to Culcavy saw me starting to find it harder to keep in the group paying for my earlier fuelling mistakes and just on the outskirts of Lisburn the metaphorical elastic snapped completely and I lost touch with the group letting too big a gap open up to close by myself, so I decided to just Cycle back to Belfast alone enjoy the warm sunshine, tired but happy.