A gorgeous warm Sunny Morning and it was forecasted to be a scorcher all day long, no rain 🙂 just some wind to contend with 🙁
I do a lot of my Cycling on the roads of County Down so today I decided to go North and explore County Antrim, in particular I wanted to ride the long draggy climb up Glenariff through Cargan. It is a road I have ridden twice before, good scenery, beautiful smooth tarmac and not too steep. I was hoping to also set a personal best time on the climb up to Glenariff but was thinking that that might be ambitious given the hilly route I had chosen to ride to get over there in the first place.
My route took me down the Comber Greenway in to Belfast then through the City, up through the New Lodge and the long drag up the Antrim road through Mallusk and a nice fast descent down in to Doagh and a chance to recover on the descent before the proper climbing began.
Leaving Doagh up through Burnside and Tildarg the roads were quiet, bathed in sunshine and shadow, a beaut Morning.
Leaving Tildarg and more climbing up the Colin Road, a long but manageable climb rewarded with great views across Antrim to Slemish Mountain, I stopped for a few quick Photographs before enjoying the long high speed descent down the other side of the Colin road.
This next image I captured looking back down from where I had just Cycled really depicts the up and down nature of the roads in the Antrim hills, a fitness test for sure.
Another nice long descent saw me arrive in Broughshane and an opportunity to take a quick stop and refill the Water bottles, hydration being crucial on such a warm day, a long mileage day and such hilly terrain.
Leaving Broughshane I now had six miles of new to me roads, rolling terrain, scenic views, empty roads, just me and the Bicycle and soon I was in Cargan climbing up to Glenariff. I kept a steady effort, a delicate balance of trying to go hard to achieve a new personal best time but conscious of not going too deep to conserve energy to get me the remaining 60 miles home on top of the 40 hilly miles I had already Cycled. Keeping a steady effort through the pedals I was enjoying the buttery smooth tarmac wishing all roads were made like this and before I knew it I had reached the peak and yes a new personal best time.
The last time I descended down off Glenariff to Waterfoot the visibility was poor due to a foggy, misty rain and the road was very busy so caution had to be exercised. Today had no such issues and I could really crack on at pace and enjoy the fast descent. 5.7 glorius miles of fast gradual downhill interspersed with a couple of tighter switchbacks passed by in 13 minutes at an average speed of 26 miles per hour 🙂
Reaching Waterfoot I was almost halfway in to my imperial Century Cycle and was now on the flat roads of the scenic Antrim Coast road, unfortunately I was frequently catching a cross-headwind from my left hand side but it was not quite strong enough to really slow down my progress. Through Waterfoot along the coast to Carnlough and another Photo opportunity.
Through Ballygalley, Larne, Glynne, Magheramourne I briefly thought about swinging left for a lap of Islandmagee too but quickly decided that would be a bridge too far so continued on Carrickfergus, Greenisland, Whiteabbey, Belfast and back to Dundonald with 101 miles clocked up. An epic day in the saddle.