Just what sort of crazy people Cycle from London all the way to Edinburgh…. and back again? Audaxers thats who.

Here is what Wikipedia defines Audaxing as Audax is a cycling sport in which participants attempt to cycle long distances within a pre-defined time limit. Audax is a non-competitive sport: success in an event is measured by its completion. Audax has its origins in Italian endurance sports of the late nineteenth century, and the rules were formalised in France in the early twentieth century. In the present day, there are two forms of Audax: the original group-riding style, Euraudax, governed by Unions des Audax, and the free-paced (allure libre) style usually known as Randonneuring, governed by Audax Club Parisien. The original form is mostly popular in France, but also in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Randonneuring is popular in many countries including France, Great Britain, Singapore, Australia, Canada, the USA and China.

I have been reading only Girl in the Clubs blog posts about her mental and physical battles of taking part in the London-Edinburgh-London surviving on just a couple of hours of sleep at a time, Cycling through the Night and the worst of the British Weather.

You can read her account of the challenge that is London-Edinburgh-London here in Part one, Part two, Part three, Part four, Part Five

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Killyleagh Picnic

In stark contrast to yesterday today was bright Sunshine and mostly dry roads 🙂 but the strong wind was still hanging around 🙁

I set off nice and easy along the Comber Greenway to Comber then increased the pace a little going out the Ballydrain road and up in to Lisbane. At this point I noticed some of the data training metrics on my Cycle Computer were reading Sky high and quite obviously incorrect so I pulled in, stopped recording the ride and started a new ride.

Leaving Kilmood on the Ballybunden road the data was still displaying incorrectly so I continued along Florida road, Raffrey road through Derryboye passing Cleagh Lough through Shrigley and in to Killyleagh all the time pondering why the data was so wildly incorrect.

At Killyleagh I stopped at Picnic for a warm brew and a slice of Cake and switched the Computer off. The age old test of switching something electronic off and on again cured it and I was all set for the Cycle home.

My route home took me through Shrigley and a quick stop to fix a dropped Chain then in to Derryboye, Raffrey and Darragh Cross then from Saintfield I opted for the main road all the way back to Belfast through Carryduff keeping up a brisk pace. A lovely Morning for a decent spin and the Rain came on five minutes after I got back home 🙂

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Collecting the Car

With the Weather forecast predicting Rain to come in early to mid-Morning and stay all day I set off in the dry to collect my Car hoping to get a dry spin over. I had barely made it down in to Belfast before I felt the first spots of Rain against my skin.

Keeping a brisk pace up through Duncrue to the Loughshore Cycle path the Rain got steadily heavier and by the time I reached Gideons Green it was time to reach in to the Jersey pocket and grab the Rain jacket. Up the Doagh road through Monkstown and up the long climb of the Knockagh road then the Slievetrue road it was properly soaking wet. The winter Bike and mudguards would have been a much better option but I was happy enough.

A few more soaking wet miles and I’d arrived back at the Garage but my Car was out on a test drive, along with the bag of dry clothes in the boot so I had no option but to stand around with the water dripping out of me. Things could always be worse 🙂

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Car-less and carefree

That time of Year again where I leave my Car with a Garage for its annual pre-mot once-over. I drove over to Ballynure with my Summer Bike in the back of the Car and then cycled home again.

My route home was in to Gleno, through Beltoy and Eden and on to Carrickfergus, Jordanstown, Greenisland, Whiteabbey and back to Belfast via Duncrue.

Back in to Belfast and even though it was Windy it was quite a pleasant Sunny day so I decided to stay out and cycle around Victoria Park then along the Connswater river Greenway section to Orangefield PArk and home.

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The Hog Run

Sunday Morning, time to remove the front Wheel from the Bicycle, load it, the Bike and a few other bits n bobs in to the Car and set off for Camlough in South Armagh for the Hog Run Sportive.

The day dawned dry and Sunny and the forecast was mostly for more of the same. I arrived in Camlough with plenty of time to spare allowing me to get through registration quickly and have time to get organised.

The Hog was already sizzling away nicely in prep for our return.

Still with time on my hands I decided to take a short ride on the Bicycle to loosen up the Legs and get the Muscles ready for some harder work to come when the Sportive got underway.

Following a safety briefing we rolled out on to the Camlough road for a controlled mass start behind the lead Marshal’s Car. Soon the Car pulled off and we were underway proper with a fast start along Millvale road and the rolling Kingsmill road through Whitecross, Glenanne, and the long climb up Mowhan but eventually the graident relented and we continued on to Newtownhamilton the first Water stop which I decided to pass on knowing I had enough with me to keep me going to the halfway stop.

From Newtownhamilton it was a faster effort along the Dundalk road, the Miles passing by with relative ease and before long the halfway stop at Silverbridge and the chance to take on more water, a quick snack of Biscuits and a nature stop.

Leaving Silverbridge I finally found myself in a group of Cyclists of similar ability and we all worked well taking our turns on the front to combat the headwind reaching Dundalk and the turn for home passing through Thistle Cross and Ravensdale which was all gentle terrain.

Leaving Ravensdale it was back on to the minor roads again climbing up through Ravensdale Forest trying to avoid the deep potholes, through Dromad in to the Lower Foughill road, straight through Meigh crossroads still climbing upwards and overlooking Camlough Lake before the fast descent back down to the Newry road and back to base for our Medals and recovery Meal of Roast Hog, various Pastas and Salads. As ever an excellent Sportive superbly Marshalled keeping us all safe and some good Money raised for Charity.

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Solo Saturday

Saturday Morning and after a longer lie on the Pillow than normal left me too late to go on the Club spin, so a solo Cycle was the order of the day.

Bar the Wind it was a near perfect Morning to get out in to the dry lanes and get a few miles in. I initially started off cruising along the Comber Greenway but then turned in to New Line then the Ballyrussell and Eden roads to come out on to the Gransha road down past La Mon Hotel and in to Lisleen road across to Moneyreagh.

Rather than take the short spin down the main road to Ballygowan I took a loop around the Tullyhubert, Monlough and Ravara road to Ballygowan then out on to the Saintfield road for a bit before taking the Carsonstown road across to the Killyleagh road for the spin through Darragh Cross and down to Derryboye Crossroads.

Along the Derryboye road to Balloo then through Killinchy to Whiterock and around the Strangford Lough Coast to Sketrick Island for a lunch stop at Daft Eddies. As ever there were numerous Cycling Clubs stopping in to refuel.

Fed and Watered I was on my way again taking the Ballydrain road past Castle Espie and in to Comber then sticking to the main Dundonald road as far as the Billy McNeill playing fields before joining the Comber Greenway as I wanted to see the newly installed, public facilities for Bicycle repairs.

39 miles accumulated and just home in time before the promised Rain rolled in again.

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Windy Spin

Finally back on the Bicycle after a Week due to an enforced break from illness and then a voluntary break from days of torrential thunderous Monsoon downpours. It was great to get back out again even with a very strong Wind to do battle with.

I took the main road from Dundonald to Comber keeping up a fast tempo then out the Ballydrain road to Castle Espie before turning inland again up the Espie road then back down Quarry road and the Ringneill road where I stopped to take in the view and watch the fish feeding in the shallows.

A direct hit home via the Ballydrain road to Comber and then the Comber Greenway for 24 miles on a pleasant evening.

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Empty Legs

Sometimes you are the Hammer, sometimes you are the Nail. Today I was the Nail, the legs were lacking, missing in action!

I met Andreea in the usual place and we set off down the Comber Greenway to the Beersbridge road, through the Short Strand and out through the Duncrue harbour estate to then take the Loughshore path up to Gideons Green.

Along the Doagh road through Monkstown and then the long, twisting climb up the Knockagh road. The legs were empty and the climbing speed was slow, even slower than normal. Reaching the top the climbing continued up the Slievetru road then winding our way across to Gleno. The B149 was next through Beltoy and then a nice fast downhill section back on to the Larne road at Eden and onwards to Carrickfergus and a short stop in the warm, sunshine to grab a quick pic with my Phone.

Keeping to the main road until Jordanstown where we decided to risk the Loughshore path which was extremely busy with Pedestrians and Dogs then back to Belfast through Duncrue again. Another enjoyable 46 miles despite the legs not being in top form.

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Gentle spin

This Morning I set off for the House of Sport to join the Weekend Saturday Morning, Phoenix CC, Club spin. The intention was to ride as easy as possible all Morning to save energy to get out again on Sunday Morning.

This was one of those very, very rare Mornings where the group did not set off along the Malone road in the direction of Lisburn instead it was along the outer ring to Belvoir then briefly on to the Hill Hall road before swinging left in to the long gradual climb of the Ballycoan road. Despite being boxed in and having to ride at the group pace I felt I could have climbed a little quicker had I been on my own, regardless a personal best time flashed up on my Cycle computer 🙂

Crossing the Mealough road and in to the Leverogue road then on to the Comber road down in to Carryduff. The pace was slower than I personally wanted and thoughts of leaving the group and going solo entered my head but I remained with the group. We continued on along the quieter lanes and on to Ballgowan bringing the group to a halt to decide what people wanted to do. Some where down for riding the Tour of Tyrone tomorrow so they opted out early to find a Coffee Shop. The remainder continued on taking the Manse road and then the Killyleagh road to Derryboye where Barbara announced her legs were struggling and she was going to depart alone for Lisburn.

That was my excuse to leave the group and with it being a pleasant Morning I opted to accompany Barbara back to Lisburn via Crossgar and Ballynahinch.

A direct spin home from Lisburn down the Lagan Towpath to Hilden then Sandy Lane to Drumbeg and up past Lady Dixon Park through Stranmillis, along the Ormeau embankment and home for an easy 55 miles.

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Sunset pootle

A lovely Summers Evening and a chance to get out on the Bicycle for a very short, very low effort Cycle down the Comber Greenway to Holywood Arches over the Dee Street Bridge out the Airport road around to Holywood and watch the Sun set at the end of the day before returning back the same way.

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