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!
Home from Work and out on the Bicycle on a really pleasant Evening. The plan was just to get a decent few miles in before dark at a very steady pace but when I got out for a while I realised the legs were feeling good so I upped the effort and sustained that level all evening for a nice brisk spin and a good workout that left a nice burn in the leg muscles afterwards.
It was a dull evening but nice and mild and I kept mostly to the quieter roads looping from Dundonald to Moneyreagh through to Balloo then back to Dundonald via Castle Espie and Comber. Thirty Four miles on a School Night was a good return.
Out after Work on a grey but lovely warm Evening. Getting out later than planned and only realising after I had ventured out that I had forgot to turn on the immersion to heat Water for a Shower I decided to only do a short spin.
To make up for the lack of distance I needed to do some Work to get some training benefit out of the Cycle and so I tackled a local climb, the Ballyregan road, that to-date I had never ventured up as it is quite a long climb and has some very steep ramps. Upon completion of the climb I descended back down slowly to catch my breath and then turned around and climbed back up it a second time at a slightly faster pace.
Sunday Morning and I awoke earlier than planned, the forecast for later in the Morning was horrible so I ruled out the Club spin and instead went out early for a short, fast, spin before Breakfast. The Wind was very strong which made for very tough or easy Cycling depending on which direction you were trying to go. Not longer after returning home the Rain arrived, but I already had the feet up by then 🙂
Today saw my Phoenix Cycling Club host the popular Draynes Farm, Bob Crilly Classic road race. The popular race sees competitors do laps around a road circuit near Nutts Corner which then leads in to the iconic finish climbing all the way up over Dundrod to the top of Divis Mountain.
My mate Gavin was racing in this one today so I popped my little pocket camera in my Cycling Jersey pocket to go capture a few pics. Sadly a high-speed crash immediately in front of Gavin saw him and about a dozen others all crash out with Gavin coming off worst breaking his Collarbone.
Below is my edited footage from this years 2017 Tour de Connemara Sportive starting and finishing in Clifden, County Galway, Ireland. The day started damp and very windy and ended up warm and sunny but still windy.
I managed to get organised and out the Door in time for the Sunday Morning Phoenix Cycling Club spin 🙂 I was expecting to be quite fatigued from the Week in Connemara and the hard effort yesterday but the legs were good all day and whilst other struggled I found the pace very comfortable.
Our route took us out past Lady Dixon Park, Drumbeg and along the Sandy Lane then on to the Lagan Towpath to Lisburn. Leaving the Civic Centre by the main road the group took another section of the Lagan towpath much to my disgust so instead I opted to take the main road rather than weave around the narrow, broken-glass strewn towpath. Taking the main road past Lagan Valley Hospital and turning in to the Blaris road. I now wasn’t sure where the main group were so I continued up the Blaris road and could see no sign of them so double backed and found them just emerging on to the Blaris road, clearly the so called shortcut of the towpath is actually slower than the main road!
All regrouped it was off along the Blaris road then the bog road, round by Edenmore Golf Club and Donaghcloney to Lawrencetown and on to Gilford leaving by Hunters Hill road then bypassing Waringstown and in to Magheralin and a Coffee stop at the fat Gherkin in Moira.
Leaving Moira on Clarehill road I saw it was now after 12:30 and decided to say farewell to the group and head off solo at a faster pace in an attempt to get home in time for the start of the Isle of Man TT Superbike race. I pushed on at pace and made it home in time 🙂
Thursday was to be my last day in Clifden but the Weather turned damp and even Windier and I saw that the Weather forecast for Friday was much better. Rather than waste Friday’s good Weather travelling home I came home a day early and then got out on the Bicycle on Friday in warm sunshine for a very gentle recovery ride. No hard efforts at all, just letting the body recover from a hard, high mileage week and letting the resting heart rate come back down.
This Morning I checked my resting heart rate and saw I was good to go again so got out early on the Bicycle, sadly not early enough to join in on my Club spin so a solo spin it was. I deliberately set off in to the strong Southerly wind. I made my way along the Knock Carriageway to Forestside then up the long uphill drag of the Saintfield road to Carryduff holding good power and set a new personal best time for that section. On through Carryduff in to the Lisdoonan road and the Ravara road to Ballygowan then up the Saintfield road through Darragh Cross and Raffrey to Derryboy and then in to Killinchy and on to Whiterock and a quick cuppa at Daft Eddies.
All Morning the legs were feeling good, I was holding good steady power and managed to keep up a good pace despite the strong headwind, all the miles around Connemara seem to have boosted the fitness.
Another dry, sunny, warm and very windy day in Conamara. I packed the bike in to the Car and drove over to Leenan to take a Cycle along the Mayo side of Killary Fjord up along the Delphi fishery in to the Doolough Valley.