Saturday, 15 August 2015
Posted on 13:08 by mikem
Mixed fortunes for Castlereagh riders at the John Beggs Memorial today. Andrew had a brilliant result with second in the A4 race which anyone riding with him recently knows, is highly deserved, and unfortunately stitches for Jeff after a nasty crash at the finish resulting in a chainring slashing his calf.
Speedy recovery to Jeff and congratulations again to Andrew!
Thanks to Derek for the photos.
Posted on 13:03 by mikem
A superb day out at the Billy Kerr Sportive starting in Ballymena with 8 intrepid Castlereagh members, the roll call was Comrade, Sean, Stuart, Sam, Mike, Philip, Brian McC and myself Mark.
The day got off to a great start with pancakes, scones, tea and coffee served before we left, the route was was fairly straight forward and quick up to Ballycastle for the first of three food stops. It was then over the mountain bypassing Cushendun following the coast road into Glenarm with the 19degree climb up Town Brae and then climbing over the Feystown Road into Ballygally. Turning back up the coast road into Carnlough then turning with a 4 mile climb over the mountain into Ballymena. A good feed awaited us in the bar, a great day out with great company.
Posted on 12:50 by mikem
With a big contingent riding the Billy Kerr we weren't expecting a huge turnout today. Add to that it being Nicky's first club run, Broke Back's (formerly Spartacus) first club ride in ages and I was a pint short of blood, we weren't looking to set the road alight.
Four of us rode across to Holywood, then up Creightons Green Road. My usual rush of blood up the climb was even more short lived than normal leaving Ronan and Broke Back to fight it out. We dropped down towards the George, then into Ards via Mountain Rd. Up the front of Scrabo as far as the car park, then back down to coffee in Comber.
Keeping it classy, we dined Al fresco at the Georgian where I re enacted my 70's childhood trying to lure away the wasps with jam. After lovely food and coffee we saddled up again and headed out to Lisbane. Right and across to Ballygowan, before nipping into the lanes and over to the Clontnacally Rd.
Nicky did great on his first ride and seemed to enjoy it. Nothing too strenuous for the rest of us and nice to get out in a bit of sunshine.
Wednesday, 12 August 2015
Posted on 14:29 by mikem
Tonight was a classic of the "Wednesday Social" variety. It's terrible to admit the nights are getting shorter, but we still managed 1hr 45mins and a lemonade stop. We started by nipping through the hospital, then up Glencregagh. I threw in a lap of the Lisnabreeny Loop just to introduce it to everyone as a handy training spot, then headed into the wilds skimming Moneyreagh, Comber and Ballygowan before popping out of the Manse Rd just above the Ivanhoe - coincidence?
Hard luck to Mark for just missing out on a debut 30's, no shame in being beaten by Digger! Good fun, good company and good beer.
Posted on 13:44 by mikem
Thanks to Mark for a report and photos of today's Lite run. An example of the "route decided by the riders that turn up" mantra.
With all the Big Guns racing around the Hills of Dromara and further afield it by default left only a Lite run this morning, we had eight to start, Sam, Philip, Derek, Mike, Neil, Stewart, New Tony and myself Mark. With a very light wind this morning the plan was to head to Downpatrick and loop around Clough through Ballynahinch to home, that was the plan!
We had a fairly direct route to Downpatrick, on our way Philip had a fall out with Linda McCartney, after which he knew to stick to the big ring. Arriving into Downpatrick someone called FERRY, seemed like a good idea, so we swung left and right towards Strangford where we had a near miss with two Dublin coaches, we had missed the ferry by a couple of minutes to decided to have coffee in the Pantry in Strangford, good coffee and great service. We made the 12 o'clock ferry into Portaferry where our route went a bit scenic, we followed the coast path until we met the main Portaferry road and quickly turned right to get off the main road, the plan was to cut right through the middle towards Carrowdore but we missed a couple of turns and ended up touring the coast through Cloughy and Portavogie eventually turning inland to Greyabbey towards Ards, unfortunately Sams sugar levels dropped quite a bit near Ards and we had to stop to call for the team car and a tin of coke.
A great day out apart from Sam's misfortune, we done well by the weather and around 110K completed. Looking forward to Ballymena next Saturday.
Posted on 13:39 by mikem
Hugely proud of our wee club today after a brilliant turn out at the Dromara Hilly, one of the oldest and toughest sportives on the calendar. Even more impressive were the smiles, especially from the four first timers on the long route and the three brave first timers taking on the 85k route which takes on three of the hardest climbs in Northern Ireland!
Hilly veterans know it isn't the big name hills that get you, it's the mass of small hills and drags between them which make recovery impossible. The seven of us tackling the 125k hit the Cornmill with the front 30 riders, mainly as a tactic to keep safe and avoid the fallers. Once over that we split a bit, but Nitemare was on angelic form and did a great job of guiding the strong men round the twisting route.
In Leitrim we regrouped and once fed, hit the road again with a new friend Liam. We stuck together until Fofanny School Rd, but were within sight of each other over Spelga. Comrade was on a flyer, but a poorly timed puncture meant me and then Sean were able to catch him. They were loving the route in that twisted kinda suffering way cyclists have and proved the competitive spirit was still strong when we lit it up on the run in.
Nitemare and the Beast rode home, while the rest of us ate our pasta and took the lazy (smart) option to get home, but not before checking up with Melissa, Mary and David who had tackled the 85k - it follows the same route to Leitrim tackling the Cornmill, Dree Hill and Windy Gap. Huge respect to them for finishing such a tough event - really well done!
Finally a big thanks to Dromara Cycling Club. The helpers, marshals, motorbike outriders, photographers and facilities were all brilliant - a great example of a club sportive done to a really high level. Hopefully we'll see some of the same faces (and asses) at the Tour of the Glens in three weeks.
Posted on 13:28 by mikem
For a rare nice day it was a surprise to only have four riders. Three of us were signed up for the Dromara Hilly so the plan was to not use up too many biscuits. The route wiggled around our regular turf taking in Saintfield, Darragh Cross and Crossgar, before swinging across to Shrigley. Hostilities broke out on the rollers, but the threat of the War Crimes court in The Hague and a general reminder of the Geneva Convention brought peace.
Up towards Clay Rd then back on to the coast and round to Wacky Daves (long story). I think Lanterne was playing some sort of fruit machine app on his phone and I think he kept hitting the jackpot - either that or time to silence the heart rate monitor....
A quick coffee and a rendition of "Age of Aquarius" from Nitemare complete with dancing, then round the coast and back home via Lisbane and Ballygowan. Nothing too strenuous, but enough to count as training. Lovely to get out in the sunshine.
Monday, 3 August 2015
Posted on 07:32 by mikem
Today I got to live out a fantasy and ride to The Moy. I don't know why I wanted to, it just kinda appealed to go west, have coffee and come home - they even served flat whites!!!!
Seven people ignored the weather forecast and showed up at Forster Greens. Three opting for the Lite option and three more trusting me to guide them on a longer run. Sam had planned a Lite run via Lisburn, so I suggested we'd take them there steady, then do our own thing - somewhere along the way Mark W caught us (which shows we really were going steady - no offence Mark) making it four four.
I had half a plan to go to Scarva, but looking around I saw we had four pretty strong engines, local Tyrone knowledge and improving weather, so I floated my Moy fantasy. With no objections, we went on to Moira, then ducked into the Lanes after Magheralin and followed the Bun Run traditional route as far as Bleary. From there we used my spidey sense and the odd check of Strava to get us across the Bann at Portadown and out the Loughgall Rd. From Loughgall we swung right and through Charlestown to the promised land - The Moy Larder.
Comrade Crossdresser and Sean (who still hasn't done anything stupid enough to warrant a nickname) explained the local ways. The bacon soda and flat white was everything I dreamt, so refuelled we pointed home. Sean knew a bridge was out, so we headed North towards the motorway, then back into Portadown fighting a crosswind. We then retraced our way back to Moira for a quick shop stop. The Beast had already added Brazilian Booty to his list of nicknames and by getting changed in a phone box can now add Superman.
With a few tired legs we took Route 9 across to Down Royal, but still high on endorphins I swung right and into Culcavey, before leading the way home through Ravarnet and Carryduff. A long day, but one of the most enjoyable in a long time. Apart from a 3 mile session into The Moy, there was never more than 6 feet between us, everyone worked for the good of the group and the craic was great. Combine that with new roads and another tick on the bucket list, what more could you want!
Posted on 07:25 by mikem
Today's report is courtesy of Nitemare. I had places to see and people to do, so I swung home early with Mark and Comrade. I think I'm now Endorphin Boy - just because I was in a good mood!
Eight left … four returned!!
We headed southwards with intentions of Downpatrick via the lanes and by-ways of Co. Down … three left early including “Endorphin Boy” who had been out since dawn …
However, with sun shining and the promise of “Summer” reverting back to normal tomorrow we (I) decided to change tact and we headed across to Castlewellan and Urban Coffee via some “lumpier” (scenic) roads including revisiting the Gran Fondo drag into Castlewellan …
Sean soon had the 1000 yard stare and after coffee we began the climb of Kilnhill Road to the Slieve Croob he was gone … service revolver in hand! That left 4 intrepid pedallers to make use of the tailwind via Dromara and Annahilt … nice of me to give them a recce of next week’s Hilly … see me I’m ALL heart!
With rain looming and blackening skies the last miles soon rattled past … we broke at Ballymacbrennan and I bimbled over the Tullyard home while Retro led the charge back to base!!