Saturday, 29 November 2014

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Surprisingly just Butch and Sundance out today, I take it the wet roads and draw of Christmas shopping kept the rest at bay. I had a vague memory, from late on during wedding celebrations in Edinburgh last weekend, of a recommended cafe in Waringstown. I was a little vague on the details, but I knew a bridesmaid wouldn't lie to me....

Butch plotted a course taking us through Purdysburn, Drumbo,... Hillsborough, Blackscull, Donaghcloney and then via Hall Road to Waringstown. There we called at the Post House Cafe and found its under new ownership, so it is the right place. It was a great find and a nice alternative to the Killyleagh/Balloo/White Rocks routes and somewhere we'll be back.

Coming out of the cafe I was half expecting to be "greeted" by 500 Mexican soldiers, but instead we had a chat with one of Butch's work colleagues. Alive, we took Mill Rd and New Forge Rd towards Magheralin, then on to Orange Lane. I wasn't paying a lot of attention and seeing as it was just us desperadoes, I let Butch drag us a bit further away from home, cutting back via Culcavey and Ravarnet.

After keeping it nice and steady all day, we took in the climbs of Lisnoe Rd and Gardners Road to get the heart rates up, although two pretty bad run-ins with dogs lifted them even higher. Butch nearly lost an ankle and I braced for a Rottweiler impact at one stage.... Another fun day out and quality winter training. It was a little further than usual for a Saturday, but worth it.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Nitemares sufferfest

Bergmeister was off partying this weekend so its a short write up. 7 riders departed from Forster Greens along some cold and icy roads with Nightmare leading the way. Luckily for some underdressed riders the sun quickly appeared as we headed for Castlewellan. 5 riders had a quick stop at Urban Coffee on main street in Castlewellan for buns and coffee while 2 eejits did a circuit of Castlewellan. We regrouped after 30 mins and Nightmare led us back to Belfast along the hilliest route he could possibly think of! We suffered together along the roads to Dromara and then back to Carryduff. All in all a great day with about 100kms done in 4 hours, well done to everyone for making it round!

Strava link:

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Two loners

Just two lonely souls out making the most of the weather. 

Just Joe and myself at the bus stop today. Joe hasn't been out for a while (drinking got in the way) by his own admission he was out to pay penance for his sins, I was just off nights so looking for an easy enough spin. Sunny skies and very little wind we were spoilt for route choice.
I called coffee stop in Comber. So off we headed on a route avoiding hopefully the worst of yesterday's puddles.

The plan was a route up Carryduff, branching off towards Saintfield then ducking onto some of the smaller country lanes to test the waters excuse the pun!!

Popping out at Saintfield the smaller lanes weren't as bad as expected so we cut across towards Listooder heading in the general direction of Crossgar. We ended up in Kilmore,then straight through the roundabout Crossgar and out towards Derryboye. Baloo was next on the hit list and buy this time Joe was starting to feel his absence a little. I opted to stay on the main road which would deliver us safely into Comber. Today's coffee stop, seen us living it up at the Georgian house, who ever said Castlereagh cant do classy?!

Over coffee and scones a route was devised homewards via Scrabo and the Castlereagh hills. The Berg has a saying "bend em don't break em" Joe was about to find out the true meaning of the term.

We took it at steady pace homewards, into ards then left up towards the back of Scrabo and a few twists and turns onto the Comber Road. Being the good sport that he is Joe was up for the tough slog home over Peartree Road then the Gransha Road.
Through the Braniel and down the Ballygowan Road seen is home with roughly 70km in the legs.

Great riding today for Joe despite his long absence. It's amazing the motivation a free jersey gives you, eh Joe !!

Apologies for this rather short and not very sweet blurb but my bed is calling. It's gonna be a lonnnngggg night!

Strava link:

Monday, 17 November 2014

Dirty Dozen

We had a Dirty Dozen out today including two newcomers, Derek and Derek. Also on duty were Capt, Retro, The Chairman, Nightmare, Miley, the Bullet, Philip, Lanterne, Jeff and Berg. I'd planned the route based on a North East wind and the idea of an extra loop for the hardmen - it almost worked out perfect.

The route was as simple as our average rider - through town, out the Shore Road, up the Doagh Rd and along Upper Road to the far side of Carrickfergus. A right and left towards Barrycarry and then on to Islandmagee. It turned into a beautiful morning and we were rewarded with beautiful scenery. Derek, Derek and Lanterne took the option to turn right for Whitehead and locate a coffee stop, while the rest of us turned right to hit the hills.

Jeff, Miley, Bullet and Retro gave it full gas while the rest of us used our brains. Capt knew the way and guided us from Lower Rd (which seemed pretty high to me) on to Middle Rd. Retro, Miley and Bullet decided to pay Portmuck and its 20% climb a visit and set up a roadblock in front of me in Mullaghboy to make sure I got split from the group. In the absence of photographic evidence I don't even believe they did it! The rest of us took the road round by the Gobbins with stunning views to Whitehead, where we joined up with the others in the Old Tea Rooms.

Refuelled we aimed for a direct hit on Belfast via the shoreline. With the exception of Islandmagee it wasn't the most inspiring route - busy roads by our standards, but it allowed us to keep things together and knowing we have a coffee stop in that area opens up a few more options for the future.

Ride of the day goes to Retro who kicked ass with riders well over 30yrs his junior - respect! Finally a belated Happy Birthday to MTB Girl, have to get you out soon

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Shower Dodgers

Two riders dodged the showers (successfully) through Comber, down to Wacky Dave's and back towards Saintfield yadda yadda yadda same old, same old. What made this ride particularly fun was a child of the early seventies and a child of the late sixties, reminiscing about kids TV of the seventies. So pop quiz Mike Reid Runaround style - name the shows?

On a serious note, we did exactly what we should do at this time of year. We rode steady (chatting speed), turned small gears and kept our heart rates down, pedalling up hill and down for a bit over 40 miles. Coffee was short and sweet, so home for 12:30. On a less serious note sorry to anyone confused by two middle aged men shouting "little old lady", "strawberry", "chocolate", "RUNAROUND" and "Hugh Pugh Barney McGrew Cuthbert Dibble Grub". Good fun

Monday, 10 November 2014

Star Trek

I'm in one of those moods again, bored of writing the same old thing. I was also trying to come up with a more complimentary nickname for Crash and following the medical theme came up with Bones, which is my excuse for the Star Trek theme....

I don't know ten Star Trek characters, but accompanying Bones, we had Resurrection as Scotty (Capt she can'ne take any more); Nightmare was Spock (we know he's only half human); Hannibal and me split Kirk (he'd use any excuse to take his shirt off and fight monsters, and I've met a few alien chicks); Jeff was Chekov (he just steered whatever way we told him but never actually knew where he was); Mike was Sulu (George Takei, say no more) and Retro as Lt. Uhura (no explanation necessary). Brian on his first Sunday run and Neil were anonymous crewmen, who just prayed they'd make it to the end of the episode alive!

Spock reckoned what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them, so took us on a snaking route along Sandy Lane and out the towpath through Lisburn. We skimmed Culcavey and wiggled to Waringstown and the outskirts of Lurgan onto the traditional "bun run" route to Tandragee. Straight through and into the Scarva Tea Rooms for a well deserved coffee. This wasn't just a new stop for some of the guys, it was a new county....

With 40 miles now on the clock we climbed towards Banbridge, turning left at the top on to Blue Road. This is lumpy territory, but the group was riding together really well, trying to use the joint strength and not leave anyone behind. After Lawrencetown we took a right through Blackscull and on to Ballygowan Rd for Hillsborough. A puncture held us up a bit, but gave plenty of opportunity to abuse Sulu and Uhura. After that we got a glimpse of our friend, the effortlessly glamorous MTB Girl heading the other way.

By Hillsborough most people had 60 miles in the legs and with the cold weather energy was in short supply. Thankfully there were enough helping hands to go round (we've all been there and will be there again) and we all kept a decent pace across to Carryduff. Around 70 miles of lumpy terrain with a really good group, who got some great training. The Enterprise will be fuelling up for another mission next week.