Sunday, 28 December 2014

Braving the Elements

Three intrepid riders assembled at the bus stop on a very icy Sunday morning; myself, Brian and Harry, both making an appearance courtesy of the East Tyrone CC. The decision to brave the elements was borne out of sheer inexperience and foolhardiness on my part, and years of experience and Tyrone-style-tenacity on theirs!

After waiting for a few minutes, Bergmeister rolled up (on four wheels, not two!) and, with regret, announced that most had decided to be sensible and stick to the turbos for the day. He did, however, assure us that Bones was on his way, so the CCC:ETCC ratio would be tilted back in the right direction. Before parting, Berg sagely advised us to stick to main roads and avoid hills where possible (more on that later...). After a frantic sprint to catch Bones (having arrived slightly late, he’d already resigned himself to the prospect of a solo outing and had sailed down the Knock carriageway) the foursome was complete and a route was devised.

Continuing down the Knock carriageway (and away from the treacherous Saintfield road), we turned right onto the Upper Newtownards Road and motored along nicely all the way to Ards town centre. Punishing ourselves briefly on the sharp kick on Upper N street, we joined the carriageway and again fell into a spritely rhythm and were in Bangor in no time. The coastal road provided the perfect opportunity to relax the pace a bit and enjoy the view, the crisp sea air, and the sun, which was finally making an appearance! With the promise of a coffee stop in Donaghadee, and some people still with energy to burn, we organised a paceline on the straight from Groomsport and arrived at the Manor Cafe in record time. Other people had obviously had the same bright idea as us, because it was packed, but with the sun starting to warm us up, we had no objections to sitting outside.

Refreshed, we started thinking about the journey back. The roads being a bit more accommodating with the rise in temperature, and with Harry (and me) keen to have a go at Scrabo, we headed back along the Cotton road before beginning the arduous climb (easy all the way up, then 18% at the top!). A couple of slippy patches caused a scare, but our lesson was well and truly learnt; STAY AWAY FROM THE SHADOWY PATCHES! The view from the top was outstanding, but the cold setting in again meant we didn’t hang around for too long.

A very gentle descent preceded the trip home back along the Newtownards road, where we caught up with two other riders (I can’t remember what club they were from, but with ~ 60 miles already in their legs, they worked up to a frightening pace and pulled us all the way back to the Knock lights – no complaints on our side! Thanks again guys J).

We parted ways at the end of Shandon Park, all glad that we’d made it out for the day, and that the weather improved significantly as we went along. Thanks again to Colin, Mark, Brian and Harry – hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. We’ll hopefully get them down again for a run in some less inclement weather.


  1. Have the lites stopped venturing out these days?

  2. Depends on numbers and abilities, we have been riding together recently. Sometimes splitting up around the cafe stop so some people can stop for a bit longer and then regrouping to ride home. When we have the numbers it would be good to do the 2 seperate runs