Sunday, 7 December 2014

Scott of the Antarctic

Descending the North face of the Eiger this morning (some call it Newton Park) through flurries of snow I knew it was going to be a proper winter epic - it was, but fun too. We're going with a Scott of the Antarctic theme in honour of the weather, my bike and our own Captain's Captain Oates impression - if there had have been a tent for him to walk out of into the blizzard he would've - "I may be a while". Hopefully whatever's working on him will clear soon.

Four of us said goodbye to the CTC at Forster Green and set course for Oxford Island. Unsurprisingly it was four old hands with winter bikes and full winter kit, although Retro was wondering if he could get a refund on his gloves until he remembered they were a Big G freebie.... We headed out through Drumbeg, then on to Sandy Lane and the towpath to the centre of Lisburn. On towards Ballinderry, Aghalee and Aghagallon.

That was where the real fun started, as we hit a weather front thick with sleet. In true Rule #9 tradition we dug in and ploughed on for Oxford Island. Nightmare (sorry Nitemare) is flying after his 60days of purgatory and our full-time pro Retro isn't far behind, their horsepower made a big difference as the wind strengthened. The weather brightened as we reached lunch although some poor wee squirrel may not recover from a run in with Nightmare - apparently he likes animals more than people so he hopes its okay.

As we were warming up inside, a smiling 1st Cat arrived - it turns out he'd been partying til 5, turned up late at FG and been pointed the right direction by the CTC! That meant five #badass badges will have to be awarded. 1st Cat gets a special one he can put on despite his fat fingers (do you think the gloves mighta shrunk in the wash?!).

From Oxford Island we took the lanes to Moira and then out Meeting Street and Bottier Rd on to the flatlands. The weather was still vicious, but with five experienced riders wanting to keep warm the pace was still descent as Nightmare wound us round the lanes. Eventually we turned off Blaris Rd and took the towpath all the way back to Drumbeg - although the weather had brightened again, very few walkers were risking it, so it was amazingly empty.

Nightmare and 1st Cat turned off, leaving the rest of us to cruise on to Shaw's Bridge. A tough day, but a really fun one and one that made me very grateful for the invention of goretex and overshoes. Thanks to everyone for sticking together and giving Retro's hands a big round of applause. Proper old school winter training 


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