Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Raging Storm

We knew we were in trouble this morning when Retro rocked up in his shades, he was back on form and meaning business after last weeks events.
Today's brief was simple, keep away from the back roads and keep it coastal so that's exactly what we did. Without Nightmare as our trusty guide and coach we were on our own, 1st Cat, Bullet, Retro, Michael aka Flashdance and myself left the Lites and sped our way out to Dundonald, Comber and N'Ards before hanging a right onto the Portaferry Road. The pace was brisk with 1st Cat putting us through our drills of turns at the front. Working hard at keeping the pace going, we upped the tempo until Greyabbey. It was decided at this stage we would turn inland at Kircubbin, 4hrs riding would plenty especial at our brisk pace.
Once we turned left at Kircubbin it was a direct route to Ballyhalbert and the onslaught of the wind. One minute we were riding along one side of the peninsula blissfully oblivious to the storm raging on the other side, we went from an average of 22mph down to 11mph, it was tough going and felt is if we were going backwards at one stage. At this point Flashdance, wisely headed back to the nicer side of the Ards Peninsula for home, as he had family commitments to get back for.
With just four of us left, 1st Cat drilled us on our through and off techniques into the wind, with 1 minute efforts. Through Ballywalter we battled into Millisle, a call went out for the 30s in Millisle. I don't think I've ever seen a slower sprint in all my life, the head wind was that bad. As the Berg often says they don't pick us for our looks or intelligence!!!
A quick regroup to collect the bodies and we high tailed it into Donaghadee, with more through and offs. What was supposed to be a quick coffee stop at cafe manor turned into a slightly longer affair with much of the usual banter us Castlereagh guys are known for.
Suitably refuelled it was onto the Killaughey Road and Movilla Road for a blast into Ards. Discussions were afoot for the direction home Bradshaws Brae or Scrabo? Retro made the choice and led the way. The Bullet and 1st Cat were feeling frisky and showed a clean pair of heels up the Scrabo Road climb.
Taking the Unicarval Road and Ballyrainey Road brought us out onto the Comber Road and eventually the Upper Newtownards Road, the scene of today's excitement. Pulling out onto the main road I heard it. First the CLICK, then the CLUNK, then back wheel locked up. Looking down I realised my rear mech shouldn't be sitting at that jaunty angle in between the spokes of my rear wheel. Luckily we were nearly home and with a quick diagnosis that it was terminal the rear mech was dispatched with. Out came the trusty chain tool and after shortening the chain I was on my way again, SINGLE SPEED style. So close to home it was great that everyone waited while I got myself back on the road.
Another great days riding with the full fats with a route slightly over 60 miles, great weather except for the wind.

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