Sunday, 19 July 2015

Force 10 Lites

A lite boost this morning got us up to a force ten! Last night’s forecast promised plenty of sun on the Donghadee side however, winds were heading east which would suggest a head-wind return leg - not traditional Castlereagh style.

At 9.36 the 10 headed east on the Upper Knockbreda Rd. On Campbell College roundabout we took our first turn for the day which led us to the Old Holywood Rd. A few ‘change-up’s’ were called which allowed everyone the opportunity to get a bit of conversation going. We soon reached Demesne Rd which resulted in a ‘We aren't doing Church Road Sam…are we’? To Bobby’s relief (and probably a few others) we turned left and wiggled onto Victoria Rd and on up to Ballymenoch Rd.

The conversation that had been rather plentiful soon disappeared and was quickly replaced with laboured breathing during the sheer ascent of Creightons Green Rd (the first category climb of the day). The group split which enabled the slightly more frisky riders a chance to get out of the saddle - the idea that everyone regrouped near the end of the road. This worked well and gave the opportunity for a little competition (Im not sure who reached the top first but my only concern was that everyone did)!
After regrouping we popped out onto Whinney Hill and followed it through onto Craigantlet Rd and Ballysallagh Rd. A few more ‘change-ups’ found us crossing the carriageway and on the Old Belfast Rd heading for the Springhill Rd. A swift right turn and all ten of us were on the Crawfordsburn Rd. At this point I was very pleased with my shorts and short-sleeved top wardrobe choice as the sun was out and it was a real (Northern Irish) summer’s morning.

We then meandered our way round Seacliff Rd, Ballyhome Rd and onto the Groomsport Rd. Bearing left on the roundabout we followed the Bangor Rd onto the Donaghadee Rd, Waren Rd and into Donaghadee. Approx 40km done and we were ready for our coffee stop.

Having frequented Cafe Manor several times with Castlereagh before I suggested we head there. For those of us who were warm before the coffee stop were now sweltered with the heat inside. Tea, coffee (water for me) and a few bacon baps and we were once again ready to hit the road.

We hit Killaughey Rd at a brave pace which definitely pushed the fitness levels of a few due to the rolling hills (but this is how fitness is gained). We all held together well and hit Movilla Rd for the decent into N’Ards. Bobby headed home at this stage while the rest of the group was split slightly because of the traffic.
 The group pounded on and hit Scrabo (2nd - and final category climb for the day). Myself and Stephen caught up and we all had a slight breather at the top of the climb. The final stretch home took in Ballyhenry Rd, onto the carriageway for another jaunt, round the outskirts of Comber and headed along the Comber Rd. We scooted up the Old Dundonald Rd, passed the ice bowel and along the Kings rd. Derek headed Gilinahirk direction, Martin headed straight at knock lights, I headed right and the remainder of the group headed left (Castlereagh direction).

According to strava everyone made it home and not in bad time either. Really enjoyed the ride and the group functioned well. It was good that we didn't shy away from the hills, no pain no gain! I hope you all enjoyed the ride. This was a healthy bunch, lets build on this.


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