Saturday, 31 October 2015

Gettin Dirty

Cracking day for getting dirty. Seven of us took a random tour of the muddiest lanes County Down has to offer and slip slided our way home again. Andrew and Jonny aren't the only ones who enjoy the slippy stuff.

Begny Hill Road probably wasn't the kindest route, but everyone looked out for each other and together with the autumnal colours and debris, gave the ride a great late season feel. It was also a great advert for mudguards - ideally two (you can see why from my shins), but even one saves the furniture at the coffee stop and your teammates.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Looking Smart

Two ways out and three ways home - this gig is complicated. Then you come home, clean the bike, eat, clean yourself, transfer the photos, edit the photos, copy the strava links and think what you're going to write....or get to number six on that list and have a doze.

Thanks to Sam's hard work on the kit order everyone was looking smart at the start. The consensus was to head out together and split somewhere down the road, so I got to work on a cunning plan. The weather was dry and crisp as we meandered south towards the Quoile Bridge. There I offered high road and low road options. Five choose low, heading straight to Strangford while five choose high, going up through Saul to Raholp and right eventually on to the coast at Kilief - the perfect road for 30 second turns averaging 37kph into Strangford with Scotty out kicking Digger for the 30's.

The early arrivals were well rested by the time we all went to leave and given the good weather decided to head on round the coast with us as far as Ardglass where they turned right for Downpatrick and home. The pace kicked up again as the five of us drove on through Killough including a cheeky 30's across the bridge. Comrade was feeling ropey and wisely decided to take a direct hit home with Sean.
 That left three of us and we dialled the pace up to 11 as we headed for a climb Scotty knew above Minerstown - Scolligs Hill - it was a good one. Toffypops were being consumed at a horrific rate, as each of us took turns to blow their biscuits on some amazing lanes across to Drumaness. After a quick drink stop we powered on to Ballynahinch and finally lined out to Ballynahinch with two min turns wringing out the last drops. Digger proved why you never discount a sprinter no matter how busted he looks!

A really good day out, where hopefully everybody got what they needed. Overall the distances don't look that different, although the profiles tell another story and I can vouch that the hardcore group was giving it plenty....

Saturday, 24 October 2015

The Gimp Squad

The Gimp Squad were all out today and had a great morning, as the weather just got better and better. Bert and Ernie were rocking the kinkiest overshoes ever. I had my new gimp jacket and Hannibal was rocking his man in black look before getting down and dirty at tomorrow's cross race.

We'd braved rain to get down to Forester Green, but once there the rain stopped and things brightened up. With a slight west wind we settled on Dromore, but as usual wiggled a bit to get there. We were all on relaxed form and did long turns as we chatted away, just enjoying being out on quiet roads. We swung out beyond Dromore, then back in for coffee using some roads we learnt on the Dromore CC sportive.

Refreshed we headed for Ballynahinch and halfway dropped the hammer - it was a training ride after all.... The route home took in a few lesser used roads and a few frequently used roads, bringing four smiling cyclists back to Belfast. Turns out I run better on Heinekenpower than Peronipower, but maybe it's a quantity thing..... ‪#‎rubberbandits‬

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Great Turnout

Cracking weather and a great turnout (even with a couple of riders missing the mothership). The Big Lad called the route giving me a morning off and set a course that would get us all home in time for the rugby.
Everyone stuck together and did great. Anyone feeling strong did long turns, while anyone who was feeling it stayed in the wheels. 30's came thick and fast with plenty having a kick. All good safe fun.

Jeff's Birthday Bacon Bap

The fact that the newest bike out today was 10 years old tells you winter is coming and we're cheap, but the weather was more than kind. I could've done with a few more wheels to sit on coming home and a few less lemonades the night before, but hey....

We bought Jeff a birthday bacon bap in Downpatrick - but I forgot the candles - not sure we'd have fitted them all on.

Unofficial Ladies Day

I need to tread carefully here, today had two themes - unofficial ladies day and getting dirty - please don't mix them up.... Zoe, Selena and Jacqui were joining us for the spin, and Jonny, Andrew and other friends of the club were getting dirty at the cyclocross in Lady Dixon park.
As ever, the plan was based on the riders who turned up and the weather. A few of us wanted to get back early enough to watch the racing, which gave us a window of just under 3 hours plus a quick coffee. The route was pretty simple, via Sandy Lane to Hilden and on through Lisburn to Ballinderry, Aghalee and Moira. We hit the coffee stop at a busy time, so it took a while, but with everyone refuelled we headed home via Route 9. Everyone was in good shape as we came through Drumbeg.
Most of us pulled in to Lady Dixons in time to watch some of the thrills and spills. Andrew and Jonny were flying. It was great to catch up with good friends, but we all started to cool and headed home.

Thanks to the girls for your company. Hopefully you enjoyed and felt welcome.

Wookie, Sith Lord, Yoda and Princess Leia

The Wookie, the Sith Lord, Yoda and Princess Leia had a fun spin this morning. Continuing the theme of making dreams come true, I gave Retro the choice of destinations and then worked out a way there and back.

Dundrum was a good choice for a small group and the bacon sodas were as good as I remembered. The pace there and back was smooth and steady, covering the miles rapidly. Good fun and great to have Nitemare back on the road.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Jonny races at Apollo CycloCross

Jonny raced the Apollo CC "B" CycloCross race in Lurgan on Sunday.

The "A" race was won by Irish international rider and current Irish CycloCross champion, David Montgomery (Chain Reaction Cycles) with Roger Aiken (Team Asea) in 2nd, closely followed by Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles) in 3rd.

Johnny Boyle of TC Racing won the "B" race with Paul McCarthur (North Down CC) in 2nd and Andrew Patton (Kinning Cycles) in 3rd.

You can see Castlereagh CC's CycloCross racer, Jonny Wilson, in action at about 1:40 in to the following video - our first cross racer!

Thanks to Glenn Kinning for the footage.

Full results can be found at

Sunday, 4 October 2015


The youth team started at 8.45 from Forestside to make the start of the Ciclovia event at 9am from Botanic gardens and enjoyed cycling the city with closed roads, another well organised event. The normal 9.30am club ride also made an appearance at the event and got some video footage!
Ciclovia is a health and community based initiative which closes a part of the City to traffic, on a given day, for a specific period of time, in which cyclists are given the opportunity to ride through the traffic free zone of the City.  It is also an opportunity to create a mini festival environment which will attract and encourage people to come into the City centre, on their bikes, and enjoy the freedom of the City and sense of community. This is a completely FREE event to take part in.

More info on the event can be found at

Deja Vu in Reverse

Today was deja vu in reverse - like last week, a big group heading out steady, then three idiots heading on for more punishment. The plan worked great.
Every week I ask Retro where he wants to go and every week he says Ballymena. Usually a howling south or west wind means I feel I have to crush his dreams, but today I granted his wish. Heading north also meant we could check out and support the Ciclovia event in Belfast. We headed down the Ormeau Rd then down a car free Botanic Ave and Dublin Rd to the city hall. Retro almost got himself tangled in a fishnet but that's another story.
We kept things steady ups the Antrim Rd and along the lanes to Doagh with everyone working through. Steady through Burnside to Tildarg, then left up Big Collin. 

After an acrobatic display from paragliders most of the group stopped at the Misty Burn (Battery) for coffee. Three of us headed on for Broughshane lifting the pace - I'm not a big strava fan, but trophies don't lie. From there we headed to Ballymena for our stop, almost crashing as we passed an open coffee shop in Broughshane - the times they are a changing...
Our route home took us up Doctors Hill and then across to Parkgate and down the main road. We took two minute turns, but each time I came off the front it was a full minute before my eyes could focus on my watch to tell! That brings us to the theme of the day - "If it's not hard, you aren't doing it right!". Everyone got great training today, the Lites doing almost as far as the three amigos, although mercifully at a fractionally lower pace. Well done everyone. Ps good to have the Big Lad back.

Taking Piglet to the Farm

Today we took Piglet to the farm (technically it's also a garden centre and coffee shop, but hey). Thanks to his comment that Sean's calves look like a pair of frozen chickens, we also have a potential new nickname - Monsieur Poulet (a little nod to his recent continental excursion).
The Ards peninsula was Piglets call and I did my best to keep us off the busiest roads. After coffee in Harrison's we eventually had a short pace line stint up the coast to Ards. Digger and Piglet were both on great form and lit it up for every 30 with M. Poulet building his form up too.
Good fun and good training. Oh aye, It was alleged I was taking photos of my own ass (when it was actually a well framed shot of my team mates), so I actually did take one of my ass - big children!