Sunday, 11 December 2016

Hard Earned Winter Miles

Feeling a bit worse for wear this morning as a result of a work party that went on a bit too long, I was glad to see eleven others at Forestside. Phenomenal turnout for this time of year!
With a south-westerly wind, and a few people keen to keep their outing short, I decided to head for Banbridge (with the option of turning back just after Hillsborough). In my sleepy stupor, little did I realise that I was inadvertently picking a far more arduous route than my fragile state could comfortably handle...
The first stretch into Lisburn was exceptionally quick, with the group digging in hard on the short, sharp hills. The undulations in the road didn't let up through Ravernet and into Hillsborough, and by the time we'd made it onto the Ballygowan Road, everyone was feeling the burn! Berg, Comrade, El Pistolero, David and Flashdance had to get back early, leaving Retro, Hannibal, Digger, James, John, Poster Boy and myself to battle the headwind into Banbridge. The pace relented as we reached Blackskull, but we were all relieved to stop at Blend and Batch. I can now, like many others before me, attest to the remedial properties of pancakes with bacon and maple syrup.
Initially opting for a flatter route home ("downhill with the wind behind us would be ideal!" suggested James) via Donaghcloney and towards Magheralin, I thought I'd recovered enough to throw in another couple of short climbs on the Redhill Road and St. John's Road - I hadn't...
Another short break at Retro's new favourite comfort stop (he's awfully picky) was welcomed by all, before we made it back to Hillsborough via the tunnel, then to Belfast via Lisburn and Lambeg.
A much tougher run than anticipated today...I can only apologise, I wasn't thinking clearly! Everyone rode brilliantly and can be proud of some hard-earned winter miles.
Next Saturday 17th December marks the annual Castlereagh & Friends' Christmas Get Together. Anyone interested in attending should get in touch with our own Minister of Mayhem, Joe Devlin, ASAP. It's sure to be a fantastic evening! If anything can be learned from my experience today, though, it is this: don't stay up all night partying. If you must, think long and hard before coming out for a club run the next day. And don't let a zombie pick the route...

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Pull On Your Kit

It's easy to stay in bed at this time of year, especially if it's the morning after the night before. The alternative is to pull on your kit, get out in the fresh air, laugh with your mates, get the blood pumping and feel better.
Sometimes you also look at the dreaded Strava and wonder why your average speed has dropped through the floor - you have a far lower average for a far shorter distance, how does that work?! To find the answer I think you have to look at the question the other way round - the reason you can push big gears, climb high mountains and basically go fast in the summer, is the hard miles, done on heavy bikes, with soft tyres, rubbing mudguards and a cold wind at this time of year. You also appreciate the occasional warm summer day more, because you know you've earned it.
Enough philosophising, today six of us went to Dromore via Bailies Mills, Boardmills, Annahilt and Kinallen. After coffee in the Riverside Cafe (Retro's favourite), home via Edentrillick. Good fun, good work and more miles in the tank to prepare us for 2017. Respect to Poster Boy for a short turn on the front coming home - 24k!!!!

Sunday, 4 December 2016


With no particular inspiration for a write up I thought i'd cheat and did out an old post about the nicknames to "recycle". Problem is it took me an hour to find the post and when I did I realised a lot has changed in 2 years!!!! I've pasted in the list anyway, but I'll try and revamp it for 2016 in the coming weeks.
With the Beast taking a party round the Lough (respect), anyone looking mega miles was otherwise occupied. That left a group all happy to aim for 3 hours in the cool, but mild December weather. The wind was coming in from the East and as ever we wanted to avoid the traffic. The solution was to head out the Kings Road and up Greengraves. Down Bradshaws in to Ards/Newtownards and then out towards Carrowdore.
Chris needed back for work and turned homewards while the rest of us headed on to the East coast between Ballywalter and Millisle. A rapid session from Millisle to Donaghadee was over too soon, but emptied the legs before coffee. Refuelled and having congratulated the future Mr & Mrs Scotty we took the direct route back to Ards.
The requested route home was up Bradshaws, but I screwed up and we took a tougher and slightly longer route over Ballybarnes.
Near enough 3 hours, 75k and 8 happy cyclists. Til the next time....

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Dear Santa

Dear Santa, please can we have:
- A book on group riding (preferably with pictures).
- Campagnolo Pyjamas for Nitemare.
- A Campagnolo Chorus Groupset for me (may as well ask just in case).
- A Christmas Jumper. Oops, scrub that, we have one.
- A sense of direction, make that ten.
- A book on physics including Newton's 17th Law - an object moving the same speed as the object that dropped them, will not close the gap and will be more bolloxed from riding in to the wind making it more likely they'll get dropped again.
- Women. We could really do with diluting the testosterone.
- A hug for Bones, he misses us.
- Liposuction.
- Die Hard and It's a Wonderful Life on DVD.
- A sexy secretary outfit for Poster Boy.
- A wee ring for Digger.
- Anything dirty for Phat Steve - he likes off road.
- A Pogues CD.
- A toolbox for Hannibal, he knows, sorry has a lot of tools.
- A bank loan to pay for coffee in certain establishments (coffee and a brownie £6:40).
- Anything Movistar for Resurrection.
- Mudguards.
- The concept of Self-Preservation for Retro, or failing that a never ending supply of toffee pops.
- Tea Bags for Comrade.
- A day off for Snake Hips and a signed photo of the day he dropped me.
- Sunshine.
- A sack of coal.
- An idiots guide to camera settings.
Many thanks and Merry Christmas,
Castlereagh CC
Feel free to add to the list.