Sunday, 8 January 2017

30 at Forestside

It was brilliant and mildly overwhelming to see almost 30 people down at Forestside this morning, with lots of new and old faces. With The Beast taking the part of the good guy looking after the Lite run, I was cast as the villain intent on merciless torture of those brave enough to sign up for the longer run - turns out despite the horrific looks, I'm not a natural villain, I'll need to work on it....
With so many people, the simplest solution was to split the herd quickly and give Stuart the opportunity to brief the Lite run. Our group agreed we'd head south in to the wind and make a brief appearance at the Irish Cyclocross Champs in Tollymore - how we'd get there and back was loosely worked out in my head, but as always I had a few possibilities so I could tailor the route for the weather and riders.
We took the main road up to Ballynahinch and tried to maintain a steady effort level up and down hill - we still have a little work to do on that.... left took us to Spa and the start of the hills. Strava explains the route better than I can and makes up for the fact I can't remember road names. To meet our objective of keeping the pressure on downhill, Digger and Retro hit the front on the long descent and strung it out.
On to Maghera where Flashdance turned for home, and then in to Newcastle via the Burrendale. A lap of the front and out the Bryansford Road to Tollymore. We arrived at the cross during the practice and while most of the group took in the atmosphere at the start/finish, Digger and me took in a little of the course down to the lower field - smart no, fun yes... It was soon time to head and we went straight across to Castlewellan. Straight laterally, very much not straight vertically with a nasty climb in the middle.
Coffee at Urban, where we decided to take a simpler than planned route home. The clock was ticking and legs were getting tired. James displayed his intimate knowledge of the Wizard of Oz and we soon had the Strawman, Tinman, Cowardly Lion and Dorothy cast. Apparently I was the Good Witch. I don't remember her, but I'm guessing she wasn't a looker.
Near Drumaroad, we decided to split the group and let those in a hurry home head on - I hear Digger stretched a few legs.... Poster Boy, Chris and me took it steadier and probably had a slightly more enjoyable trip back through Spa and out by Ballycreen.
A really successful day all round. A major thanks and well done to Stuart for bringing the Lites back. Apologies for my photography, I really need to check the settings on my phone, but me and technology are not the best friends. Here's to next week!


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