Sunday, 5 February 2017

Fifth Week of the Lites

Fifth week of the lites, and rule number 9 was being enforced...fog hung ominously in the air, obfuscating the sun which glimmered menacingly in the sky, like an orb foretelling doom...
Thankfully things got better. We abandoned our beloved back roads in favour of the main Comber road, with lites and full fats sticking together for the first ten miles. By the time we'd made it to the comber-ards carriageway, conditions had improved considerably and we decided to split, with the heavies stoking the coals in the boiler room of the pain train and thundering up the road ahead of us.
We were delighted to have Robert, Andrew, Bryan and Jeremy joining us for our rather more relaxed approach to sunday mornings. We continued our course through Carrowdore and Millisle, then northwards to Cottage Kitchen at the Manor in Donaghadee.
We made short work of the scones and French toast on offer (apologies to the heavies who stopped there after us!) before taking the more direct route home to Newtownards. A brief stop for a puncture (hopefully that's Jeremy's quota fulfilled for a while!) didn't cause too much of a delay, and before we knew it we were hauling ourselves up over Bradshaw's Brae. Digger did it twice just for fun...
Regrouping just before Ballybean, we arrived back in Belfast around 1. 40 miles in the bank, with an average speed of 14 mph. We've come a long way since week 1! Ride of the day goes to Robert, who was making his debut outing on clipless pedals. We hope you all enjoyed today, and would love to see you again next week :)

Ice and Fog

Ice and fog dominated our conversation as we gathered at Forestside this morning. It's a kinda catch 22, those conditions mean back roads and hills are off the menu. That means more main roads and busier traffic, which we try to avoid.
As both runs we're planning to head east in search of clearer weather and salt air we decided to opt for safety in numbers and all roll out together. Credit to everyone - the Full Fats kept to a pace that suited everyone and there wasn't the slightest grumble from the Lites. It was a bigger group than we normally like together, but meant we had plenty of lights and with a bit of encouragement held two straight lines over to the left.
Opting for the Kings Road and on to Comber cut out the hills and any risk of ice. Once in Comber the sun came out and we took the opportunity to split. Seven of us dropped the hammer, and left it there all the way down to Kircubbin. A left turn on the far side took us further south and on to the east coast south of Portavogie. The pace didn't lift and everyone was contributing to keeping the pace strong.
Flashdance took a left before Ballyhalbert to head straight home, while the rest of us pressed on up the coast. Now and again the pace dropped a little, but I channelled my inner Nitemare and tried to encourage a smooth fast rhythm. The proof was in the average speed as we arrived at Donaghadee - 29.1kph despite having ridden easy to Comber....
Bullet decided to head on home, while the rest of us settled in to seats still warm from the Lites who'd eaten all but 6 scones in the place!!! Back on the road we kept it pretty direct with David riding strongly all the way. Bradshaw's was the lesser of three evils, with Retro showing he's still got it - as if anyone doubted it.
100-105k under mainly blue skies. Different, faster, flatter roads which gave us all a good workout - well done everyone.
PS we aren't at all jealous of Comrade, Poster Boy and Allen heading to Spain today - have a great time and keep it safe.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

just the Two of Us

Just the two of us, we can make it if we try, just the two of us, building castles in the sky, just the two of us, John and I....
Between work, sickness and holidays we were short handed this morning. John was downing an Altridge & Cole coffee as I arrived, so we decided to forgo a stop and aim for about 2.5 hours. It was cold but brightened up quickly and we took in some of the lesser known lanes, or in cases the well known lanes in the opposite direction.
Perfect winter training and home for 12:30 -