Sunday, 8 October 2017

Oxford Island

When I mentioned life's constants yesterday, I forgot a few that are specific to Castlereagh CC and one of our legends. Retro will go off like the hammers with seemingly no concept that the ride will be over 30 mins - fact. He will also put himself in to the ground rocking and rolling over the bike, rather than tell the rider beside him to ease off (and because people know this they play to it and push the pace) - fact. Are these bad things? No, not at all, just idiosyncrasies of the bunch, that once you understand you embrace.
Today despite a touch of light rain at the start, we had nine riders - no "Lites" (I hope everyone isn't starting to hibernate - this is the ideal time of year to start riding with a cycling club and build fitness, as the group backs off a fraction). When I asked about distance and route, I got two words back which is an improvement on the usual - FLAT and WEST. I put those in to the Routemeister 2000 calculator, turned the handle and came up with an idea....
We went down and around the embankment for a change and then out our regular Sandy Lane route to Lisburn. We turned on to Route 9 past the Maze, but bypassed Down Royal and across the flatlands. Orange Lane took us parallel to the main road and eventually south of Lurgan. Poster Boy II turned off along the way - it took a while for some to notice and if I'm honest one or two may never have even recognised your presence, such is their "focus".
Through Lurgan, it wasn't long til we were queuing in Oxford Island. While it might not have the hipster cool of some of our other watering holes, you can't knock the value.... the route home was to be our regular route out - Aghalee, Aghagallon, Ballinderry, Lisburn. It would have been uneventful if it wasn't for a driver 150m up ahead of us deciding to pull out of a junction straight in to another car. Two write-offs but thankfully no serious injuries. Arriving on the scene, we checked the occupants, directed a bit of traffic and waited for the police and ambulance - we also somehow lost Retro, another of those Castlereagh constants. Civil duties done, on to Lisburn and home.
I had been hoping to call at the cyclocross in Lady Dixon Park on the way home, but stopping for the accident had us running late. A great day out. Hard enough for people to tell me sob stories in the hope of getting out of turns, but not so hard we couldn't keep the group tightly together and get everyone home. Ride of the day goes to El Pistolero - not for his athletic ability, more for hogging just about every photo I took. Great riding.