Just a wee update on where I am after the last event. Have been doing a few commutes to and from work and have studied the Maracycle training schedule. I noticed that I should try and get some long cycles in before the event and also I should try the cycle two days consecutively aspect also.
Last Saturday I went out with intention of doing a cycle to either Ballynahinch or Saintfield from Belfast depending on how I feel (approx. 30 miler). This should take me approx. 2 hrs so all I took was one bottle water and a small piece of banana bread for nutrition along the way. As I set of within the first half hour I began to get into my stride and felt really good.
The weather was perfect with mild breeze, overhead cloud and forecast had said no rain all day, temperature about 12 degrees. I noticed as I cycled into the countryside roads I was really falling in love with biking again. The night before i had watched Lance Armstrong documentary DVD about tours and his life and it had me all pumped up to go.
I decided to plot on and try to make a stab at going to Newcastle. As I passed Ballynahinch I began to get an idea in my head of idea of visiting not only my parents’ house in Newcastle, but also my sister’s house in Lisburn and then my brother’s house in Belfast to end off the journey.
As I was passing through Clough I noticed a turnoff towards Castlewellan which is beside Newcastle. I then thought that it might be useful to try the gradient on the ‘Mill Hill’ road that comes into Castlewellan. For me as an amateur cyclist this was pretty hard and steep, but I plodded up it and eventually got to the top before turning off to get to Newcastle where I briefly stopped to chat to my folks and steal a banana sandwich and a top up on liquids before setting off again.
As I left Newcastle I worked out in my head the direction I would need to go to get to Lisburn from Newcastle. I knew that it would probably be quicker to go via Hillsborough but I thought I might come across a duel carriageway so I decided to go via Carryduff back roads. I picked up the pace as I knew my time was running out before me and the wife were heading out for dinner that evening. I eventually got to my sister’s house where I caught up with my little niece.
Refuelling once again (banana bap this time – I love my bananas!), I left and knuckled down for the last stop in Belfast to spring a third surprise visit to my brother and his kids.
After leaving here I had only a few miles to travel to get to my local leisure centre were my car was parked. When I arrived I checked my imapmyrun app on iphone to see how far I had travelled. Unfortunately the battery had run out. When I got home I checked the logged route after recharging the phone in addition to a manual mapmyrun distance calculator online which totalled 84 miles. Before this my max was 66 miler doing an annual cycle sportive I have done in last couple of years, so to do 84 miles and still feel pretty ok afterwards. as for the planned dinner outing i just about made it in time. Result!