- a full month of lockdown v3.0
- lots of walking especially in the first half of the month: 201.5km in 31 activities with at least one walk every day
- my longest walk was 21.72km, just over the half marathon distance
- lots of cycling especially towards the end of the month: 568km in 11 activities
- cycled 5 days in a row to end the month including my longest ride of 101.6km on the last day
- restarted intermittent fasting and dropped approximately 2kg
- a mixed up month of multiple storms and long cold, dry spells including signs of an early spring
- homeschooling continued for two seriously fed up teenagers
- got the call from work with a restarting date
- almost a fortnight of amazing sunsets
The good weather has stayed around for another week. Not as warm and sunny as last week but despite the grey skies and chilly winds it has stayed dry which is the most important. As my fitness is at a pretty good level and I’m going back to work tomorrow I thought it would be a good idea to get my 100K done nice and early this month, especially as the weather may not last.
I was tempted to go a longer route this month, especially having seen one of the guys in the club doing a great 110K route last week. However, I’m still not comfortable going far from home and having to use garages and shops for comfort breaks and food stops. I decided to stick with a similar route to the last two to be on the safe side and be able to have my break at home again.
I modified it slightly again though. This time I did three overlapping loops. Clady to Ballybofey (37km), Strabane to Killygordon (37km) and Clady to Killygordon (26km). I had my break at 74km which was perfect again. This route worked really well as there was a gusty, cold SE breeze. This was a real hassle on the first loop but the second one used the wind better by going down the sheltered back road and back the main road with a bit of a tailwind. The third loop was OK too but short enough not to matter.
At 52km the sun came out briefly and I stopped to eat a bar and admire the huge 5.5m tall metal sculpture at the border in Strabane. It’s officially called “Let the Dance Begin” but in typical irreverent Irish humour it’s known locally as “The Tinnies” as Tinney is a local surname. The artist is Maurice Harron who is a very far out family relation. The site of the sculpture is highly significant too as it’s the former location of the “Camel’s Hump” British Army border checkpoint from The Troubles and dismantled in 1999 after the signing of The Good Friday Agreement (1998).
The tone of the recent government announcements about lockdown restrictions suggest that we might see some relaxations from early April. I hope to go somewhere more interesting and further away for next month’s challenge🤞
Header image © Strava. 100KM Gran Fondo March.
- started the month and year on the summit of Errigal at dawn
- walked 128km over 26 activities
- cycled 205km over 4 activities
- longest walk 9.1km
- longest cycle 105km
- contracted and recovered from Covid19
- laid off as part of Lockdown Ireland v3.0
- 4 days of snow towards the end of the month
- finished the month with a family walk and a visit to Mackle’s at long last
The theme of yesterday’s spin was checkpoints and road works. Officially the country is in the last week of Level 5 lockdown and we’re supposed to stay within 5km of home unless it’s an essential journey. This also applies to exercise. For cycling this is totally nonsensical, as well as impractical. Compared to Lockdown v1 virtually nobody on my Strava feed is paying any heed to this restriction including some of the most compliant people I know. I’m still cycling solo but seeing as I meet so many people through work I don’t see the point of cycling close to home. Part of the non-compliance is the lack of enforcement. I passed through 3 “Operation Fanacht“ checkpoints and barely got a glance from the Gardai at any of them. The multiple stops for roadworks created more of a restriction and annoyance, especially the last one which I only realised was a hedge cutter at work at the very last minute. Glad now I’m riding tubeless tyres.
The aim of yesterday’s spin was to reverse my November ennui and keep my 2020 Metric Challenge streak alive. I’d been watching the forecast all week and despite some fluctuations Wednesday looked about as good as could be expected for the end of November.
I finally made the break and removed the Brooks C17, going back to the factory fitted Selle Royal Seta RS. Before leaving I took the time to get it perfectly levelled and exactly back to the same position as the fit done at the shop when I bought it. It meant I was an hour later leaving than planned but definitely time well spent despite spending more time in the rain at the end of the ride.
When I did get away shortly after 1030am it was bright and cold but I was kitted out in wooly socks, Winter shoes, overshoes and Winter tights over my normal bibshorts. Three layers up top, base layer, Perfetto jacket and Club gillet. Extremities protected with a skull cap and Buff and a double layer of gloves meant I was well insulated.
I’d decided to ride pretty much the same route as August with a small adjustment. The first 30km was very enjoyable with a slight tailwind all the way to Nixon’s Corner before turning for Newtowncunningham. I didn’t really feel the breeze with the protection from the high hedges for most of the road. The good weather lasted until the last 5min when I was hit by a short, heavy shower just before my lunch stop at Kernan’s at the 50km mark.
While making my tea an older American guy was making some small talk and when he followed me outside I thought I was about to share my lunch with a bit of a PITA. I was wrong. Turns out my talkative friend was pretty interesting. Bob is originally from Washington State, close to Seattle and living in Ireland for just over 30 years. He’s retired on a disability pension after a nasty accident involving his right arm and a printing press. He showed me the gruesome result which must have been insanely painful at the time. We had a good yarn while enjoying our sandwiches in the cold November air. One of the interesting stories was the origin of the name of “Seattle’s Best Coffee” brand and their rivalry with Starbucks.
Leaving Bob I was feeling the cold and added an extra layer using my Sportful gillet. The lingering dampness of the shower, disappearance of the sun, spray from the passing traffic and an increase in the now cold breeze was multiplying the cooling effect of the food stop and the extra windproof layer was much needed.
The road from Newtowncunningham to Letterkenny is a busy main road. Its only saving grace is the wide hard shoulder almost all the way. I wasn’t looking forward to it as I figured it would be a slog into a stiff breeze but it wasn’t too bad after all. The biggest challenge was spray from passing lorries as the road was now quite wet.
Dropping down past Manorcunningham towards the start of the dual carriageway is where my route diverged from August. I’d decided to use the back road I was familiar with from the Audax route, albeit from the opposite direction and avoid the busy dual carriageway. I’d also decided to go on further and climb out of Letterkenny via the Cullion Road instead of Dromore. This is a much better surface and only my second time up this road by bike. It means crossing the main road close to the top of Lurgybrack but traffic was reasonably light and getting across wasn’t a problem.
Shortly after this, with approximately 75km done, was when the rain started in earnest and I really started to feel Winter’s bite.
The showers started coming pretty heavy and close together. The road was very wet spraying my feet and legs and spray from passing traffic killed any breaks between showers. It was at this stage I was really cursing not having stuck on the mudguards and not packing a proper rain jacket. The cold was biting and slowly but surely the wet was soaking into my feet and hands as the overshoes and gloves became overloaded. It was a long 25km back to home but at least I had a tailwind for about 12km between Stranorlar and Castlefinn before finishing with a slow 5km into the headwind and the usual climb to home.
Despite the final conditions it was a great spin. It was mostly comfortable and even with the wet and cold finish I was soon sorted with a hot shower and food. I was just glad to be able to finish having let my mileage slide over the last 6 weeks or so. Only December to go and that will be my 2020 Metric Challenge complete.
There are some differences this time compared to the first lockdown earlier this year.
Schools are open. Despite misgivings the government seem to have drawn a line in the sand regarding schools and have said that they will be open no matter what. The scientific evidence from many countries seems to be that children don’t catch or spread the virus to the same extent as adults and that the risk to health is outweighed by the benefits of uninterrupted education.
We’re happy for our boys to be at school. They need their education and homeschooling doesn’t have the same impact. Regular routine and socialising with friends is also having a huge positive mental health impact on them too.
Sport is still on. At an elite level only and with detailed Covid protocols in place. Elite level is considered to be all professional sports plus GAA. The League and Championship are continuing but in a modified fashion.
Group training isn’t permitted at amateur level but is still allowed for under age in pods of 15 and on a non-contact basis. Unfortunately, both our Clubs stopped all activities in advance of lockdown due to a local outbreak and have decided not to resume again until the new season which means both boys have no activities outside of school.
Essential retail continues. The list of essential retailers is much broader and more open to interpretation than before. Many businesses have decided to stay open as normal, with slight changes or on a click and collect basis. This means that many people are still working and definitely a lot more than the first lockdown.
I’m still working. My work is one of the businesses that has decided to stay open. They figure we qualify as essential based on a number of the items on the list but mainly on this one:
Outlets selling products necessary for the essential upkeep and functioning of places of residence and businesses, whether on a retail or wholesale basis.
It’s a very grey area but so far the Gardai are happy enough for us to stay open. They’re no more certain than us but are happy to err on the positive side for now.
Work is different though. It’s quieter for one. With travel restrictions footfall is definitely well down. Sales are staying strong as most people coming in are there to buy and the phones are very busy. We’re getting a lot of panicky phone calls, people worried about receiving the products they have ordered and especially upset and demanding when there are delays. We’re getting new orders over the phone too though.
It’s November! Lockdown from March-May was made a lot easier due to the long, bright days with long periods of warm, dry weather. November is different in all ways and the last two weeks have been especially wet and stormy. Combined with the end of DST it’s creating a very different mental health challenge for anyone off work due to Covid closures.
Travel restrictions. In full lockdown we weren’t allowed to travel more than 2km from home unless it was for an essential task (food shopping, care for a relative, etc). This time it’s 5km which is the same as one of the earlier levels as we exited lockdown.
This restriction is pretty pointless to be honest. It’s completely arbitrary with no scientific basis and completely messes up any cycling plans if you intend to honour it. Last time many people ignored this restriction and my impression is that it will be broadly ignored this time also. The 20km limit from before would have been more appropriate and more widely accepted. An unenforceable and impractical restriction like this makes it more likely that the more important isolation and distancing restrictions will be ignored also.
The Audax Ireland RRTY Challenge has been suspended once again until Level 5 is lifted. Probably just as well as my activity level has declined significantly over the last few weeks, partly due to the terrible weather but also laziness!
People are pissed off. This to me is the biggest change. Earlier in the year people were frightened but mostly willing to trust the government to make the right choices and bring everyone through the crisis together. This time people are angry. The overall feeling is that lockdown didn’t work and that the time since lockdown hasn’t been used properly to prepare for the expected second wave. All the pain people went through and the financial costs have been pointless if we’re simply expected to go through it all again and possibly once again in the future. Businesses are closing and many are worried about being able to reopen. People are being laid off and are worried about ever getting back to work.
The political climate has changed. Between lockdowns we’ve had a change of government. We have a new Taoiseach and an historic coalition government. However, the new government has been beset with problems from the get go and hasn’t handled them particularly well. We have a changed opposition that seems less inclined to provide support to the government than before and more interested in political posturing without any positive moves. All of this is hampering the Covid message, making it less likely that restrictions will be followed and making more people angry with the situation.
The expectation is that we will exit Level 5 restrictions on the 1st of December and possibly before that as there is a planned review after four weeks. The government plan is that all counties will return to Level 3 in time to have a reasonably normal Christmas. Somehow I don’t see it but I really hope I’m proved wrong!
On Friday last week the government announced that we were moving forward into Phase 2 of the “Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business” on Monday as expected. What wasn’t expected was that the roadmap would be adjusted from 5 to 4 phases and with some accelerated restriction relaxation giving us the snappily named “Phase 2 Plus“.
What was expected was that retail stores were finally allowed to re-open meaning I was fully back to work on Monday morning.
It was very weird going back to work. Everyone was quite anxious about what it would be like, how busy it would be, how we would all cope with the new requirements and changes and how safe everyone would be. This was compounded by the physical changes in the store as a lot of the store had been refitted and painted during lockdown and lots of the displays had been rearranged. It was great to see everyone again and catch up with them but it was amazing how much I’d forgotten about products and the computer system. To me it felt like we had all started a new job on the same day.
In general we’ve been very busy. Nothing unmanageable and so far we haven’t needed to close the doors or enforce a queue outside. It’s been fairly steady and most people know pretty much what they want before coming in. Wednesday was one of the biggest sales days for many years and Saturday was the same. The other days have been like a series of very busy Saturdays and even busier than a peak period like January Sale. I had my own biggest ever personal sales day yesterday so I’ve bounced back pretty quickly and haven’t lost it completely during lockdown.
The downside of all this work business is that it is now interfering with my fitness training 😆 The level of business is tiring as is just being back to work, my step count is way up and I could really feel it at the end of each day in terms of lack of energy as well as tired and sore feet and legs. Work also means less free time and mix that with bad weather on my day off on Wednesday and today is the first time I’ve been able to get out on my bike for over a week.
It has been much easier to keep running and I’ve now finished WK10 of None2Run meaning this week I’ve been running a full non-stop 20min after my warmup walk which I’m really pleased with. I went out twice this week at 6am and the plan is to do that 3 times each week. I much prefer the mornings rather than trying to muster the energy and motivation in the evenings after work.
The surprise change in the government’s announcement was that instead of relaxing the 5km limit to 20km we are now permitted unrestricted movement within our own county and 20km into another county if we live close to a county border. This meant that today’s spin was a much more normal route taking in towns and roads that I haven’t ridden for a very long time – September 2019!
After a break of 10 days and working all week I had pretty low expectations for today but managed to surprise myself. All the extra steps and running must have had a positive impact as I had an average speed of 27.6km/h over 72km with 505m of climbing. Pretty sure it was my fastest time over that route and I really enjoyed it despite getting soaked twice in very heavy thundery showers. It was a pleasure to ride a regular route without repetition and to be able to stop for a tea break 3/4 of the way around.
The incoming week is forecast to be dry again so the plan is to keep up the running and get two, possibly three, spins on the bike.
1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2. a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter
3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile:
4. a member of the same nation, party, etc.
When does someone become more than someone you know and become a friend? In today’s world do you have to know someone in real life to call them a friend?
I have a number of different groups of friends and a lot of them I haven’t met. I have a small number of very good friends that I have known for a long time and are very important in my life. I have friends that I know through work both past and present and from past times such as the cycling club and geocaching. Some of them I interact with in person and some online only now. Then I have “virtual friends“, people I only know from an online perspective and have never met. Some of these are from Facebook/WhatsApp groups that have similar interests to me and others I have interacted with through blogs.
Over the last few months I’ve been interacting with these virtual friends more than my real life friends as a result of the lockdown and restricted movement. It may sound strange to describe them as friends but through the blogs and posts I get to see inside their lives, to varying degrees, interact with some of them and share some of my own life. Some of them, like the None2Run Facebook group, provide support and motivation as I work through that program, very much like regular friends do.
I don’t know when someone becomes a friend but I do know that the last three months would have been much more difficult without them – all of them.
Header image by Pixabay from pexels.com
After a couple of false starts with any luck this will finally be my last week in lockdown. Phase 1 of the government’s roadmap appears to be going according to plan and we should be going back to work on Phase 2 starting on Monday 8th June.
It will be a full 3 months since I’ve been at work as my last day was 5th March, just before I went to Switzerland.
Looking back it’s been a pretty productive time. We did a lot about the house with a lot of work completed outside and some changes made inside. We’ve had a lot of family time and I think that we’re all the better for it. I’ve also had a lot of spare time and while I’ve filled it with a lot of cycling, running and walking I’ve also had lots of time for reading, films and TV.
Click on the show name for the IMDb link
Better Call Saul ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Created by the same people behind the very popular Breaking Bad this takes the shady and corrupt lawyer, Saul Goodman, and goes way back to 2002 to explain who he really was and how he became the character he is in Breaking Bad.
As well as detailing the life of Jimmy McGill and his conversion to Saul Goodman it also acts as a prequel to Breaking Bad. There are a lot of the same characters and their back stories are also detailed explaining some of the untold stories. If you are thinking of watching this I’d recommend Breaking Bad first. Otherwise you will miss the significance of a lot of the characters and events.
In my opinion Better Call Saul is a much superior show to Breaking Bad. The characters are better defined and more likeable (I never liked Walt!) and the story lines better written. I liked Breaking Bad but I loved Better Call Saul.
Loosely based on the excellent series of detective books by Michael Connelly the series is based around an LAPD detective called Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch played by Titus Welliver. Harry is a cop with a very clear moral code but skates very close to the edge and enjoys the grey zone.
One of the best shows I’ve watched for a long time. Takes a little while to reconcile the Harry from the books with the one from the show as Welliver looks very different and brings his own style to the character. Also the books are set in the early 90s while the show is set in present time. An example of this is that Harry is a Vietnam veteran in the books but a Gulf War/Afghanistan veteran in the show. Once you get over some of the character differences the show is equally as good as the books.
Gangs of London ⭐⭐⭐
I can’t make my mind up about this show. It’s based on an organised crime gang family that controls all the other criminal gangs in London. The head of the family is murdered and his son inherits the family and the task of finding out who killed his father while holding the empire together.
The production quality is excellent and it’s obvious that Sky have spent a lot of money on this with the filming and the very recognisable cast. However, I’m struggling with it a bit. The storyline is quite disjointed and I’m struggling to keep track of the many different gangs and characters. In fact one entire episode simply stepped away from the main story entirely and although it was still linked I struggled to work out the reason behind it. It’s also a very graphically violent show that could put many off. In fact the episode I mentioned above was particularly violent and bloody although very well filmed.
I’m still watching Season 1 so possibly may change my rating and review once I get to the end.
Now in Season 8 and after 9 years this immensely popular and highly acclaimed show has drawn to a very appropriate finish. I’m glad about this as it has been through so many different story variations that it was beginning to look difficult how it could keep reinventing itself.
Throughout all the different storylines the central plot follows CIA operative Carrie Matthews and her struggles with both her mental health (bipolar disorder) and her inability to persuade the CIA that she sees more than they do. Her friendship with Saul, CIA Director and eventually National Security Advisor, and his role as both advocate and handler doesn’t always work in her favour but provides the backbone of the entire series.
I struggled with this show at times and almost gave up in the middle of one season as it seemed to have lost itself. However, it is definitely worth sticking with as it finishes in style.
House of Cards ⭐⭐⭐⭐
We came late to this show, only starting to watch it recently, as it started in 2013 and ran until 2018 when it was brought to a close following the sex scandal involving Kevin Spacey.
It follows the rise to ultimate power engineered by the highly ambitious and completely ruthless Frank and Claire Underwood. It’s a fascinating view of American politics and how politics in general can be manipulated for personal gain.
Despite being a completely despicable and downright nasty individual the show is filmed and produced in such a way that you begin to like Frank (especially his trademark addresses to the camera) and even want to see him succeed. Frank and Claire are perfectly suited to each other and every bit as nasty and it’s riveting to see how they scheme together.
We’re approaching the end of the penultimate Season 5 and while the show was brought to an unplanned halt I do feel that it may have been a hidden benefit. With the rise to power accomplished I feel the story was beginning to run out of steam and this was better in the long run.
Killing Eve ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Now in its third season this show follows MI5 security operative Eve Pollard and her search for Villanelle the elusive Russian assassin. As they get closer the two of them develop a morbid and repelling attraction for each other that neither want but can’t let go.
This show is like nothing else I’ve seen on TV. Brilliantly written it is full of fantastic characters but all of them are overshadowed by Eve and even more so by the comically insane and completely unstable Villanelle. Her innovative and off the wall assassinations and her character in general makes this show the 5⭐ performance it is.
I’m not really into superhero type films and TV shows but really enjoyed this one. It’s a spinoff from Marvel’s Daredevil where The Punisher first appears.
The Punisher is Frank Castle, a US Army veteran and vigilante. His back story isn’t covered in this show, the expectation is that you have watched Daredevil already. It left me feeling I’d missed something for quite a bit and I may have given a higher rating otherwise.
The two main characters of Frank and Micro are really well cast and played well. They work well together and suit the characters. I’ve seen Joe Bernthal (Frank) as Shane in The Walking Dead and didn’t like him in that role. This time he’s perfect.
The rest of the cast is also very good with Madani and Curtis being particularly noticeable. In fact Billy Russo was the only performance I didn’t particularly rate throughout the first season.
So far only two seasons have been released with no expectation of a third. I’ve only watched Season 1 which makes me wonder if the second is as good.
A must for any Star Trek fan this is the first venture into the Next Generation story since Star Trek: Nemesis and is set 18 years later. Captain Jean Luc Picard is now retired and living on his family estate in France. He’s tormented by the loss of Data and the destruction of Romulus and pretty much secluded from the world.
His seclusion is interrupted by his appearance in a media interview and the arrival of a strange young woman who turns out to be a synthetic and somehow connected to Data. This begins a new chapter in the life of Picard as he is forced to confront his past to secure a future for the synthetics.
This is a great show. It’s fantastic to see the Star Trek universe brought back to the TV screen with such polish and enthusiasm. Some of the acting is a bit wooden at times and I wouldn’t have missed some of the characters but highly enjoyable overall and I look forward to seeing what a second season will bring.
Marty Byrde is a Chicago based financial planner that is working to launder money for a Mexican drug cartel. His partner attempts to cheat the cartel of $8 million and when the scheme falls apart Marty makes a deal to save his family and relocates them to the Ozarks in Missouri.
The story then is all about how Marty and his wife Wendy try to first of all save themselves from the cartel and then make themselves indispensable.
This show is chock full of brilliant storylines and great characters. It has won numerous awards and all well deserved.
At times it can be difficult to watch and it is filmed in a distinctive low light quality that creates tension but it’s all worth it.
Sons of Anarchy ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Another show that was long finished by the time I got around to watching it. It ran from 2008-2014 and follows the lives of an outlaw motorcycle gang in the fictional town of Charming, Southern California.
The show ran for a total of seven seasons and to be honest it was probably two too many. It’s definitely a show of its time with many storylines that have aged badly and some that have been badly actioned.
The main focus of the story is Jax Teller, son of the founder of SAMCRO, and his family. Jax constantly struggles with his loyalty to the Club, his desire to see them become more legitimate than outlaw and how this conflicts with his need to protect his family. Jax tries to live in both worlds and is doomed to failure as he gives in to the violence in his nature.
Seasons 1 and 2 were a real eye opener for me. I hadnt watched anything similar before and the storylines were really exciting and novel. Season 3 and 4 were very poor. The whole Irish connection was terrible, bad storylines, terrible research for authenticity, shocking accents and in general actors that looked very uncomfortable in their roles. I have a feeling that if it wasn’t for lockdown I may have given up at that stage! Season 5 picks up with a shift in storyline and by the time Season 6 comes around you have to see it through to the end and it does have a definitive end. It’s not a fairytale ending but it suits the show and fits well.
There is an ongoing spinoff series called Mayans MC that I haven’t yet watched and rumours of a reboot focusing on Jax’s sons.
The Mandalorian ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A space Western loosely based on the bounty hunter character from the original Star Wars films. Fully reviewed already in an earlier blog post: this is the way
An historical drama that is inspired by the sagas of Ragnar Lothbrok, an ancient Norse hero. It portrays Ragnar’s rise to power, the Norse invasion of Britain and after his death the story of his sons.
Officially it’s six seasons but with Seasons 4-6 split into 2 sets of 10 episodes it’s effectively nine and probably too many.
🔴SPOILER ALERT🔴 When it started it was something completely different and novel and really grabbed everyone’s imagination. I can’t remember if it sparked a Viking trend or came close to the beginning but it’s definitely part of it now. The massive success of the show has forced it to keep running but the storyline changed so completely with the death of Ragnar in Season 4 that I feel it lost itself at that stage. Season 5 was still good but nowhere like the previous four. Season 6 is definitely the weakest of all and I’m pretty much watching it now just to see how it ends. The core Ragnar story would definitely be 5 Star 🟢SPOILER END🟢
Everything I’ve read about Viking/Norse culture suggests that women played a vital role in the community as landowners, rulers and warriors as well as mothers. This is definitely portrayed in the show with Lagertha being the obvious character but many other strong female characters. Refreshing to see in modern TV.
Having successfully completed May’s Metric Challenge spin on Friday I was more determined than ever to remedy the fact I missed out on April. That was done this morning with a repeat of Friday’s route.
Not much changed from Friday. It felt a lot warmer at the start, the breeze was definitely stronger but there was significantly less traffic and a lot more bikes.
It seems like everyone has given up on the 5kfromhome limit but at least the majority were solo, in pairs or groups of 4 with at least an effort at social distancing. I only saw one large group of 9/10 who were tightly grouped and giving no regard to the restrictions.
Today’s spin has also given me a monthly total of 472km. Admittedly more than half of that has been in the last week but that’s my biggest monthly total since October 2018. I have to go back to 2016 to see consistently high mileage like that with only 3 months exceeding this month, or getting close, between now and December 2016.
Phase 2 of the relaxation of the lockdown restrictions is due to start on June 8th and from that date we will be allowed to travel up to 20km from home for exercise. There’s also talk in the media that this may be removed completely ahead of schedule but even at 20km my June Metric spin should be less repetitive and more like a traditional ride.
My March 100km spin was done under the 2km lockdown restriction. This was still in place up to the end of April and I just couldn’t raise the motivation to repeat the March experience which wasn’t enjoyable at all.
This month the restriction was relaxed to 5km from home. Doesn’t sound like much but it opened up one good route. It also allows the option of the main road between Killygordon and Castlefinn. Combining this and the hillier route over the last couple of weeks I’ve managed to get my cycling back up to a decent level again and have even begun to enjoy it! In April I’d only managed 161km but up until yesterday morning I had almost 270km for May.
All this additional cycling had given me the legs, the confidence and the motivation to make sure I didn’t miss the May 100km.
Yesterday was forecast to be the hottest day of the year so far with temperatures set to hit 25-28°C during the afternoon. That might seem low to many but for us it’s about 10°C warmer than usual. I didn’t want to have much climbing so I decided to use the figure 8 loop I’d used for shorter spins. This goes between Killygordon and Castlefinn using both sides of the river and an additional crossing in approximately the middle at Liscooley. It’s a rolly kind of road with a couple of short steep climbs but at 135m of elevation in 17km it’s as flat as it gets around here.
I decided that I also didn’t fancy the climb up to our house for breaks or at the finish so drove down and parked the car at the picnic stop just outside Killygordon. This worked really well as I was able to break the spin into 3 chunks. At 35km I stopped for a quick break to replenish my bottle and eat a bar. At 70km I stopped for a proper break and something more substantial. A cool bag with food and water in the boot was perfect to keep everything chilled and provide me with a cold bottle each time I stopped. Lunch sitting under the shade of a tree was very pleasant and there was a much reduced temptation to stop altogether as I wasn’t at home.
As an additional bonus I was able to finish the final loop slightly shorter, avoid the climb up from Liscooley Bridge and stay on the main road all the way from Castlefinn to Killygordon.
In the end up I felt pretty good at the finish. There was a bit of a breeze (about 20km/hr from SSE) that was a pain when it was a headwind but the short loop meant it didn’t last long and it helped reduce the effects of the worst of the heat and gave me a nice boost on the opposite side of the loop. Last night my legs were tired but with the lack of climbing it was very little compared to other recent and shorter spins and didn’t prevent me going for a run this morning. All in a very enjoyable spin and a completely different experience to March!