Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ballycastle to Belfast June 15, 2016

Today’s ride was another spectacular ride.  After a wonderful breakfast in the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle  we jumped on our bikes and headed off at 9:00 am.  

The climbing of 1083 meters for the ride was all in the first 35 kms of the 117kms.  There was a series of about four large hills, each one larger than the previous one.  The 2014 Giro rode through here however they avoided a couple of the roads we took as the downhills were considered too steep, too winding and therefore too dangerous.  Coming from the north we were faced with sections of up to 17% which paled in comparison to the downhill on the south side which had to be in the order of 30%. I had my brakes on full and was still accelerating in several spots.  Thankfully the road was in excellent shape and I was never in any danger as the next uphill quickly checked my speed.

The views of the valleys and cliffs were absolutely breath taking.  The sun had broken through and was highlighting the ocean and green fields.  Don’t take my word for it just Google “Glens of Antrim” and see for yourself.  It is no wonder there are songs of this area. 

After we got down to Cusbendun we were right down to sea level.  The road followed right along the ocean.  There was a sea wall which was an old stone wall and then there was the beach or at most a series of retaining walls on which the road had been built. 

So not to brag about what a great ride this was but let me describe what the conditions were; the sun was blazing down so it was nice and warm, the road surface was excellent, the road was almost totally dead flat, the wind was blowing from the north at a strady 25-30 kms so we had a great tail, and the scenery was drop dead gorgeous.  This condition lasted all the way down to Carrickfegus which was probably in the order of 65 kms.

At Carrickfergus  is the Carrickfegus castle which is a huge castle that was the center of power in the region.  We didn’t go in but stopped to look at the castle and admire the huge structure.  It is truly amazing that these structures would have been abandon.

At Carrickfegus there is a bike trail which runs right into the center of Belfast.  So we jumped on the bike trail and rode the last 10 km straight into the hotel. 

This was definitely one of the rides which will be bragged about when it comes to the telling of bike stories.



Liz said...

Wishing we were there with you - your commentary is wonderful. Enjoy your last week ;)

Gail said...

This just sounds like THE perfect day. A day you and your buddies really deserve. It's great it is coming near the end of your ride and keeps you cheery as you keep on going with your journey. Lovely description!