Foyle riders took to roads far and near on a week-end which turned fairly wintry and made for challenging conditions.
Saturday’s 0900 departure from TSC saw 14 eager and enthusiastic souls venture forth on a ride which took in Donemana, Artigarvan, Clady and Carrigans.
The tone of the day was set early as being buffeted by squally showers and unfavourable winds we experienced our first puncture of the day close to Prehen woods. Chalking up the first misadventure to soft Schwalbe compound we headed on to Donemana where new man Bermuda Neil looking good on a well restored Mercian classic called us to a halt for a necessary change to the second flat tyre of the day.
The winter conditions were not making our ride easy and trying to generate some warmth we picked up the pace as we dashed down the hill past Leckpatrick and onto the main Derry road. Simon signalled that we were headed for Clady and whilst fireman Chris, Neil and Eamonn briefly flirted with a shorter route for home we reconvened our peloton and took the quieter Urney road which lead us to the sleepy hamlet of Clady.
Charlie was next man to increase the puncture tally when we reached the outskirts of Lifford for the second time. Several of our group here grew disgruntled with these setbacks and headed on whilst Terry, Eamonn, Shaun, Simon, and your scribe remained faithful to the club PRO and helped to get him back on the road.
Thankfully this was the last delay we were to encounter and we sailed back to Derry under the shelter of a very favourable wind picking up young Gareth who had been dropped by the first group and was well pleased to see us arrive on the scene.
Terry and Eamonn headed over Sheriff’s mountain for some hill training. Charlie and I headed for the coffee shop which was deserted except for our two firemen, Chris and Peter, and new man Michael who were only slightly ahead of us. We gratefully warmed ourselves and once again contemplated the relative merits of various rubber compound. The final tally in the puncture stakes was: Schwalbe, Conti, and Vredstein one apiece. Inconclusive in the extreme!
Today seemed like it might be a better day than Saturday but in truth it wasn’t!! Only 7 of us assembled this morning and we were lured northwards by that man of many words, Frankie D. His claim to fame as one of the fittest athletes in the region is hard to argue but I would be loath to compare his ability to select good riding routes!
As we headed north to Moville we were blown along by an ever strengthening wind and could see storm clouds ahead, the harbinger of sleet and heavy rain which was soon upon us. Such omens spelt a hard day’s riding ahead and fate did not disappoint us!
Frankie, Larry and Paul B quickly turned about face when Moville was reached and headed for home. We four, Terry, Ciaran O’D., and Eamonn kept going to Carn with the option of there heading for Buncrana.
The weather gods now unleashed their full fury on us. Heading over this undulating road to the capital of Inishowen we were buffeted by the icy wind, and dashed by a mixture of rain and hail. Our riding fortitude was tested to the extreme but we kept going. Your scribe was suffering but spirits were kept high by the unceasing stories poured forth by master raconteur Terry D.
Thankfully the Carn to Quigley’s Point road brought with it a following wind and a slight improvement in conditions. Terry kept telling stories, Eamonn and Ciaran lead us out manfully. We reached the Ture straight feeling more human It had been a tough day in the saddle but we had warm showers and hot drinks soon to come. Our lot in life was really fairly good.
Simon, Lawrence, Aaron,Chris, Donal and Ritchie planned a day mountain biking in Belfast. No news yet of their day’s work.
See you on the road.