The day started with an unexpected trip to Donegal Town. The weather was snowy and icy and Catriona was worried about driving to work and what the conditions would be like afterwards. I agreed to drive her instead. On the way back I stopped to admire the fantastic view of Barnes Gap from the shores of Lough Mourne.
Getting home around 1130am it was clear that a 100km cycle was going to have to involve the implementation of Plan C. I’d decided the night before to abandon Plan A which was a repeat of the Club Lap The Finn route from earlier in the year. The western section around Fintown is too mountainous and pretty much guaranteed to be snowy and/or icy based on the weather forecast that included a Yellow Warning for ice and snow.
Plan B was a repeat of my February spin doing two repeats of the Ballybofey to Strabane loop taking in both sides of the river. However, the back road was still icy and slippery at 1130am and the shady areas were likely to stay that way all day.
Plan C was to avoid the back road entirely, drive down to Killygordon and just do two repeats of the main road between Stranorlar and Lifford. Stranorlar to Lifford and back is 40km so riding from Killygordon to Stranorlar first and back to the car at the end gave me 50km. Not the most exciting or inspiring of routes but mostly flat at least.
Using the car as my base camp also gave me a warm dry location for lunch. A packed lunch and flask of tea got over the problem of the restaurants and coffee shops closed under the latest Covid19 restrictions.
To relieve the boredom of the route I put on my Bluetooth earphones and listened to the radio. I’m one of the few that don’t have an issue with earphones on the bike. At any speed the wind means I usually can’t hear approaching traffic anyway and I don’t think not wearing them would save me from a rear end crash. I don’t wear them in town as they’re too much of a distraction when full concentration is needed. Yesterday it was left ear only as with both earphones in I could hardly hear anything at all under my skull cap! It did make it difficult to distinguish between traffic approaching from the front or rear though.
Apart from the ice and snow it was a perfect day for cycling. Bright and sunny, hardly a breath of wind and almost completely rain free. The downside is that in December that equals bitterly cold. It took a long time to warm up at the start and just after lunch with hands and feet getting the worst of it. Starting later than planned meant darkness was falling close to the end. The last 30min were close to 0°C with windchill well below that and the last 10min were far too close to darkness to feel comfortable or safe without good lights and hi viz. Thankfully quieter roads and blinkies saw me finish safely.
So 2020 Metric Challenge complete. Roll on 2021 with a repeat but this year they’ll all be done within the correct month🤞