So we’re back in the saddle. An hour’s bus journey to about 15km outside Belfast where we found our artic’ full of bikes waiting for us. Unloaded and back on the bikes, we started out slow, flanked by our motorcycle marshals and a phalanx of PSNI motorbikes.
Every marshal we passed I looked in the eye and thanked – these are the guys who enabled this. A brief nod or a smile in return.
What looked like an easy climb ahead was a tougher drag than it should have been on tired legs, maybe the rest day wasn’t good for them. Hitting the top of that, the view ahead of us down into Belfast was spectacular.
Coming down the fabulous switchbacks for the 5 or 10 minute descent I was on both brakes all the way, wishing I could let loose, could easily hit 65 or 70 on this one.
Lots of smiles and waves from the locals as we passed out of the countryside and into the city proper.
We got a super welcome coming into the New Life church hall and the hot food was welcome, despite the short spin in.
I do get the feeling that spirits are low in some quarters, there are extra stresses and pressures on the crew which they’re allowing to show through. We’re in less familiar territory geographically and emotionally. Trying to lift people a bit, without being annoying or patronising. It is a challenging cycle today, for totally different reasons. We’ll carry on and hopefully a longer afternoon spin will help clear the heads as we turn to head south east. We’ll deal with it.