Riders :- Sinbad Loaghtan and Hamish Loaghtan

To miss riding out on such a beautiful day and with near perfect conditions would have been remiss, let alone a crime of scandalous proportions! So it was a meet up at Sinbad’s and off the two of us went. Usual warm up road section up to Clypse and on up the saturating and ever changing topography of Honey Hill – The aim was to take in an inspection of the trail building developments in Conrhenny. Upon arrival we spotted a familiar sight, a ‘Fit 4 Hire’ van! Was this one of the franchisees of the ever growing fitness empire of Pete Loaghtan? Or was it the Dragon himself – A bit of an investigate and there he was lurking in the shadows of the pine forest like Big Foot, but with more poise and elegance trying the new bridges and trails, newly constructed some 24 hours earlier! Pete Loaghtan was taking his team out for training! Advance notice has since been telegraphed to Paddy Powers where ‘Team Fit 4 Hire’s’ odds have been slashed due to the revelation of stealth training! Bit more banter and a quick lap of the new trails and off we headed out of the plantation and through the monster swamp of stench in the direction of Barrose leaving Pete Loaghtan and team with the sure knowledge that the course would no doubt change, due to weather and with steeper man made drop ins!!!!

More oncoming uphill traffic on Barrouse cooled our decent a bit and on down to the LA for a refreshing ‘Black Sheep’ – Then Douglas bound via the Raad ny Foillan around the back of Kind Edwards bay – It was here that I broke one of my own golden rules while out biking, which is never re-mount the bike from the down hill!! so down I went with a greater collapse then the West Indies opening batting line up! – Luckily ‘Mr. Helmet cam’ was some yards ahead and missed my gravitational exercise! A lovely swooping and undulating path route brought us around the back of the houses with views overlooking the sparkling seas of the bay of Costa Del Douglas – On rounding a sharp right hander I stumbled across a bike in mid track with no rider to be seen! I recognised the bike and realised my traveling companion had rounded the corner a little ‘too bright’ as is his wont, and off he went down the some what steep gorse clad cliff face. Eventually he submerged from the undergrowth like Private Pike on the closing credits of Dads Army, twittering on about sun bathing or something! – Safely on and along Douglas Prom through a melee of families and various promenaders out enjoying the seasonal climate and on via North Quay and up Head Road – Here I noticed a break away from the peloton by Sinbad. We re-grouped and carried on along Marine Drive – A good while into the ride now and no complaints of sore hoops! What’s going on I wondered!? We passed the vacant lot of the TT guest who camps on the cliff edge, who, either has not arrived yet or has fallen into the sea!! My esteemed Coast Guard advisor assured me that there had been no reported ‘tent collapses’ to his knowledge. It was once again on the road, on up to the accent out of Port Soderick (my nemesis hill!!) that Sinbad Loaghtan admitted he was looking forward to the climb to assess whether his new medication would aid and assist his climbing abilities – and off he went up the hill as quick as a bride could take off her nighty!! I was left in his wake cursing that dammed hill! But at the top ‘Hooperman’ was brimming with delight and was handing out the slo gin in celebration! Who says ‘drugs don’t work’!!?? A nice run down Oak Hill, which is in the driest condition I have ever ridden it – In fact it was a pleasure to coast through the river crossing just to cool the feet!

The final destination was The Railway Inn, via Ballacotch via Gadge Loaghtan’s for a water stop. As family Gadge were all out, or all fast asleep! we helped ourselves to a garden tap refill and headed off to complete the circuit to our reward – pleasantly refreshed and the world put to rights Sinbad Loaghtan, with his new lungs, headed off home from the Railway Inn and I was sent to the corner shop at 5pm on a sunny Sunday to get burger baps for the BBQ – of which there was as much chance of getting as there was of the weather staying hot and sunny for TT!!!!

Hamish Loaghtan