I revisited Slieve Croob this morning, almost a year to the day since I first cycled over it. I remember the panting and wheezing that accompanied my climb on that occasion, and the zigzagging from one side of the road to the other to try and reduce the gradient.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that in the intervening year either my climbing has improved, or Slieve Croob has been lowered! I even had a gear to spare on the steepest sections (only the one, mind you!). Comparing the two rides, I spent less time in the higher heartrate zones on this trip, and still managed the route in a slightly quicker time.
The gusting headwind did make the return to Belfast a bit of a slog, and the addition of a flurry of hailstones at one point helped prepare me for the Scottish summer. In all, a good morning’s work.