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chasm

Tour of Ireland challenge

I'm thinking of making the Tour of Ireland sportive my target for next year. Here's a link for anyone who might not have heard of it.

http://www.tourofireland.eu/home.htm

It looks great, and got a terrific write-up in Cycling Weekly. I was wondering if anyone here had done it this year, or knew someone who had. kellyrocheearly, perhaps?
CapeRoadie

Re: Tour of Ireland challenge

chasm wrote:
I'm thinking of making the Tour of Ireland sportive my target for next year. Here's a link for anyone who might not have heard of it.

http://www.tourofireland.eu/home.htm

It looks great, and got a terrific write-up in Cycling Weekly. I was wondering if anyone here had done it this year, or knew someone who had. kellyrocheearly, perhaps?


I haven't, but Ireland is next on my European travel plans. A May trip to bike ride sounds grand. Maybe. Thanks for the link, chasm.
chasm

Re: Tour of Ireland challenge

CapeRoadie wrote:

I haven't, but Ireland is next on my European travel plans. A May trip to bike ride sounds grand. Maybe. Thanks for the link, chasm.


If you decide to do it, post and we might go round together. Registration opens 1 November and given that the numbers are restricted to 500, I guess it will fill up pretty fast.
kellyrocheearly

i've never done it but i know a lot of the roads. The stage into Cavan will be all up and down towards the end into Cavan town as its quite lumpy around there. Also the last stage is tough from Hacketstown till Baltinglass as youre in the Wicklow mountains and the roads tend to be heavy & slow around there.
The scenery is also amazing around Galway/Kilkenny and Wicklow. I'd definetly have a 39x23/25 for the hills as there will be some short steep sections.
Enjoy!!
bianchigirl

KRE, amazing scenery it is - I'm pretty well travelled but, driving through those hills one summer's eve with the sky streaked pink and purple and the stillness of the air I don't think I've ever felt so much at one with the landscape.

Come to think of it, Tom has never met all the family in Galway - that's next year's vacances sorted then Wink
kellyrocheearly

Galway is a great place, lovely city, coastline and the weird but wonderful landscape of Connemara.
chasm

http://www.tourofireland.eu/home.htm

They have opened the registration for this event. I've paid my deposit and am in. 467 miles in 4 days, with full supporting facilities including broom wagon etc. Should be good: and it should certainly provide a sufficient incentive to keep myself in shape during the winter.

They've set a maximum entry of 500 cyclists, so book early to avoid disappointment. You have to raise (or contribute) 600 euros for their charity to take part, but are then supplied with free accommodation, food etc for the duration of the event. Any takers?
crash48

The Wicklow mountains are a nice place to ride.

I did some riding around there last year with a mate who lives in Greystains. It is hard riding but well worth it.

Nice part of the world and Dublin is very close.
kellyrocheearly

crash48 wrote:
The Wicklow mountains are a nice place to ride.

I did some riding around there last year with a mate who lives in Greystains. It is hard riding but well worth it.

Nice part of the world and Dublin is very close.


What climbs did you ride?? Gotta keep an eye out descending for any stray sheep!
chasm

kellyrocheearly wrote:

What climbs did you ride?? Gotta keep an eye out descending for any stray sheep!


Don't!! After being almost killed by a sheep while descending at 40mph in Scotland a month ago, another one jumped out in front of me on a (thankfully) less fast descent in Northumberland last week. Some ovine Mr Big clearly has a contract out on me. Somewhere out there there's a homicidal sheep with my name on it.
paperman

I'll be doing the tour. Lucky I took a look in here, the site said registration was not opening until November!!!!!. No printer so I'll have to download/print and post off my registration form during the week. If places still there by wednesday I'm in.
chasm

paperman wrote:
I'll be doing the tour. Lucky I took a look in here, the site said registration was not opening until November!!!!!. No printer so I'll have to download/print and post off my registration form during the week. If places still there by wednesday I'm in.


Excellent. I'll introduce myself at the pre-tour dinner and buy you a Guinness. Ideal pre-race food, loaded with carbohydrate and iron.
Bartali

Good luck Chasm and Paperman! Looks like a great sportive, but I think my target will be the Marmotte in July and I can't spread myself too thin.
Slapshot

I am seriously thinking about it!!!!! sounds great!!!
paperman

chasm wrote:
paperman wrote:
I'll be doing the tour. Lucky I took a look in here, the site said registration was not opening until November!!!!!. No printer so I'll have to download/print and post off my registration form during the week. If places still there by wednesday I'm in.


Excellent. I'll introduce myself at the pre-tour dinner and buy you a Guinness. Ideal pre-race food, loaded with carbohydrate and iron.


Chasm, Be sure you do. I've paid my deposite. I'm assuming this means I'm in, I'll print the registration form tonight and post it tomorrow. Now I have no choice but to be out riding most days, which I'm fine with. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy.

Berg, give it a go.!!!! It'll be great. Avoiding the broomwagon will be my priority, I reckon some of these guys will go like bats out of hell on the first day!!!!! Laughing Laughing
Slapshot

What the hell!!!! I will sign in!!!! life is too short to think twice about this things!!!

And is perfect to keep motivated during winter!!!!
paperman

bergaretxebe wrote:
What the hell!!!! I will sign in!!!! life is too short to think twice about this things!!!

And is perfect to keep motivated during winter!!!!


Nice one...See you there. Very Happy
My motivation will be up now this winter, It'll have to be. The tour will also help keep me in good (ish) shape for my few races next year. And all the sportives, I plan on doing. Very Happy
Slapshot

watch out Ireland, there we go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
chasm

bergaretxebe wrote:
watch out Ireland, there we go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Berg, that's great. I'll try to hold your wheel for the first....20 minutes or so.

Now, get the justcycling jerseys sorted out and we can ride as a team.
forza_petacchi

chasm wrote:
bergaretxebe wrote:
watch out Ireland, there we go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Berg, that's great. I'll try to hold your wheel for the first....20 minutes or so.

Now, get the justcycling jerseys sorted out and we can ride as a team.
Who are you going to for those? Voler? I'd suggest Performance, they have a custom jersey (on thier template) for $40 Sleevless, $50 Short Sleeve.
Slapshot

we are still on talks about the jerseys!!! I hope to have it sorted by the end of the year!
Slapshot

ok, I am officially in!!!!! paid my deposit etc... it is going to be great!!!!! Any more up for the challenge????

would any of you like to sponsor any of us three???
Slapshot

I have found the stage profiles etc...

http://www.cyclosport.org/article.aspx?id=308
paperman

Jersey's? Good idea. Very Happy

Deposit paid, but not being able to fill out the registration form online is a bit of a pain. Also a confirmation email of place in tour would be nice.

Stupid question time, Rolling Eyes is there a way to bring a carbon framed bike on the ferry? I would not be bringing a car...cycling/train to and from ferry on both sides would be the plan. Having seen the way motorcycles are stored on board I would not even consider bringing my motorcycle on a ferry....cracked fairing how are you???? Crying or Very sad
Are bicycles treated better? Wink
Slapshot

I am flying and taking my bike in a proper bike box, those boxes are ideal for carbon fibre bikes.

Regarding the email and the confirmation, I have the same problem, haven´t got one, just confirmation of the payment. I have printed one of the forms, filled in and attached the payment confirmation with it, and sent it back to the org.
kellyrocheearly

paperman wrote:
Jersey's? Good idea. Very Happy

Deposit paid, but not being able to fill out the registration form online is a bit of a pain. Also a confirmation email of place in tour would be nice.

Stupid question time, Rolling Eyes is there a way to bring a carbon framed bike on the ferry? I would not be bringing a car...cycling/train to and from ferry on both sides would be the plan. Having seen the way motorcycles are stored on board I would not even consider bringing my motorcycle on a ferry....cracked fairing how are you???? Crying or Very sad
Are bicycles treated better? Wink


best suggestion would be if you dont have a bike box to call into your local bike shop and see if they'll give you one of the big cardboard boxes they get their bikes delivered in. I did it to get my bike over to Boston and it worked a treat. Just put lots of foam around the tubes for extra padding
Slapshot

+1
paperman

Bike box it is then. Was hoping not to have to use one. Just thinkin of heading abroad with the bike next year, might wait to see how I fair at the above tour.

I'm going to do the same Berg, posting it off tomorrow.
chasm

paperman wrote:
Jersey's? Good idea. Very Happy

Deposit paid, but not being able to fill out the registration form online is a bit of a pain. Also a confirmation email of place in tour would be nice.


After sending the cash I got an e-mail confirming receipt. If you e-mail marc@tourofireland he'll respond.

As for transport, I too will almost certainly be coming in by ferry and I thought I'd bring the bike in a bike bag and just cart it around with me.
Slapshot

have any of you two got any confirmation of your entry????

I haven´t had anything, and I sent and paid last week!!!

I think is Tour of Ireland call time!!!!
paperman

I sent Marc an Email, he replied about two days later confirming my place. I actually only sent my registration form today, it'll get to Donegal tomorrow. My visa card has also being debited for the 300 euro deposit.
chasm

bergaretxebe wrote:
have any of you two got any confirmation of your entry????

I haven´t had anything, and I sent and paid last week!!!

I think is Tour of Ireland call time!!!!


My experience was the same as Paperman's, berg. I think they regard the receipt for the payment as confirmation of your place, but they seem happy enough to confirm if you send them an e-mail.
shimouma

That looks great - going to put it down as a long term goal.

Good luck to the guys with their names down already.
kellyrocheearly

me too!
wont be able to make it next year but the year after i am gonna sign up. It'll be an excuse to show my wife parts of Ireland i havent got round to taking her too yet.
But lads, be prepared for wind & rain
Slapshot

kellyrocheearly wrote:

But lads, be prepared for wind & rain


So the usual thing then.... Laughing Laughing Laughing
kellyrocheearly

for anyone you cant get the time for the Tour of Ireland this is a fantastic alternative and very challenging
http://www.wicklow200.ie/
paperman

I'm doing this also. Should be good.
paperman

BTW Berg You hear anything from the Tour of Ireland people yet? All I got was email from Marc confirming my place and saying I shoud get official confirmation in a week or so.....nothing since almost a month. I know its a long way off yet and I imagine they don't have full time staff.
Slapshot

Nothing at all, I have sent them a couple of emails, but not response, and there is not phone number to ring!!!
paperman

I paid the 300 euro deposit online, which they took. Not paying any more till I hear back. I'd say it could be a while, the no. of places left hasn't been updated on the site since registration opened. I'd say the organisers have it on the long finger for now.
Slapshot

I hope so!!! I did "only" pay the deposit and I wont make any more payments until I get anything from them!!!!
paperman

Ahhh i'd say we're good. thumright Very Happy

Better be. I'm getting ready for it and the wicklow as it is. Looking out for some more sportives too. Be cold but I'm gonna head down the east coast over a few days next month. Very Happy lookin at about 4 hrs riding a day. Dinner two guinness bed and repeat till I get home. Very Happy Very Happy
kellyrocheearly

paperman wrote:
Ahhh i'd say we're good. thumright Very Happy

Better be. I'm getting ready for it and the wicklow as it is. Looking out for some more sportives too. Be cold but I'm gonna head down the east coast over a few days next month. Very Happy lookin at about 4 hrs riding a day. Dinner two guinness bed and repeat till I get home. Very Happy Very Happy


that sounds like a pretty good few days!
Where you headed? Wicklow/Wexford? Some nice little hills around Gorey
paperman

Not sure yet, need to consult my ordnance survey map.

I'll book B+B in a couple of towns on the route. Did it a few years ago on my motorcycle, had a great time. Obviously the bicycle trip will need more planning. But as much of Wicklow hills as I can, a few in Wexford then try to flatten it out heading into Waterford. Then onto Cork. Train back up to Dublin for work. I'll post up my route and any pics I take on the trip, if I manage to buy a digital camera....I don't own one, yet.
Slapshot

Hey!!!

I have the confirmation of my place by post this morning!!!!
Cool Cool
paperman

I was wondering had you??? Thought I'd give it till next week to ask. No need now. Got mine a couple of days ago. Now I can pay the rest of my registration and just turn up at the NCBI offices next may. Very Happy
Slapshot

guys,

Have you noticed that the milage of the first stage has increased from 88 to 115!!!????
Bartali

Laughing  Laughing  Laughing

Hope the training is coming along well!
Slapshot

yes, on two wheels!! Laughing  Laughing  Laughing  Laughing  Laughing  Laughing
paperman

The stages have changed from 88miles, 126 miles, 138 miles, 115 miles to the new mileage of 115, 124, 140, 123.

training is going ok again after a bad season for flu's and stomach bugs of which I got my share. Feb and march will be hard going as will april. Looking forward to it. Started new job they don't want me to go but that not an issue.........I'm going regardless.
chasm

paperman wrote:
The stages have changed from 88miles, 126 miles, 138 miles, 115 miles to the new mileage of 115, 124, 140, 123.


Absolutely! As if I wasn't going to have enough trouble with the previous, shorter distances!

My training too is going OK, though my work makes it difficult to establish a routine so I just have to maximise the opportunities. I don't know about you, but I have never ridden more than 100 miles per day for 4 - or even 3 - successive days, so I'm working on recovery and on maintaining a high cadence to maximise speed and minimse damage.

I must say I'm really looking forward to this. It should be quite an experience.
chasm

Berg, paperman: I don't know how you're travelling to the start, but I'll be flying to and from Dublin with the bike in a bag or (more likely) a box. I contacted the Tour of Ireland people about where I could leave a bike box for the duration of the event and they say it is no problem, there'll be a logistics truck that will take bike + container from Dublin to the start if you want, then carry the container around with the tour for 4 days and return it to you at the finish. Good service!
paperman

Yep chasm I'm gettin the bus on the Thursday from Dublin to the start. So will have my bike in a box with me. Be the same as you.

Hows training going? I'm not so bad but must ramp up a good bit now over next few weeks. I'll be good for it.
paperman

By the way........the two longer stages are the two with the bigger climbs........hmmmm thats great. I must find the exact route maybe ride one of the stages myself first. Stage 3 or 4 will be nice I reckon.
chasm

paperman wrote:

Hows training going? I'm not so bad but must ramp up a good bit now over next few weeks. I'll be good for it.


Training's a bit erratic to tell you the truth. Work keeps getting in the way.
Slapshot

I am flying to Belfast and back from Dublin!! Taking the bike in a box too!!

My training, well, not as much as I would like to!
redster73

Just spent a weekend in Dublin and Kilkenny...my god you need a small fortune to survive!
paperman

Dublin is crazy red I lived there for a few years glad to be out to be honest . Never in kilkenny was it expensive?????
redster73

It's bonkers! £12 for a cocktail in a small Irish town! Most pints of Guiness started at £3.50. It was only on paying the £3 for a small bottle of Tropicana juice that I'd wished we'd pinched the Ireland team shirts we grabbed from their kit man who was on the same floor of the hotel!
Nolte

redster73 wrote:
It's bonkers! £12 for a cocktail in a small Irish town! Most pints of Guiness started at £3.50. It was only on paying the £3 for a small bottle of Tropicana juice that I'd wished we'd pinched the Ireland team shirts we grabbed from their kit man who was on the same floor of the hotel!


it considered itself a city

the now defunct soccer club was Kilkenny City
redster73

Nolte wrote:
redster73 wrote:
It's bonkers! £12 for a cocktail in a small Irish town! Most pints of Guiness started at £3.50. It was only on paying the £3 for a small bottle of Tropicana juice that I'd wished we'd pinched the Ireland team shirts we grabbed from their kit man who was on the same floor of the hotel!


it considered itself a city

the now defunct soccer club was Kilkenny City


1 million euro for a 3 bed semi in town/city no wonder they went bust!

Nice part of the world all the same and looking at the hills wished I'd taken a bike
chasm

I've decided that since I'm intending to kill myself doing the Tour of Ireland, someone may as well benefit from my demise. I'm therefore raising some money for Save the Children (the entry fee means I'm already contributing to the ToI's chosen charity).

If anyone is feeling generous, here's the website through which you can donate.

http://www.justgiving.com/charlesmarshall
chasm

Just four days until the start. Too late now for any more training, this week I just do a few stretches and eat. 500 miles in four days with almost 9000 metres of climbing. Clearly I have a warped idea of a good time.

Paperman, have you received your joining instructions yet? I got mine on Friday. I must say that it looks to be superbly well organised. And if you have any notion of staying with the front group, I'm afraid you won't be seeing much of me. They have a pro team, and a few ex-pros, riding and the front bunch is expecting to average 22 - 26 mph. Ouch.

By the way, I'm number 130, so if we don't spot each other the evening before, you'll be able to spot the bike.
paperman

Chasm I'll be leaving tomorrow Dublin over night and off on the coach to Lisburn on thurs evening, I got a package in the post today but my number etc are at the start in Lisburn for me.

It is well organised from what I hear. With regard to the front bunch I think I might leave them off. At this time of year I'll be doing no such thing as averaging 38 to 40 km/hr over four days at that mileage thats the kinda thing  TT would like. It'll be more like 26 or 28 km/hr. Having said that I'll see how I'm feeling, the fact I have never done a 4 day event like this before means I am unsure of how to tackle it. Stages three and four will be in the back of my mind too.  As will the fact I was never in danger of becoming a pro rider..... Laughing  Laughing

See you there I guess!!!! I'll look out for yer bike, what is it?? Mines a red Cervelo soloist carbon. I'll give you a few quif for your choosen charity when I see you!!!
last km

Good luck guys, looking forward to your reports, hope you will do a day to day diary for us on jc
Weather prospects look good.....
chasm

paperman wrote:
Chasm I'll be leaving tomorrow Dublin over night and off on the coach to Lisburn on thurs evening, I got a package in the post today but my number etc are at the start in Lisburn for me.

It is well organised from what I hear. With regard to the front bunch I think I might leave them off. At this time of year I'll be doing no such thing as averaging 38 to 40 km/hr over four days at that mileage thats the kinda thing  TT would like. It'll be more like 26 or 28 km/hr. Having said that I'll see how I'm feeling, the fact I have never done a 4 day event like this before means I am unsure of how to tackle it. Stages three and four will be in the back of my mind too.  As will the fact I was never in danger of becoming a pro rider..... Laughing  Laughing

See you there I guess!!!! I'll look out for yer bike, what is it?? Mines a red Cervelo soloist carbon. I'll give you a few quif for your choosen charity when I see you!!!


The bike is a black and white Giant SCR carbon. It's my "second-best" bike, really, but it's the most comfortable and hey - 500 miles is a long way.

I too will be on the coach from Dublin to Lisburn Thursday evening, so I'll see you there.
MAILLOT JAUNE

Good luck and I hope the wind is behind you!!!!
chasm

OK, for those who are interested, here's a report of the Tour of Ireland.

Tour of Ireland Cycle Challenge 2008 – as viewed from the Foyle Express.


Day 1. Lisburn to Cavan, 114 miles, 2331 metres of climbing.


Friday 9 May 2008, about 0830. Close to 200 cyclists of various shapes, sizes and abilities are lined up at the Lisburn Leisureplex awaiting the start. It’s an impressive sight, and if the rest of them are anything like competitor 130 they’re a mixture of excitement and slight apprehension. 500 miles in four days is a long way by my standards, and if you throw in close to 10,000 metres of ascent it’s going to be a tough one.

We start, and are escorted through the town by the police. This is a new experience for me, and the policing and marshalling of the event, on both sides of the border, are to become one of its best features. Escorts through town, traffic held back at junctions to let us pass, it all adds hugely to the safety, as well as the enjoyment, of the riders.

About thirty miles in I’m feeling pretty strong. A few minutes behind the fast group – this is not a time to entertain delusions of grandeur, so I’m going at my own pace – when disaster strikes in the form of a broken chain. Worse still, it drags the rear mech into the wheel and snaps the hanger as well as trashing the mech. Gerry the mechanic rolls up in his van and it takes him about a millisecond to recognise that there’s nothing he can do for me.

For a while it seems that my tour is over after just a couple of hours, and my mood might charitably be described as irritable. But with help from Leo in the broomwagon I locate a bike shop in Newry, and Gerry – my hero – drives me there in the mechanical support van. A few minutes later he, I and the staff are poring over every hanger in the shop, but without success. None of them fit my frame.

I’m not going to abandon, though, so we scour the shop for a bike that will fit me. The only affordable option (though I’d have liked the LaPierre at about two grand!) is a cross bike that is a shade too small but rideable. A few adjustments later, and a fair few quid lighter, and I’m on my way to riding the ToICC on a cyclocross bike (with cyclocross gearing) that doesn’t quite fit me.

Gerry drops me back in just ahead of the last group, and I have a pretty lonely chase in the rain for a couple of hours. At the second feed station, though, I hook up with Sue, Nicholas and a couple of others and we pace one another over the last 25 miles into Cavan. Rich, Matt and Nigel (we met over a Guinness in Dublin on the eve of the event and were now, of course, a team) looked at the new bike and politely concealed their burgeoning doubts about my sanity. I also met Paperman, from justcycling, and had a couple of beers. Pity about the gearing, Paperman.

(Postscript: I discovered something new today, when my heartrate touched 186 on the climb after Newry while I tried to catch up. I’d thought my maximum HR was 185.)

Day 2. Cavan to Galway City, 124 miles, 1339 metres of climbing.

We roll out of Cavan shortly after eight. Once again we are escorted through the rush hour traffic, and the flatness of the terrain means that the early pace is pretty electric. I’m averaging 22 -23 mph for the first 15 miles or so, at which point I come to my senses and remember that even if I had been here to play with the big boys, there’s not a chance of my doing so on a bike that is already beginning to give me an aching back. So I drop off what is still a very large leading group and cruise along for a while with Margaret, a fine woman who is using this tour as a final stage in her training for the race across America!

Margaret and I are just beginning to find it quite hard work pacing one another along when a bunch of about a dozen sweep up behind us, and we are aboard the Foyle Express for the first time. Mark and a few of his clubmates from the Foyle cycling club have acquired a posse of hangers-on and have them organised into a perfectly functioning unit. Mark has a bell on his bike. Every few minutes he rings it, and we move through and off; every single rider taking their turn at the front, an even pace being maintained, everyone calling for holes and generally helping one another out. There are riders here who have rarely if ever ridden in a bunch. Twenty minutes with Mark and you’d swear they’d been on club runs every Sunday for the last ten years.

We keep this up, with pauses for feeding stations, for the next 80 miles into Galway City. Nobody is dropped, nobody breaks the rhythm or hides, it’s an absolute pleasure to cycle with this lot and I resolve to stick with them for the remainder of the tour.

In Galway City most of the riders are staying in the same hotel and I get a stronger impression of what a varied and sociable crowd this is. From the real professional through to the most inexperienced “leisure cyclist”, everyone seems determined to enjoy themselves and make it a social as well as sporting occasion. Nice.

Day 3. Galway to Kilkenny.  140 miles, 2765 metres of climbing.

The day begins with good news. The mechanical support team have scoured Galway’s bike shops for me and have found a hanger to fit my bike. Unfortunately there isn’t time to effect repairs, switch rear mech, etc before the start, so I am again on the cross bike. But at least there’s the prospect of riding my own bike on the final stage.

We set off promptly at 0800, ahead of the fast group – a state of affairs that lasts only about twenty minutes, when one of the bunch punctures. We wait – the Foyle Express leaves nobody behind – and the main bunch sweeps past us. In fact we find ourselves just in front of the broom wagon for a while, until we catch the final bunch – a group which, like ours, has developed its own identity and seems to have a distinct social scene. Rumour has it they stop for coffee and doughnuts when they pass a likely-looking café.

We’re making excellent progress in the same style as yesterday – word is getting round, and there’s now about 20 of us – but today’s stage is decidedly lumpier than yesterday’s and as soon as we are into any half-serious climbing it is clear that I’m in trouble. Trying to put power through what is too cramped a riding position turns the discomfort in my back into acute pain, and by the time two hours have passed I’m barely able to maintain the bunch’s pace. They look after me until we get to the first feeding station at just short of 60 miles, and I take stock. The big hills of the stage are still ahead, and if I continue there’s a real prospect that tomorrow morning my bike will be fixed, but I’ll be injured and unable to ride it. So after consulting a few fellow-riders, and with a real feeling of failure, I abandon the stage.

I’m not the only casualty, so there’s no room in the broom wagon or the mechanical support van. As a result I become a passenger in the refreshment van with Peter and Richie. This experience becomes more interesting than I’d bargained for when, because of the hot weather, we have to establish an unscheduled feeding station about 30 miles from the finish; a task accomplished only with a police escort and truly astronomical speeds over appallingly unsuitable roads to get ahead of the first group. We pass them, at close to 100mph and with the police motorcyclist clearing the way, with minutes to spare, screech to a halt in a parking place in Templemore, throw up the tent, set up the tables and try to look as if we’ve been there all day when the fast men breast the hill about thirty seconds later.

Today has clearly been a seriously tough day, summed up by the remark of a very senior cyclist as he spied the unscheduled stop. “Thank f*** for that, I’m seeing double. I don’t remember going as hard as that when I was racing.”

Today is also Sunday, so the police have completely closed the roads in Kilkenny for the finish. A fabulous experience for the early finishers, and especially the first group, sprinting for the line among noisy crowds as if this were a GT.

Incidentally, an honourable mention for the Hibernian, Ormonde Street, Kilkenny. A magnificent traditional bar serving, of course, magnificent traditional Guinness.

Day 4. Kilkenny to Dublin. 129 miles, 3474 metres of climbing.

Just to add insult to injury, this stage was lengthened by about 6 miles at the last minute.

It’s a beautiful day, so we’ll have a chance to make the most of the scenery in the Wicklow mountains. It also means that sunscreen and lots and lots of water are in order. Most of all, though, it’s a beautiful day because the mechanic has worked a minor miracle on my bike, cannibalizing the 8-speed rear mech from the cross bike and rigging it up so that I have a full range of gears – albeit with a few missing in the middle. I’m on my own bike, and the bliss of being in a comfortable riding position is extraordinary. It feels as if I’ve been given a new set of legs.

So it’s off again in the Foyle Express, which has now grown to 24 riders. Like clockwork, as ever, with the newcomers picking up the routine. But very soon we’re into the first serious climb of the day and it’s every man and woman for themselves – bar the occasional push for those who are struggling. About 60  miles in, my incident-packed week takes yet another turn. We’re turning right-handed at the bottom of a brief descent when Johnny loses his rear wheel on a patch of gravel and goes down in front of me. Lacking the bike-handling skills to jump over him, I have no chance of avoiding a collision and describe what I am told is a very elegant parabola, still clipped in, hitting the tarmac on the far side. Everyone clearly thinks I’m seriously hurt and keeps telling me to lie still. I, as is usual in these circumstances, am worrying about the bike.

No major damage to either of us, though my elbow won’t be bending all that much for a few days. Onward, this time to the big climbs of the day. Slievemann is the worst – one of those climbs that looks as if it is levelling out but is just waiting to demoralise you further. But we all make it, and the views, and the descents, are great. Finally we start the long drag up to the Wicklow Gap, and it is a long drag. The second feed station is at the top, and this is supposed to be the last serious climb, so I bury myself and give it everything I have left. At the top I’m having to hold Nigel’s wheel because so much sweat has run into my eyes that I can’t see more than about ten feet in front of me. But once there, eyes wiped, the scenery and the sense of achievement are fantastic.

The descent is great too, but at the bottom I discover that it is not downhill all the way to Dublin. The road round the reservoir is up and down, up and down, a series of short sharp climbs with descents too short to allow recovery. An hour or so of this and I am beginning to get truly tired. But eventually things level out again, the Express gets back into rhythm, and we take it home, finishing as a group with nobody left behind.

So, been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Will I be back? I think I will, partly because I feel I have unfinished business on stage three, partly because I’d like to ride the whole event on my own bike, but mainly because it drew such an engaging bunch of people. I’d certainly recommend it unreservedly to any serious sportive rider – it takes the concept to a whole different level. Sign up.

Thanks to all who sponsored me, and of course to the support team who got me back on the road. But thanks also to Matt, Rich, Nigel, Dave, Mark, Fergal, Margaret, Katie and a host of others who made the whole experience one to remember from a social as well as a sporting perspective.
paperman

Nice write up Chasm. Sums up the event nicely. Nice to put a face to the name too!!!

Before you sign up for next year you're looking at 5 stages and over 1000km. Its already on the web site!!! BUT, I spoke to one of the organisers after the final stage and just before I left for my hotel. He informed me that the tour will stay at 4 stages for next year.
Over all I found it a fantastic experience. There was a great atmosphere, everyone there was determined to enjoy the ride, and some 'recovery drinks' after. I will be riding again next year WITH THE CORRECT GEARING!!!, my knee aches from grinding up those climbs!!!!. Gearing was not totally at fault. Training well for the tour is important. This event is not really for the complete leisure cyclist the days are quite long and for the most part very hilly. In fact I know of, what seemed to me to be  experienced riders, who suffered greatly at this event. There were some really nasty wall like climbs. Some of the decents were the most dangerous things I've seen in my life. I love decending I get a great kick out of it even though they were very dangerous I had fun on 'em.

Over all it was great I had fun. I enjoyed one or two 'recovery drinks' because I deserved them!!!!!. I will be riding next year, thats for certain. Should they decide to go 5 stages I might still ride the event.
redster73

chasm wrote:
OK, for those who are interested, here's a report of the Tour of Ireland.

Tour of Ireland Cycle Challenge 2008 – as viewed from the Foyle Express.


Day 1. Lisburn to Cavan, 114 miles, 2331 metres of climbing.


Friday 9 May 2008, about 0830. Close to 200 cyclists of various shapes, sizes and abilities are lined up at the Lisburn Leisureplex awaiting the start. It’s an impressive sight, and if the rest of them are anything like competitor 130 they’re a mixture of excitement and slight apprehension. 500 miles in four days is a long way by my standards, and if you throw in close to 10,000 metres of ascent it’s going to be a tough one.

We start, and are escorted through the town by the police. This is a new experience for me, and the policing and marshalling of the event, on both sides of the border, are to become one of its best features. Escorts through town, traffic held back at junctions to let us pass, it all adds hugely to the safety, as well as the enjoyment, of the riders.

About thirty miles in I’m feeling pretty strong. A few minutes behind the fast group – this is not a time to entertain delusions of grandeur, so I’m going at my own pace – when disaster strikes in the form of a broken chain. Worse still, it drags the rear mech into the wheel and snaps the hanger as well as trashing the mech. Gerry the mechanic rolls up in his van and it takes him about a millisecond to recognise that there’s nothing he can do for me.

For a while it seems that my tour is over after just a couple of hours, and my mood might charitably be described as irritable. But with help from Leo in the broomwagon I locate a bike shop in Newry, and Gerry – my hero – drives me there in the mechanical support van. A few minutes later he, I and the staff are poring over every hanger in the shop, but without success. None of them fit my frame.

I’m not going to abandon, though, so we scour the shop for a bike that will fit me. The only affordable option (though I’d have liked the LaPierre at about two grand!) is a cross bike that is a shade too small but rideable. A few adjustments later, and a fair few quid lighter, and I’m on my way to riding the ToICC on a cyclocross bike (with cyclocross gearing) that doesn’t quite fit me.

Gerry drops me back in just ahead of the last group, and I have a pretty lonely chase in the rain for a couple of hours. At the second feed station, though, I hook up with Sue, Nicholas and a couple of others and we pace one another over the last 25 miles into Cavan. Rich, Matt and Nigel (we met over a Guinness in Dublin on the eve of the event and were now, of course, a team) looked at the new bike and politely concealed their burgeoning doubts about my sanity. I also met Paperman, from justcycling, and had a couple of beers. Pity about the gearing, Paperman.

(Postscript: I discovered something new today, when my heartrate touched 186 on the climb after Newry while I tried to catch up. I’d thought my maximum HR was 185.)

Day 2. Cavan to Galway City, 124 miles, 1339 metres of climbing.

We roll out of Cavan shortly after eight. Once again we are escorted through the rush hour traffic, and the flatness of the terrain means that the early pace is pretty electric. I’m averaging 22 -23 mph for the first 15 miles or so, at which point I come to my senses and remember that even if I had been here to play with the big boys, there’s not a chance of my doing so on a bike that is already beginning to give me an aching back. So I drop off what is still a very large leading group and cruise along for a while with Margaret, a fine woman who is using this tour as a final stage in her training for the race across America!

Margaret and I are just beginning to find it quite hard work pacing one another along when a bunch of about a dozen sweep up behind us, and we are aboard the Foyle Express for the first time. Mark and a few of his clubmates from the Foyle cycling club have acquired a posse of hangers-on and have them organised into a perfectly functioning unit. Mark has a bell on his bike. Every few minutes he rings it, and we move through and off; every single rider taking their turn at the front, an even pace being maintained, everyone calling for holes and generally helping one another out. There are riders here who have rarely if ever ridden in a bunch. Twenty minutes with Mark and you’d swear they’d been on club runs every Sunday for the last ten years.

We keep this up, with pauses for feeding stations, for the next 80 miles into Galway City. Nobody is dropped, nobody breaks the rhythm or hides, it’s an absolute pleasure to cycle with this lot and I resolve to stick with them for the remainder of the tour.

In Galway City most of the riders are staying in the same hotel and I get a stronger impression of what a varied and sociable crowd this is. From the real professional through to the most inexperienced “leisure cyclist”, everyone seems determined to enjoy themselves and make it a social as well as sporting occasion. Nice.

Day 3. Galway to Kilkenny.  140 miles, 2765 metres of climbing.

The day begins with good news. The mechanical support team have scoured Galway’s bike shops for me and have found a hanger to fit my bike. Unfortunately there isn’t time to effect repairs, switch rear mech, etc before the start, so I am again on the cross bike. But at least there’s the prospect of riding my own bike on the final stage.

We set off promptly at 0800, ahead of the fast group – a state of affairs that lasts only about twenty minutes, when one of the bunch punctures. We wait – the Foyle Express leaves nobody behind – and the main bunch sweeps past us. In fact we find ourselves just in front of the broom wagon for a while, until we catch the final bunch – a group which, like ours, has developed its own identity and seems to have a distinct social scene. Rumour has it they stop for coffee and doughnuts when they pass a likely-looking café.

We’re making excellent progress in the same style as yesterday – word is getting round, and there’s now about 20 of us – but today’s stage is decidedly lumpier than yesterday’s and as soon as we are into any half-serious climbing it is clear that I’m in trouble. Trying to put power through what is too cramped a riding position turns the discomfort in my back into acute pain, and by the time two hours have passed I’m barely able to maintain the bunch’s pace. They look after me until we get to the first feeding station at just short of 60 miles, and I take stock. The big hills of the stage are still ahead, and if I continue there’s a real prospect that tomorrow morning my bike will be fixed, but I’ll be injured and unable to ride it. So after consulting a few fellow-riders, and with a real feeling of failure, I abandon the stage.

I’m not the only casualty, so there’s no room in the broom wagon or the mechanical support van. As a result I become a passenger in the refreshment van with Peter and Richie. This experience becomes more interesting than I’d bargained for when, because of the hot weather, we have to establish an unscheduled feeding station about 30 miles from the finish; a task accomplished only with a police escort and truly astronomical speeds over appallingly unsuitable roads to get ahead of the first group. We pass them, at close to 100mph and with the police motorcyclist clearing the way, with minutes to spare, screech to a halt in a parking place in Templemore, throw up the tent, set up the tables and try to look as if we’ve been there all day when the fast men breast the hill about thirty seconds later.

Today has clearly been a seriously tough day, summed up by the remark of a very senior cyclist as he spied the unscheduled stop. “Thank f*** for that, I’m seeing double. I don’t remember going as hard as that when I was racing.”

Today is also Sunday, so the police have completely closed the roads in Kilkenny for the finish. A fabulous experience for the early finishers, and especially the first group, sprinting for the line among noisy crowds as if this were a GT.

Incidentally, an honourable mention for the Hibernian, Ormonde Street, Kilkenny. A magnificent traditional bar serving, of course, magnificent traditional Guinness.

Day 4. Kilkenny to Dublin. 129 miles, 3474 metres of climbing.

Just to add insult to injury, this stage was lengthened by about 6 miles at the last minute.

It’s a beautiful day, so we’ll have a chance to make the most of the scenery in the Wicklow mountains. It also means that sunscreen and lots and lots of water are in order. Most of all, though, it’s a beautiful day because the mechanic has worked a minor miracle on my bike, cannibalizing the 8-speed rear mech from the cross bike and rigging it up so that I have a full range of gears – albeit with a few missing in the middle. I’m on my own bike, and the bliss of being in a comfortable riding position is extraordinary. It feels as if I’ve been given a new set of legs.

So it’s off again in the Foyle Express, which has now grown to 24 riders. Like clockwork, as ever, with the newcomers picking up the routine. But very soon we’re into the first serious climb of the day and it’s every man and woman for themselves – bar the occasional push for those who are struggling. About 60  miles in, my incident-packed week takes yet another turn. We’re turning right-handed at the bottom of a brief descent when Johnny loses his rear wheel on a patch of gravel and goes down in front of me. Lacking the bike-handling skills to jump over him, I have no chance of avoiding a collision and describe what I am told is a very elegant parabola, still clipped in, hitting the tarmac on the far side. Everyone clearly thinks I’m seriously hurt and keeps telling me to lie still. I, as is usual in these circumstances, am worrying about the bike.

No major damage to either of us, though my elbow won’t be bending all that much for a few days. Onward, this time to the big climbs of the day. Slievemann is the worst – one of those climbs that looks as if it is levelling out but is just waiting to demoralise you further. But we all make it, and the views, and the descents, are great. Finally we start the long drag up to the Wicklow Gap, and it is a long drag. The second feed station is at the top, and this is supposed to be the last serious climb, so I bury myself and give it everything I have left. At the top I’m having to hold Nigel’s wheel because so much sweat has run into my eyes that I can’t see more than about ten feet in front of me. But once there, eyes wiped, the scenery and the sense of achievement are fantastic.

The descent is great too, but at the bottom I discover that it is not downhill all the way to Dublin. The road round the reservoir is up and down, up and down, a series of short sharp climbs with descents too short to allow recovery. An hour or so of this and I am beginning to get truly tired. But eventually things level out again, the Express gets back into rhythm, and we take it home, finishing as a group with nobody left behind.

So, been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Will I be back? I think I will, partly because I feel I have unfinished business on stage three, partly because I’d like to ride the whole event on my own bike, but mainly because it drew such an engaging bunch of people. I’d certainly recommend it unreservedly to any serious sportive rider – it takes the concept to a whole different level. Sign up.

Thanks to all who sponsored me, and of course to the support team who got me back on the road. But thanks also to Matt, Rich, Nigel, Dave, Mark, Fergal, Margaret, Katie and a host of others who made the whole experience one to remember from a social as well as a sporting perspective.


Smile
Bartali

Chasm / Paperman - well done to you both!

In overcoming such adversity you have done Justcycling proud!
last km

Chasm thanks for that excellent write up, nice to see you getting to the end in spite of all that happened to you
Biosphere

last km wrote:
Chasm thanks for that excellent write up . . .


To be honest, I thought it was kinda lame - if we've learnt one thing today it's that a broken chain at least merits throwing the bike in a ditch  Wink

Well done guys. The thought of a 125 mile ride in a day makes me shudder, but to do it four days in a row and then some. Chapeau!

Chasm, Hope the SCR is up and running again.

Paperman, how was the Cervelo?
paperman

Biosphere wrote:


To be honest, I thought it was kinda lame - if we've learnt one thing today it's that a broken chain at least merits throwing the bike in a ditch  Wink

Well done guys. The thought of a 125 mile ride in a day makes me shudder, but to do it four days in a row and then some. Chapeau!

Chasm, Hope the SCR is up and running again.

Paperman, how was the Cervelo?


Throwing the bike in a ditch nice!!!! I did feel for Millar and usually I don't!!!!

The Cervelo was great, I love the bikes handling. It holds a line well. Its very very responsive!!! Some would say twitchy. I like this in a bike. A stiff, quick steering bike thats good at keeping a line is what I love. I like alot of information coming back to me and you don't get that with a more forgiving frame/bike. The draw back is the ride you get on poor roads!!! And some of the roads we rode were terrible. Its a little stiff for a sportif but, I'll still use it next year!!!!!!
kellyrocheearly

Great report Chasm, made me a little home sick.
I think i will have to do this next year
chasm

kellyrocheearly wrote:
Great report Chasm, made me a little home sick.
I think i will have to do this next year


Do it! This is a very special event. Comparisons with one-day sportives are beside the point, because the four-day format, with road closures, transfers to hotels, and the full panoply of professional support, makes it a completely different as well as a more challenging experience. I'm definitely planning to be back and to bring a couple of clubmates with me, if I can.

You can pre-register on the website to secure a place without at this stage committing yourself to any money; sort of gives you first refusal when they invite entries.
paperman

I've pre registered for next years event. Might as well start training NOW...lol

Chasm, Gearing has been changed!!!!
chasm

paperman wrote:
I've pre registered for next years event. Might as well start training NOW...lol

Chasm, Gearing has been changed!!!!


Good man. I fearlessly predict a top-20 finish for you next year. Incidentally, I was in my LBS yesterday getting the SCR a new rear mech and the owner started trying to interest me in a Cervelo soloist exactly like yours. I declined (not sure how I'd explain at home that I really need three road bikes); but it is a beautiful thing.
paperman

Now theres a fearless prediction if I ever saw one  Laughing  Laughing  Laughing  One thing is for sure I will be doing better next time out!!

Glad you got your Giant sorted out. Yes three road bikes might be too many. I must admit I really liked some of those tasty titanium bikes. Merlin and Litespeed do that particular material justice. Very nice bikes!!!! If only dealers would do good trade ins!!!!!!. Yes the Cervelo is nice I love it, try one !!!!  Very Happy
chasm

Oh well, here we go again.

http://www.tourofireland.eu/theRoute.htm

I've got myself signed up, paperman, so make sure you get yourself to the start line. Five days this time, and just 1000km. Should be fun.
paperman

I pre registered months ago and got an email back from Marc, I think it was.! I can't open the 09 registration list but I should be on it. Looks like the official registration ie taking of money hasn't opened yet. I hope to be there all going well I should have the holiday time for it!!!

Last yr was hard going but it was great fun, any other takers out there????
chasm

paperman wrote:
I pre registered months ago and got an email back from Marc, I think it was.! I can't open the 09 registration list but I should be on it. Looks like the official registration ie taking of money hasn't opened yet. I hope to be there all going well I should have the holiday time for it!!!

Last yr was hard going but it was great fun, any other takers out there????


It has opened, because I've paid and been registered as having confirmed. Go to the site and check on the tour tag. If you can't open it e-mail marc and ask for instructions
paperman

chasm wrote:
paperman wrote:
I pre registered months ago and got an email back from Marc, I think it was.! I can't open the 09 registration list but I should be on it. Looks like the official registration ie taking of money hasn't opened yet. I hope to be there all going well I should have the holiday time for it!!!

Last yr was hard going but it was great fun, any other takers out there????


It has opened, because I've paid and been registered as having confirmed. Go to the site and check on the tour tag. If you can't open it e-mail marc and ask for instructions


Done!! Deposit paid and awaiting confirmation of my place via email. Smile
I guess I'll see you at the start line next year. Should be a good tour.

Any more takers......Its a top event. Smile
chasm

paperman wrote:

Any more takers......Its a top event. Smile


It is the top event. Easily good enough to justify a trip from the States, in my view. There were a couple of Canadians I rode round with last year, they had a great time.
Bartali

Too early in the season for an old dog like me!  But I'll be thinking of you guys come the spring!
paperman

It is a little early in the season. This year I thought I had enough done but I was wrong, you would want to be doing alot of miles over the winter and really ramping it all up from new year on. I have my power trainer and a nice training schedule ready. I think I'll start posting on the training diary page to help keep me aware of my progress. Hopefully I will be better off for it come next may.

In July I'm considering this little climb as part of two weeks holiday in Poland, road surface looks nice!!

http://www.climbbybike.com/climb....ol=Sniezka&qryMountainID=7705
last km

Makes the Muur de Grammont look a doddle  Cool
sheeponabike

Be nice riding up them cobbles, but imagine coming back down  Shocked
Bartali

Have fun paperman ... I like my tarmac Smooooooooth! Wink
chasm

Tour of Ireland 2009: The sequel


6 May 2009. The day before.

Fly into Belfast, take a taxi to Lisburn and assemble the bike. Delighted to find that there are a number of repeat offenders here from last year. Unfortunately, as far as I can remember they were virtually all faster than me. Pleased to see Fergal and to meet up with Eric from work, who have come up on the coach from Dublin and are waiting for their bikes to arrive.

I’m early so I spend a while chatting to people and admiring the bikes as they arrive. There are some beautiful bikes here. In particular, there’s a couple of Parlees that have me wondering whether spending that sort of money might turn me into a better cyclist. Fortunately I come to my senses before making the call to the bank manager.

Already a great sense of anticipation and camaraderie among the participants. Fewer of us this year, only just over 100, probably because of the Euro/Sterling exchange rate and the fact the event has been lengthened from four to five days.

Stage 1 Lisburn to Derry. 164 km/101 miles. 1481 metres climbing.

The day begins with a laugh. We’re waiting for the coach to pick us up from the hotel and one of the more senior, and perhaps slightly rotund, participants observes: “I’m only now realising what a crap cyclist I am. I’ve never seen so many emaciated people in my life. I’m the only old, fat bastard here.”

Weather not looking great as we roll out of Lisburn. Quite an atmosphere at the start, though, with speeches from the Mayor and schoolkids allowed out of class to cheer us off. We’ve been invited to form three groups, fast, medium, slow, but for quite a while we stay in one huge bunch and make pretty rapid progress. It’s 50 miles to the first feed stop and I’m there in 2 hours 40 minutes, despite being three quarters of the way down the field. This is quick by my standards, especially since it is blowing a gale, and there are a few, but only a few, who are struggling a bit at the back.  

The second half of the stage is hard going. It’s cold, with intermittent showers, and the wind is rising. It’s a crosswind, and of a strength that really buffets you around. There’s a guy in my group with zipp rims, and the deep sections mean that he’s being shifted a couple of feet across the road every time he hits an exposed section or there’s a sudden gust. So we’re a lot slower for the second half, and the few stragglers are pretty tired when they come in.

It is already clear to me that the standard has risen since last year, not because they’ve got any faster at the front but because there are very few weaker cyclists here. Last year there was a biggish group behind me, with reputedly a lively social scene as they stopped at the occasional café and took their time. This year there are many fewer of these, and despite my going slightly faster than a year ago, I am nearer the back of the group.


Stage 2 Derry to Sligo. 172km/106 miles. 1933 metres climbing

On paper this should have been a pretty easy stage. No really serious hills, not too far, an opportunity to finish riding ourselves into the event. But today we got the full range of Irish weather. We start in pouring rain, get a dose of hailstones along the way, and when the sun comes out all it seems to do is encourage the wind to blow harder. I don’t think I can ever remember riding so hard, and for so long, into a headwind as fierce as this and what should have been a straightforward day turns into one of unremitting brutality. Fortunately Alastair, the leader of the supposedly slow group (which would have happily nestled in the middle of the pack last year) organises a really efficient chain gang and we help one another along, everyone taking their turn at the front and getting what shelter they can for the rest of the time. So at the second feed station, with 30+ miles to go, I’m still in pretty reasonable shape.

It’s a different story thereafter, however. Not far into the last leg, I become increasingly and uncomfortably aware that I am getting seriously saddlesore. This slows me down to the extent that I drop off the group and go in at my own pace. Too slow for Eric, who despite allegedly finding the pace too fast has no difficulty at all in riding away from me. (This becomes something of a theme – Eric saying he can’t go this fast, then effortlessly riding off into the sunset when the going gets tough).

However, I don’t fully understand the extent of the damage until I get into the shower at the end, when the hot water lets me know in no uncertain terms. The combination of a soaking wet chamois and a newish Specialized “toupé” saddle – I’d used it quite a bit but never for this long, or in these conditions – had removed a serious amount of skin from my usually impervious backside. This bodes ill. Another 380 miles on raw skin isn’t too attractive a prospect.

Stage 3 Sligo to Galway. 245 km/150 miles. 2776 metres climbing

We start in the wet again. One of the riders puts a positive spin on this by observing that “at least the rain is coming straight down today”, and it’s true; the wind, which our Irish Directeur Sportif describes, with a memorable lack of political correctness, as “strong enough to blow a tinker off his missus” has finally dropped. I, suitably anointed with healing cream provided by the medical support, and with liberal applications of chamois cream supplied by David, my roommate, am cautiously optimistic.

And for forty miles or so my optimism is justified. I’m in the bunch, doing my share, feeling comfortable. And the rain has stopped. But as time goes on I can feel that I am doing more damage, and I am beginning to worry that by the time I finish this very long stage I’ll be in too bad a state to continue with the tour. So I take a strategic decision to bale out and, hopefully, live to fight another day.

I therefore spend the afternoon with Liam, who is driving the first of the two service vans. Liam has been a road racer for fifty years, was top class in his day and could probably still give most of us a start. He’s also an absolutely charming man, so the afternoon passes very pleasantly. It also gives me the chance to watch the fastest bunch at close quarters. There are some very strong cyclists in there, I reckon I could live with them for as much as five minutes at a time.

Nice hotel just outside Galway. As on previous nights, we have a pretty sociable evening; a Guinness or two, and endless discussion about cycling. One of the huge advantages of this event over the one-day sportives is that you are together between stages and can have a good crack with your fellow-participants. As Donal put it, “when else are you allowed to talk about bikes for five days?”

Tonight’s sojourn in the bar has another benefit, however. One of the guys has heard of my saddlesore problems and has with him some of the replacement skin plasters designed for use with blisters. He offers me them in the hope they can get me through the last couple of days. So thanks, Kevin from Manchester, you’re a gent.

Stage 4 Galway to Kilkenny. 210 km/129 miles. 2375 metres climbing

Sunday dawns bright and sunny, little wind, with the promise of warmth. Luxury. And with Kevin’s plasters to help me along, what can go wrong?

The answer, I’m glad to say, is nothing. The saddlesores stay manageable, the weather stays kind, Alastair’s bunch stays pretty much together and we have a magnificent day on the bike, 130 miles at almost exactly 17 mph, could hardly be more civilised. And it culminates with a sprint finish in the centre of Kilkenny, with the street closed to traffic and lined with locals having a Sunday afternoon out. Brilliant; and who cares if the fast men finished well over an hour ago?

Three special mentions today. First for “Lovely Dave”. Dave, a strong cyclist from Northumberland, elected to slum it today and ride with our slow group. As I’ve said before, the slow group isn’t all that slow, and there are a few who are struggling to hang on. Dave spends the second half of the stage looking after them, dropping back and towing them back on when they’re in trouble, and generally being a trouper. At the second feedstation one of the women says “What’s your name? I don’t even know your name, and you’re so lovely.” So “Lovely Dave” is born. I hope to see you at the Cyclone, Dave.

Second, Sally Daw. Sally (brilliantly supported by husband Kevin, who wasn’t riding but drove round, helped out at the feedstations, carried gear – including my bike from time to time) is relatively new to road cycling, had never ridden with a bunch before, but cranked with us all day and took every one of her turns at the front. Very impressive.

Third, a cyclist whose name I don’t know but who had a sickening crash right in front of me when his seatpost broke on a fast downhill section. We were certainly doing 30 mph and I thought he’d be sure to be seriously hurt. We were told later, however, that he was being discharged from hospital intact, so good news, and get well soon. It makes me nostalgic for traditional materials, personally. I never heard of a steel seatpost snapping.

Great night in the Ormonde at Kilkenny, by the way.

Stage 5 Kilkenny to Ballymore Eustace. 170km/105 miles. 3474 metres of climbing.

Final day, and the weather Gods are fairly kind. Sunny, and if the wind is a bit stronger than I’d like, at least it isn’t blowing any tinkers off their missus.

The big climbs are in the second half of the day, and I remember them well from last year. What I don’t remember quite so well is how tough the road is from Kilkenny to Carlow, a very strenuous start including one serious climb at about 20 miles. I’m feeling fairly strong, though, until it becomes clear that the saddlesore problem is back with a vengeance. If the manufacturers of Compeed plasters are reading this and want the benefits of my research, I can tell them that when compressed between a 92 kilo rider and his saddle, and ridden on at about 80-90 rpm, their product disintegrates after about 160 miles. I suppose one can’t complain. However, the consequence is that after about 35 miles I’m in some trouble, and although Fergal does a heroic job of trying to pace me along, it is clear by the first feedstation, at 50 miles, that if I want to get back on the bike at any point in the next month I need to quit. So my tour is over 50 miles before the finish, sadly.

Despite my little local difficulty in the backside department, however, this was once again a magnificent event. The organisation, the support, the quality of the accommodation, the rolling road closures and, most of all, the craic with one’s fellow-cyclists make for a superb experience, and one that is simply a class apart from even the best-organised one-day event. Back next year? Why not. One of these years I’m going to finish the event uninjured…

Finally, a quote that explains why some of us go faster than others. A very fast young Irishman from the Cuchullain cycling club finished in the leading group, a group which was down to only five riders at the end. When asked about one of his clubmates further down the field, he made some derisive reply to the effect that the clubmate had been saving himself rather than going flat out. “And if you’re not on your hands and knees at the finish, what’s the feckin’ point?"
Biosphere

Well done 2nd time round Chasm. Cracking read - came across it a month ago and put it to one side til I had time to come back to it. Rob Og's NC post reminded me I never did.

You know what they say about third time lucky  Very Happy
HuwB

Yes, more great stuff, but hidden away and missed, it sees by all.
Thanks from showing us the way, Bio.
We need some more "ego" around here!
bianchigirl

Any way these can be moved to a 'real life racing' thread?

Great stuff chasm - we have some real talents on this forum and that last line? If only all racing were done in that spirit Very Happy Let us know how you get on next time - and what's on your calendar before then?
Sooty

HuwB wrote:
Yes, more great stuff, but hidden away and missed, it sees by all.
Thanks from showing us the way, Bio.
We need some more "ego" around here!


Not so much hidden away as lost in the mire perhaps Huw?
chasm

bianchigirl wrote:
Any way these can be moved to a 'real life racing' thread?

Great stuff chasm - we have some real talents on this forum and that last line? If only all racing were done in that spirit Very Happy Let us know how you get on next time - and what's on your calendar before then?


Thanks BG. Did the cyclone again (third consecutive year) in Northumberland three weeks ago. Immediate plans are more recreational. Next week I'm taking the touring bike to visit my sister - 514 mile round trip, two days out, two days back, rest day in the middle to go on the piss. Should be fun.
katyang

Tour of Ireland challenge.....

..that would be very fun.....!










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credit
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cyclingtv

spammer..
Nolte

there's also an indurance Race Across Ireland 1,200km non-stop

http://www.racearoundireland.com/umca_article.asp
chasm

More than 2000 km, actually. Damn, but I'd like to do that. Can't spare the time, unfortunately.
Nolte

i know what i did wrong. i went for the miles and then put km after the distance in miles

damn i'm an idiot

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