Sunday the 13th of April was a cold dull morning but, as it was my first sportive of the year, I was excited as myself and Mark (Sparky) made our way to Naas to register for the event. There was a nice atmosphere building at the start line with loads of riders from clubs as well as individual riders from all parts of the surrounding areas mixing together; talking about the challenge ahead, sharing stories from previous years and discussing what route they had chosen to do.
The 10 o’clock roll-out time was getting closer so we got our bikes ready and made our way to the start line where the usual speeches took place. Then we were off! All 450 of us! I decided to do the 67k route along with Sparky and Fergal, while Clara opted for the 120k. As we progressed along the route we inevitably got separated due to the large numbers and different rider abilities.
After clearing Blessington we were heading towards the lakes. I remembered this cycle from 2012 and around the lakes was windy. The drags were testing and tough on the legs. Heading towards Ballyknockan was the most difficult part of the (67k) route. And of course, on the peak of the climbs, the photographer was there to take your mug-shot at your best moment! We soon approached the decision point – the turn off for the respective distances where the longer and shorter routes went their separate ways. A short few km’s after the turn off for the 67k route, I was at the food stop with the usual favourites readily available: bananas, fruit cake, sandwiches, tea, coffee and water to top up our bottles for the road home.
After departing the food stop heading for the N81 to make my way towards Ballymore Eustace, there was only 10km to go!! Some lovely scenery, and before I knew it was back to Sallins and on into Naas GAA club to the finish line were there was hot food and refreshments aplenty and where you could partake in a cold pint if you wanted too.
This is a great spin and my second time doing it - would do it again.