This year’s event was again run by the WatchTours Cycling Club in aid of The Make Believers foundation. The Make Believers is a registered children’s charity that brings the real Santa to Durrow, Co Laois every December where he and his North Pole team meet some very special guests. The Make Believers work with paediatric staff to identify children who are coping with terminal and long term illness, disability, social disadvantage and emotional trauma, and grant them their Christmas wish.
LCRC Riders: Holly Casey, Jimmy Dunphy, Mark Nicholls, Michael Dever, Damian Gorey
Guests: Douglas McDonald, Brendan Clancy
Holly was probably thinking along the same lines but thought better of it and stayed with us mere mortals for the day.
We got separated from Michael and Jimmy for a while but rolled along in typical LCRC style, picking up a bunch of weary souls who jumped on to our small but efficient train. Soon we were 20 plus riders rolling along at around 38kph. I think we had a tail wind by then! We met up with Michael and Jimmy before the food stop at around 80k - a welcome stop for the cold, wind battered riders.
Having re-fuelled and warmed up we headed out in anticipation of the pending climb known as “The Cut” - approximately 8km in length with an average gradient of 5.5%. Slow and steady was the thought process but 2k in the thought process, like many riders, went out the back door.
We struggled on in good spirits, all the while praying for the top to appear, but alas it threw everything at us: snow, wind, pebble dashed surface and icicles adorning each side of “the Cut”.
Reaching the top Jimmy and I were welcomed by the other guys who climbed better than we had, and each had their own tale of pain to tell. Holly wanted to do it again - now that was no surprise!
“The Cut” was done, it got the better of many, but all survived and it was now just a matter of descending the 30k to the finish... off we went. The finish was a very welcome sight with hot food and hot showers on offer, as well as a very understanding masseur who was there to sooth away the aches and pains of the very challenging sportive. I was asked “did I enjoy it?” by the organizers, I replied, “yes very much so”. I was asked “will I be back?” I declined to answer!