Silverbridge, Co. Armagh was once again the starting point for the Tour of Carlingford and despite the early start there was a good turnout from Lucan CRC. With 6 riders signed on, a last minute trip to the loo meant we were caught napping when the bunch rolled out a bit earlier than scheduled. We played catch-up for the first few km, which certainly got the heart pumping and the body warmed up. And it was a shame to waste the now-comfortable momentum as we passed group after group, motoring at a fair ol’ pace despite the strong headwind. We teamed up with a solid group of riders and made good progress towards Dundalk and beyond. By this point we must have numbered about 30, but LCRC were doing more than their fair share of pulling at the front!
The left turn for Carlingford meant a very welcome tailwind and on the outskirts of the town and within smelling distance of the coffee stop, it all kicked off – instigated by our own Brendan Stewart and Peter Gibbons. The lads had ditched their weekend racing plans due to “illness” but that was the end of any sympathy the two sick boys would get for the rest of the spin!
A quick pit-stop and we were back on the road again. Though this time we had it to ourselves. Sportive? What sportive? We continued along the scenic Carlingford Lough with the wind at our backs – nothing nicer! On the approach to Newry we swept up a few smaller groups, but that didn’t last long as it all shattered to bits on Camlough Hill, the long drag out of the town. Beyond that there were a few more testers, including the Sturgan Brae climb after 62km. There seemed to be struggling bodies everywhere! Rolling into the finish with 77km under our belts (slightly shorter than the advertised 80km), we were greeted by another one of our own – Shane was even later starting than we were, and had skipped the food stop as a result. His stealth operation meant that he was back at base before we were.
A good morning on the bike, a lovely route, and home and hosed at a reasonable hour too. And an average speed of 29.75kph was not to be sneezed at either!
Lucan CRC riders: Peter Gibbons, Douglas Kennedy, Susan Stewart, Brendan Stewart, Elaine Fannin, Damian Gory and Shane Hunt.