Having spent many a summer touring Lough Derg by boat, the prospect of doing it by bike appealed greatly. The North Tipp Wheelers Tour of Lough Derg provided such an opportunity. Starting and finishing at the Lakeside Hotel in Ballina and circling the lake in a clockwise direction – a distance of 120km.
Babysitters organised, bikes loaded, car packed and we were out the door before 7am for the drive to Killaloe.
We arrived early. Too early. Despite a pit-stop en-route for a 2nd breakfast we were there before 9am. The first of the two controlled groups was due to depart at 9.30. This was billed as the slower group with an average of 22kph. We had decided beforehand we would opt for the faster group, advertised as 29kph and rolling out at 10.30. Both groups had about 70-75 riders, both following the same 120km route.
So with time to kill, we availed of the tea and coffee and chilled for a bit.
We rolled in to the food stop at Portumna Forest Park with an average on the clock of 34kph. Time for cake!
Given the small numbers, once separated from the main bunch we were pretty much on our own. Anyone we did come across didn’t seem too keen on getting a working group going. Alone for the last 20km, the tiredness kicked in and we rolled back to the hotel, my tail between my legs.
We had averaged 29.5kph for the 120km. It wasn’t an easy route. Though only two significant climbs, after 10km (Ogonnelloe) and 100km (Portroe), everything in between was either up or down. There wasn’t a flat road in it. For those who survived in the dwindling bunch, they averaged 32kph. Too fast for me!
The weather! Glorious sunshine all day. It couldn’t have been better.
The route, and the scenery that went with it.
The location for the coffee stop – gave it a real picnic feel.
The homemade cakes!
The Garda escort and faultless marshalling.
The not so good:
The racey mentality - it felt like a hard training ride, rather than a leisure event.
Would I do it again?
Probably not. It’s a lovely route, but I didn’t appreciate it on this spin. I’d love to do the route again, but not this event. Maybe next time stopping for a pint in Paddy’s or The Derg on the way through Terryglass. Just for old times’ sake!