Tour de Conamara
Usually the club has bigger interest in getting away for long weekends to attend events, especially if they are something we (or somebody) hasn’t done before, however this wasn’t to be the case this year when members were asked if they’d like to give the Conamara Celtic event a try.
So with only five agreeing to go (and one other with another local club), we all set off on the Friday evening to travel the 5+ hour journey down to Clifden HQ to register (well Colin & Barry done that for us). Around 11.00-11.30 on Friday evening we decided it was time to hit the hay as we had a 20min drive the following morning to the start line and we knew it would be hard to find parking spaces and get last minute bits and pieces sorted – especially for Barry seeing he drove over his kit bag and smashed his good Kask helmet, so it was a matter of cycling about to see if we could find him a shop to purchase a new lid – to which he bought an MTB helmet, that actually matches his new propel paint scheme :).
At 09.30 the mass start started to funnel its way through the start gate and make its way around the coast, and with many dressed for the proposed poor forecast, it was evident to see that jackets etc were being taken off at the sides of the roads along the route. KCC struggled at the start to get past many of the more leisurely cyclists, however we caught a good bunch of Pheniox cyclists and tagged along with then to the first food stop – where we meet our other member stuffing his face before mass started to arrive. Once we had a quick bite it was the 5 of us who left together only to be joined by a few riders we passed on route building up to a nice working group of 10 riders all putting in efforts at the front until we hit the second (yes we stopped AGAIN) food stop, were we couldn’t get Barry away as he was enjoying the coffee too much, eventually we got going and with the group now down to 8 and a full on head wind over the hilly terrain it was harder work to keep our drive and momentum going and to keep our average speed above 19+ :), however pushed on hard and some worked longer than others at the front and we all made it over the climbs, until the last one were Andy Evans decided to literally put the hammer down on the last climb and bust all our asses.
All in All it turned out to be a great event, well organised, run and some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever ridden through – and I would highly recommend anybody that hasn’t done it before to give it a go as it’s one for the bucket list and if 2500 enter it every year the organisers must be doing something right (apart from the very poor goody bag)