The Conor Pass situated on the Dingle Peninsula is probably one of the most famous and difficult climbs for cyclists in Ireland. It is quite steep and has no inch of forgiving tarmac. Only approx 3 miles and 5K in length, doesn’t look that far in paper but looking at the gradient will give you more of an idea what is involved. A magnificient view of both Tralee Bay and Dingle Bay await you on top and only a few meters apart.
Archive for December, 2009
With 2009 coming to a pretty fast close alot of amazing things have happened regarding cycling in Kerry. While I have been looking out at bad weather for the past number of weeks (some would say months!) I have had a good opportunity to reflect on the year of cycling that is soon to be over. Personally I cycled more miles this year that I have done in a good few years. My total this year is 2755, which falls short of my goal of 3000 but between injury and bad weather this year I am pretty happy.
Situated on the Sneem side of Waterville on the Ring of Kerry route the climb of Coomaciste is a nice steady climb that offers magnificient views of Kerry and the Atlantic ocean. This climb is reviewed from the Waterville approach going i.e. as if going anti clock wise around the Ring of Kerry which is the traditional cycling approach.
This route is difficult to get motivated to do but rewarding when the decision and effort is made. I think it’s mostly hard to get into because of the ascent out of Tralee that begins very early on in the climb, it’s not that difficult however can be tough on legs or a body that are nor warmed up properly.
Situated between Kenmare and Killarney, Molls Gap is one of the most famous climbs in Ireland and well renound in both cycling and car rallying terms. This 6.3 Mile/ 10 K climb reaches a summit of 860 ft and the summit offers a scenic view of the Black valley and futher down when descending into Killarney there is an opportunity to experience Ladies View, which is a viewing point where the lakes of Killarney and their surrounds can be seen.
This route starts in Currow, which is a village situated in Mid-Kerry, about 3 miles from Farranfore and 5 miles from Castleisland. It is a route that is dear to my heart given that it is in my homeland and I try to get out on this route as often as I can. This routes offers mostly flat territory on quiet country roads with little traffic when away from the town centers in the route.
Did this one on one of the warmest days in 2009 in preperation for a series of Sportive events, I needed some mileage and no better way than to head off and follow this route. This route leaves Tralee and takes in the towns/villages of Castlemaine, Milltown, Killarney, Barraduff, Scartaglin, Castleisland before returning to Tralee.
This one brings back many memories. When I first cycled the Ring of Kerry in 1997, this route was suggested as a tester a few weeks before the event. It nearly killed me that day, particularly the run into Castleisland when my legs were dead. Although it is three times shorter than the ring it really is a great test and training for any event, mainly because of dead roads and some tough climbing with a gradient reaching 11.8% in some places. It is 53k/33mi. route of undiluted training, which some would love but others might never want to do more than once.
Ok so you are looking out at the weather and you can’t get out on the bike. I know the feeling. If you have an indoor trainer you are fine and able to keep going, but for those of us who don’t like indoor cycling or who haven’t been smart enough to get one yet this winter, our options are limited. If you are a member of a gym, the exercise bike is a good option, but I’m not a member.
There is an interesting transcript of an interview with the outgoing Cycling Ireland President and Killorglin native Micheal Concannon on IrishCycling.com. It will be a loss to County Kerry that we are loosing a president of Cycling Ireland however this might afford him the opportunity to focus more of his efforts locally and hopefully that can only be good news.