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.
The route begins in Castleisland and heads out the Cordal road at the top of the town, keeping left and with a climb beginning just one mile outside of the town. This climb reaches 833ft and lasts for approx four miles with a series of ups and downs all the way into Brosna. This road and area is known locally as the ‘Black Banks’ and is considered as going int the ‘sticks’ however the road surface is fine and the peace from lots of traffic allows you to concentrate on what you need to, cycling. Turning left in Brosna will eventually bring you out onto the main Castleisland to Abbeyfeale road, where we turn left for Castleisland. The main road is somewhat of a break from the dead road experienced previously but can be punishing if you have a facing wind. With approx 8 miles to go the climb of Dooneen begins which reaches the same height approx as the first climb but is much more gradual and steady. A beautiful deascent follows into Castleisand town.
|Distance:||33.1 miles, 53 K|
|Elevation:||+ 2307 / – 2308 ft|
|Max Gradient:||11.8 %|
I love this route, partly because of the nostalgia but also I know that when I can do this and still have some legs after, I’m not doing to bad. Anyone not too local to this one might feel a little lost, my advise is to plan your route beforehand and if you are stuck ask.