Gently does it for the New Year!
The Jimmy Duffy and some North Kerry Villages.
I for one didn’t escape the colds and flu plaguing the good citizens of County Kerry this winter, so my New Years cycling and walking exploits got off to a slow start. Throw into the equation the fact that the weather is starting to finally act like winter, motivation is the key here in Ireland at the moment.
Finally on 8 January I felt well enough to get things moving with a spin out to North Kerry which was relatively flat. We played the strong wind to our advantage and I also got down to ticking off some of the local villages for my 2015 cycle challenge.
Once we had left Tralee and headed towards Ardfert (R551), we took the long straight R557 through Abbeydorney, before branching off to Kilflynn and back to Tralee via the main N69 road. Thankfully the weather stayed dry and for most of the trip we had a strong wind on our back.
Come Saturday it was what has become the curtain raiser to the New Year in these parts, the Jimmy Duffy Memorial cycle from Blennerville to Castleisland and back.
Again we faced strong winds and the event was even called in to question earlier in the morning. Anyway a good crowd of cyclists (150 ish) turned up for the ride despite the weather. There was plenty of voulenteers around at the local St Pats GAA club grounds to help out as well as a surprising number of photographers. Cycling is obviously big news here!
The ride out to Castleisland was a doddle with a nice strong wind at our backs all the way in. We had a quick break in the main car park and then dug in for the return. As expected the wind was strong but not as bad as I initially thought. The cycle was very strung out as expected with plenty of people plodding along singularly or in pairs along the N21. With the finish in sight the heavens opened with one almighty hail storm which hopped off our faces like tiny bullets. At times it was difficult to see the road and the pain of them hitting bare skin was memorable to say the least. Finally we got back to Blennerville and piled into one of the local hostelries for a well earned warm drink and a hot snack.