Ring of Kerry 2015 Review
Another year another Ring of Kerry
Well it’s been a few days since my 18th and the 31st Annual Ring of Kerry Cycle and what my biggest feeling having completed it is an overwhelming since of awe at the organisation that made the day possible. At this stage it has to be among the biggest mass participation sporting event in the country (if not the biggest) with roughly 11,500 cyclists and while there was frustration at the registration process earlier in the year from what I saw the day ran very smoothly.
I had difficulties getting an entry this year but with the help of a friend I was able to secure one and so I was happy to be able to line out this year. I cycled on behalf of the Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Center. My distance training slipped a little in May but a few longer spins in June pulled me back to where I needed to be to ensure that I was able to enjoy the day.
I knew the crowds were going to be bigger that I’d ever seen before at the event so the debate began as to whether or not to start early or start late and let most of the crowds go ahead of me. A few friends were starting at 6:30 so I joined them and while the traffic was beginning to build at that point there was ample car parking space and little confusion as to where to park as it was well marshalled.
The morning’s weather was dull to say the least and I didn’t hold out much hope that the day would improve however I was happy to be proved wrong as the morning brightened with hardly any rain and an eventual clearing of the skies as we neared Glenbeigh. The day actually turned out to be very warm with load sof sunshine. There was a strong breeze all the way to Caherciveen but as we approached Waterville and further on towards Sneem we had the good fortune of having it at our backs. In terms of weather the day worked out very well.
We only stopped twice all day, at both of the major food stops. Caherciveen and Kenmare. Caherciveen was as crowded as I had feared but the queues moved quickly. Each year they seem to be getting better at running the stops as everything is well marked out and seperate queues for people wanting to wait for a tea or a coffee and faclities for people wanting to nip and out for quick sandwich. Kenmare was similiar. It was the first year in while that I stopped in Kenmare normally opting to stop for something to eat in Sneem and not being too bloated for Molls Gap which it is hard to face into after just eating. I think I’ll go back to stopping in Sneem next year.
I did have the misfortune of coming across a number of crashes on the day a couple of which happened right before me including a guy just falling over sideways while standing in Caherciveen. I was happy to see him laughing as he got back up. The accidents are an inevitable with so many people on the roads travelling at different speeds, weaving in and out and also people just stopping pedalling not realising that people are behind them. I do get the feel that there are lots of people are not used to group cycling and not aware of people around them.
The highlight of the day for me was the enjoyment at seeing so many people on their bikes. My first ring in 1997 had I think around 600 people participating and in now way did I think back then did I think that the sport and the event would become popular. The only lowlight for me was the frustration at seeing the crashes and very near misses all of which could be avoidable. Roll on Ring # 19.