The Week that was on 2 wheels.
West Kerry is good for the soul.
Well here we are into May and the year seems to be moving at a similar pace to a Mark Cavendish Tour de France finish.
My cycling week got moving on Thursday. The day was so nice it seemed a shame to miss out, so I decided to head west. The sun was shining, the wind was but a mere puff and the roads were quiet…bliss. Today I was in no rush so it was a case of taking it very much at my own pace and stopping to enjoy a minute or two of the stunning scenery Kerry has to offer. My route first took me from Tralee through Camp and up the steady Gleannagalt climb, from here there are some wonderful views of the Atlantic Ocean, The Maharees and over to Fenit and North Kerry. On a good day it’s under an hour from Tralee to the summit. The fun continued with a descent towards Annascaul village and on to a wonderful piece of road that skirts the sea entering Castlemaine Harbour with views of South Kerry in the distance.
On this route Inch is always a good mid-way point for a well earned coffee break. The road from Inch to Castlemaine has a sea view for the first few miles. It’s quite straight and rolling. I took a diversion at Boolteens taking a sneaky left at the far end of the village. This is a lovely quiet winding road heading towards the “Short Mountain”. Looking across to the right offers great views of the Reeks Mountains and Molls Gap. If the Short Mountain isn’t your thing take a right and descend to the main Castlemaine Tralee road. From here the adventure continued with a right turn towards Kiltallagh and on to the tiny village of Ballyfinnane with it’s old time Irish pub (not many left now)! I wasn’t in a hill climbing mood so instead of the left turn in the village and the climb to Farmers Bridge, I carried on towards Currans were I met the main Tralee – Killarney road and proceeded home on the busiest road of the day. Total of 90 km covered.
Battling the Brosna hills.
Saturday took 6 of us on a club spin across the mountains and bogs of North Kerry to the Limerick border. This wasn’t the the most encouraging of days as rain was always a threat. The cycle from Tralee to Feale Bridge is all countryside with beauty blended in with the rough and rugged. The only village you pass through is the tiny Knocknagashel. The well earned break was at Dillanes at Feale Bridge. Twenty minutes later our route took us back into Kerry and following the River Feale in-land before taking a right turn to one of Kerry’s out post villages-Brosna. This is a village with a leg sapping hill running right up the main street. Our route though took us back towards Castleisland, through forest, over hills and bog and a nice fast descent into Kerry’s “fashion capital”. From there it was a straight forward spin back along the N21 to Tralee. Approx 80 km covered and we escaped the worst of the rain!
Cycle against Suicide.
Sunday was a day away from the bike but we got the family together, baked a few buns and got ourselves down to Mounthawk School, Tralee. The Cycle Against Suicide was due in town.
A big effort had been made to welcome the cyclists with orange t-shirts abundant, orange bunting and orange signs being the colour of the day. The gym was transformed into a giant bicycle store and the canteen and classrooms into an entertainment and feeding zone for the hero’s in orange. There was a rock band and an army of drummers. The parade finally made it’s entrance at about 6:30 with a procession of out riders and cars. The cyclists were led in by local children. The pelathon went on for a good 5 minutes and I have to admit has the hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention at this sight. This is truly a magnificent spectacle with a good 2-300 persons doing the full 2 week ride around Ireland and thousands of other cyclists dipping in and out of the event. The standard of cyclist is from novice to professional, but no one is left behind and everyone finishes together.