The Nitty Gritty:
Distance: 73 km
Height gain: 550 metres
Details: This is a handy loop cycle taking in 2 steady climbs from Camp and then Castlemaine.
N86 out from Tralee. After approx 16 km left up to Upper Camp. You are still on the N86 until after Annascaul. Take a left on the R561. This route takes you through Inch Strand, Keel and Boolteens and on to Castlemaine. Left on to N70 (60 km) and back over the mountain to Tralee.
Experience: After a debate as to where we might head to and which direction we settled on the Lacey Cup route (named after a local road race which takes this route early each year).
Certainly the first 20 km was good in so far as the wind aiding the 8 of us, but the Dingle Road out of Tralee can be a drag at times with a few small hills and the dreaded long straight line. From my own perspective, after 2 punctures in as many weeks I splashed out on a set of new winter tyres. 25 on the front and 28 on the back. Larger than my summer 22-25 combo. The effect felt like a dyson on a power over load sucking the road.
Enter the first climb up Gleannagalt and the tactic was just to get up. No pb’s today thank you! This wasn’t all together easy as we got a shower of rain and a good strong gust of wind as we came around one of the bends. At the top we kept moving and enjoyed the decent into Annascaul. Once through Annascaul it’s time to enjoy the fine Atlantic scenery as well as a good section of road leading to Inch.
We have little option but to stop in Inch as it’s half way and has the coffee shop facilities, but from a personal level not one of my favourite stops. The road back to Castlemaine is long, straight and hilly. In a good group you can make good work of it but solo it can be a chore. Lucky we worked well as a group and polished it off quite well, though at times I was hanging on.
Come Castlemaine comes the last climb of the day. I see 3 ways of climbing a mountain on a bike:
1. Get to the top, even if you have to push some of the way.
2. Get to top without stopping
3. Get to the top looking for a best time.
I felt like I was going for one but opted for two. Boy was I glad to see the summit! As ever the decent is handy. You just need to be careful with the 2 hairpin bends.
Once back at the Meadowlands Hotel was definately glad to see the back of this ride. But sometimes you have to go through the mixer. It builds that much needed mental strength!