Flirting with Carrauntuoohil
A back road adventure.
For the club I’m riding with, The Chain Gang CC, it’s exciting times for almost half the members.
In just a couple of weeks, sunny climbs and alpine mountains await, as they head to France to conquer those gruelling Tour de France show case peaks.
In fairness the weather we’ve been experiencing on Saturdays has been almost Mediterranean compared to some days we’ve had to endure this May. We’ve been living a bit of a charmed life of being very much in the right place at the right time, and missing many of those savage rain showers. Last Saturday saw a mixed group of about 11 Chain Gangers head out in a Southerly direction with a view to seeing parts of Kerry via the back roads.
Our early flirtation with the main N22 road soon ended well before Farranfore, as we took a delightful country lane that meandered it’s way to Firies. It was more of the same, but with a few hills thrown in as we sped through Faha and took a quick break on the banks of the River Laune at the picture postcard village of Beaufort.
I have to hold my hands up and say I suggested the route and had no trouble getting to Beaufort, but the next part was going to be about luck as we intended to cycle partly around Caragh lake. For anyone who knows this area, fair play, because I find it maze like.
As we left the main road from Beaufort to Killorglin, I could see plan ‘A’ was quickly unravelling. The lake was nowhere to be seen and Carrauntuohil was looming large in front of us. Luckily we where never quite lost, more like just a bit off track. We had a couple of new cyclists with us which was a slight concern, but they seemed strong. Anyway Ireland’s highest peak disappeared behind us and finally we got near Caragh lake. the only problem was! Should we go the long way around or go over the “Devils Elbow” climb for a shorter ride back to Killorglin and a much needed coffee break?
The elbow it was…despite the severity of it in places we all lived to tell the tale and finally managed to catch a glimpse of Caragh lake, whilst enjoying a truly rugged yet beautiful part of the County.
A well-earned break in Killorglin soon came. We treated ourselves to the best pastries in Munster at Jacks Bakery, Killorglin.
The good rest and the fuel gave us the energy for the final leg back to Tralee. This time on the more familiar main roads.
Looking back it was a great ride with a micro-adventure thrown in. We didn’t panic, we went with the flow and enjoyed the unexpected adventure!