with five members heading to Lahinch for the Stephen Roche Atlantic Challenge 80k, Martina, James & Nora Cunningham, Phyllis and Keith. The event had a turnout of just under 400 cyclists.
Stephen Roche started the spin out from the promenade at 10:40 and headed out to the Cliffs of Moher. The pace started at 25kph with Stephen Roche’s followers in tow. As the Cliffs of Moher came into sight there was a good spread of cyclists starting the string out back into Lahinch. From here the pace picked up to 30kph and was held bar the odd climb, all the way to the water stop at the Monks pub in Ballyvaughan. A bunch of about 50 riders arrived in with Stephen Roche for water and fruit. Lots of photos later and a quick chat we were off again for the final stretch and the Cork Screw climb.
This was the climb of the day and the one to test all riders. A few took off like it was a race, at which point Stephen Roche quickly stated, “Let them go lads, let them go, it’s not a race”. Half way up the Cork screw the pace setter was relentless and pulled away at a steady pace with about ten maybe fifteen riders.
Once over the top it was a 25km spin to the home finish. This was just as tough as the climb, the fuel tanks were low if not empty. From here there was a mix of single and small bunch riders. The bunch riders were working together to pull themselves home, picking up and dropping of singles along the way. With some varying climbs, good fast sections between Lisdoonvarna and Ennistimon. About 5k from Lahinch bodies were tried and empty of fuel but the support and encouragement was great!
Finishing in Lahinch was a great feeling and a sense of achievement. It was a tough route by any standard and well done to all the cyclist who finished. A very well organised event, with good safety measures and support for the “fallen”. Every one made it home safe and sound.