Saturday the 14th of September 2013 saw 2500 cyclist arriving in Glengarriff Co. Cork to take part in one or other of the routes for the 2013 Rebel tour. What a turn out the town was swimming in bikes all warming up for which ever route they had signed up to do.
I believe that there were about 1200 riders doing the longest route of 160KM and I wonder how many of those riders realised how tough the route would be. I was lucky as living on the Beara Peninsula I knew what was going to come around every bend and rode my bike slower in some easy sections to recuperate before the big hills that were to come.
An Post Rebel Tour
I started right at the front behind the lead car so that I could avoid any delays and we sped up through the town and headed up the tunnel road, after about 2KM quite a few stronger riders had passed me out but I held my own and was not put off by this. Through the tunnel at the top and a great fast ride in a bunch all the way to Kenmare in 52 minutes. Then on to Lauragh staying with the same group of riders to Tuosist. Here there is a climb up and over into Lauragh which is a bit of a warm up for the Healey pass.
Lots of riders who were ahead of me stopped for water at Lauragh but I kept on going as I had enough with me and got to the top of the Healey pass in 1 hour and 57 minutes. Flying down the other side passing a number of riders all the way down to Adrigole where there was a food stop which I ignored therefore passing more of the riders who were ahead of me.
A lone plod into Castletownbere where I was caught by the group including Sonia O’Sullivan who had been yoyoing with me since the start of the ride. An outstandingly fit woman who blew me away on every hill, but my speed on the flats and fast descending meant we were always close. We chatted to the hill “Goula” where she again left me on my own and I rode into Allihies and stopped for a minute at home to fill my water bottle.
Photo: thanks to Liam Kinsella
The tough part was to come, I knew this, the section from Allihies to Urhan was going to be the hardest part of the ride, first the “Wall” past Annie Gouldings house out the saddle in first gear 39 * 23 (not low enough) was a tough one, followed by the hill past Steven Hanley’s place towards Urhan, When I topped that hill I was thinking I would be delighted but no, I had a fear that I would not recover enough for the last ride up the Healey pass 25KM away. I rode steadily till Eyeries and allowed myself a stop for a few minutes for a cup of tea, I had no intention of stopping but was worried about the “bonk”, I met Sonia there again and she left a few minutes before me. I rode alone till Lauragh and started to feel better again, on top of that at Lauragh we were meeting riders for the 85KM route so I was riding up the Healey pass with a lot of riders again which kind of made it easier.
At the top of the Healey pass I said hello again to Martin Sullivan and my time was 5 hours and 7 minutes, I was then thinking I would not be able to break the six hour barrier, but luckily a fast descent and then a slog up the hill out of Adrigole towards Glengarriff and I was rewarded with the 7 downhill KM to Glengarriff arriving in 5h 58minutes and just in time to hear Sonia do her speech, I don’t know by how many minutes she beat me but it could not have been too many. It would be nice to know what the quickest time was, but again not so important as the only race involved was against myself.
What a great event followed by a couple of pints in Bernard Harringtons.
Thanks to the organisers, volunteers, medics, food stops etc it was brilliant.
irishwordpress and the rebel tour report