Tag Archives: sports

Rebel Tour Glengarriff 2013

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.

rebel tour

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

dursey island

Dursey Island and Calf Rock

A paddle around Dursey Island needs a little bit of thought, but not too much organization, or at least that was the plan.

So I decided the organisation would be social media and posted up that I wanted to go to the Calf rock, I have always been intrigued by that cast iron lighthouse structure and the story of the men stranded for a week or so after it was knocked over by a “Tidal Wave”. After half an hour on the web I had a bite from a certain cheesy fellow from the neighbouring village of Eyeries, Quinlan Steele who from then on in my mind was Jasper Steele as was I Richie Winn… Quinlan runs the successful cheese business which is Milleens “by order of….” but more importantly  a local volunteer to the Castletownbere Coast Guard (We would be saved in the event of a miss hap) we decided to meet up at ten in the morning to paddle our way not only to the Calf Rock but at the same time around Dursey Island, rather that just up and down its south coast.

A day later I had been thinking, thanks to Jasper Winn and his book about paddling around Ireland that maybe we needed to work with the tides and worked out that hopefully setting off two hours before low tide would see a favourable tide going out and then with the turn of the tide the same coming back. IT WORKED, so we left at half two rather than 10 and I have to thank my dive buddy Jason Sheehan for letting me know that “well yes, yee should be OK with that plan but watch out at the end of Dursey Island”

Dursey Island

So we were off, I was concerned firstly about going through the Sound, so many local “shtories” about what a trouble that could be, but it was very calm and the current was virtually non existent until we got to the corner where I could certainly feel a pull on the boat, but when around the corner all was good and we paddled, sometimes together often alone along the northern side of the island. Quinlan had been explaining to me when we first met at the pier that it was often nice to paddle alone so that you did not have to talk to your partner, I took him at his word and left him alone, for fek sake in any case what the f..k do I know about cheese, apart from liking eating the stuff. find out here

After a short while we found ourselves at the end of the Dursey, but the end of Dursey Island in a Kayak is not the same as on foot and we had to paddle around what to me was a non existent “end” of the Island, bumping into Tim Murphy who told us the time of day and watched a sailing boat go around towards Sneem or Castlecove. We finally set sight on the Calf Rock, my destination and paddled past the temporary lighthouse station on the very end of Dursey Island.

We set our “bearing” for the Calf, the sea now felt different and to me menacing, I certainly felt that I was in the Ocean and not just paddling along the coast line, there were whirlpools and I could feel the effect of the energy of the sea on my Kayak. I was “intimidated” by being here and thought about the people who paddle across great expanses of water on their own. With only  a waterproof radio to get help if needed, I had a mobile phone (which you can’t use with a wet finger) but I also had the local coast guard volunteer. We got to the Rock and it is the tiniest piece of Rock  I ever imagine had a manned Lighthouse built on it.

Calf Rock

The poor men who were trapped here for over a week after the lighthouse was “knocked” must of been scared shitless waiting for their rescue, the Rock has steps cut into it at many points. Unfortunately and despite the fine day I certainly did not feel like taking the risk of getting out of my kayak to land. I really wanted to visit the Calf but we were there on a low tide and there seemed to be nowhere safe to get out and I did not want to take a dip. Next time maybe. On top of that the big seal on the rock that slipped into the water worried me and Quinlan did not help with his Jaws like stories of dangerous seals humping Kayaks in the water and biting people with dirty teeth that leave infected wounds. I think he had his mark on me by now and was just trying to scare me, and me telling him that I had heard stories about seals scaring divers just helped him to wind me up a bit more on our way back to the mainland “Dursey Island”

Now we were on the homeward leg and I was starving, having not been able to land I had to ask Quinlan to open my rear hatch (oooo errrr) and get my banana and biscuits out which I managed to scoff down fairly quickly. The sea was very calm and we made easy progress towards the villages of Dursey Island getting to the tiny Island slightly separated from Dursey to take a snap of the old Coast Guard station.

We finally got back to the shore after 3.5 hours of paddling, I knew my ankles would be sore but the biggest problem was getting out without falling into the sea as the concrete slipway runs out and everything is slimy green, we made it though with a  few laughs and drove back to Allihies for a pint in the aptly ,named Lighthouse bar.

Thanks to Quinlan for coming with me it truly was a “great day out”

I also have stuff on tomyboo.com and balooz.com

An account of the Calf Rock disaster here

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