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Enjoyable Athlone Fallen Leaves Tour 2013

posted 29 Sept 2013, 12:54 by Kevin Monaghan
(By Shay O'Toole)   
On Sunday, September 22nd our near neighbours Shannonside Cycling Club staged the Tour of the Fallen Leaves sportive which is a fundraiser for disabled children with all monies raised going towards bringing the children on a well-deserved holiday to Lourdes each year. This year the Athlone based club decided to step up the tour to full sportive level and changed the route from previous years to include the Slieve Bloom Mountains.

Lakeside Wheelers were well represented on the day and with the sun shining brightly all day, what a day it was. At 9.30am we set off from Bucaneers Rugby Club and it wasn’t long before we felt the true extent of the heat as we approached the foothills of the “Blooms” in a peloton of 100 plus. Thankfully the wind was very gentle as we all rolled up the first climb known as the “Cut” but as usual in hilly terrain the bunch divided up into several groups of varying pace. Dry roads meant that we had a trouble free descent but for those who have been to this lovely landscape before know, it was only a small respite before we hit the bottom of the second climb, “Wolftrap” which is much nastier with gradients of 13% in places. With many experienced riders suffering on this well-known slope the most common statement at the refreshment stop in Kinnity was “it doesn’t get any easier no matter how often you do it”.

Now fully refreshed and fuelled thanks to the support team we all departed this picturesque village for Athlone via Kilcormac, Ferbane and Ballinahown and with most lads keen to get home for the Mayo v’s Dublin All Ireland final the pace was very lively across the bog roads. On arrival back to base we had a “handy” 85 miles clocked up on one of the most beautiful days the “Blooms” have ever seen. Lakeside riders were, Aidan Farrell, Aidan Fox, Charlie Sheridan, Graham Morgan, Donal Kelleher, Pairic Devine, Andy Van Beck, John Nugent, Shay O’Toole and Cathy O’Toole.

Thanks to Tony Reilly, Gordon Brett, Jim Maguire and all the Shannonside lads for putting on a great day on the bike and if you have never ventured over to the Slieve Blooms, get the miles in over the winter and make a date for a nice day early in 2014, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Wheelers among the starters in 2013 Falling Leaves Tour
Wheelers among the starters in 2013 Falling Leaves Tour
(Picture Martin Reilly)