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Spring Spin Cycles Report

posted 28 Apr 2014, 15:13 by Kevin Monaghan
(By Kevin Monaghan Sun. 27th April)   
The 2014 Spring Spin Cycles took place at the weekend. Lots of Wheelers interest with many participants both in terms of cyclists and support crew.  Here's an account of the weekend's proceedings in both the 280km Sligo Cycle Challenge and the more leisurly Family Cycle alongthe Royal Canal Way...

Sligo Cycle Day 1
Well we've made it half way.  Day one of Spring Spin 2014 is over and everyone is pleasantly tired, pleasantly fed and hopefully pleasantly enjoying a bottle of orange or two before tomorrow's return journey.

Thankfully the professional and amateur (you know who you are!) weather forecasters got it wrong.  If you were to pay attention to the forecast you'd be forgiven for not wanting to get out of bed this morning, let alone cycle almost 140km from The Downs to Sligo.  Thankfully though, Spring Spin Cyclists are made of sterner stuff and they were rewarded for their bravery with a very pleasant (there's that word again) surprise in that not only had they the sweetest tailwind but also escaped the rain except for a minor squib before the feed stop - happy days!

Glad to report that the day went off without a hitch, cycling conditions were great, the support crew did a fantastic job, the grub in The Downs, Annaduff and tonight in the Clarion Hotel was top notch and everyone got down safe and sound.  Well done to those who won one of the many marvelous spot prizes.  Here's hoping the weather gods are working in our favour again tomorrow and that we have a safe journey home.
Sligo Cycle Day 2
Home, showered and sitting down to dinner.  Doesn't sound too significant for a typical Sunday for a cyclist but today was no typical day.  For some it was day two of the Sligo Cycle Challenge and another 140k of pedal pounding along the N4 while for others it was the day of the Family Cycle, this year along the banks of the Royal Canal.  Those one hundred an sixty or so cyclists will know how significant it is to be home and hosed with the miles done, the legs (and other parts of the anatomy) aching but resting and of course with that huge sense of achievement both in terms of having the job done and having contributed to the efforts of two deserving charities.

It was great to see blue sky and bright sunshine when the curtains were opened in the Clarion on Sunday morning.  It would make for an ideal day to take on the challenge the hundred plus participants faced to get back to The Downs.   Following the invasion of the hotel restaurant where everything from muesli to fruit to full Irish breakfasts were devoured, it was time to check out and throw the tired legs back over the saddle.  The four groups were set off at thirty minute intervals similar to Saturday.  One or two late arrivals who missed their start had the comfort of the bus for the first few kms to catch up - photographic evidence to follow (don't forget to send them on Mick).

The tests came straight away with the long drag up out of Sligo and the undulating road along the dual carriageway and onto Castlebaldwin. But soon it was time for the big test as the Curlews loomed large ahead.  However every hill has a top and once you set your own pace you'll get there.  Following a short regrouping stop at Lough Key Forest Park it was on to Carrick-On-Shannon - expertly marshaled through the roundabouts by the moto-marshal crew and it wasn't long before the pit stop was reached and that legendary soup and a huge range of top notch fare was laid on by the catering crew.

The weather, which was fantastic all weekend, held good for the final leg home, except for one hail shower on the Longford by-pass which Groups one and two got caught in and Groups three and four avoided - "it never rains on the righteous" was the quote when it was learned that these groups stayed dry!  The four groups received a huge welcome home by the large crowd gathered at The Downs GAA club who once again generously made their facilities and people available to Spring Spin Cycles.

Family Cycle
A large number of this welcoming party were the participants in the Family Cycle which had just finished.   This year's Family Cycle took advantage of the newly resurfaced and officially opened cycle network route along the Royal Canal.  By all accounts and according to anyone I spoke to, this was a great innovation and resulted in a very successful and enjoyable cycle.  Lets hope that this introduction to the canal cycle route will prompt future visits to this marvelous amenity.  Well done to everyone who took part in the Family cycle - young and not-so-young and of course for your fundraising efforts.

Congratulations And Thank-Yous
A huge well done and thanks to everyone who took part in Spring Spin 2014: the cyclists/fundraisers who put the effort in on the bike and the bank!, the support crew to take of our early need over the weekend - marshals, mechanics, medics, drivers, caterers, administrative staff at registration, group leaders on the road, Family Cycle assistants and marshals and everyone I've just left out! A special word of thanks to the Civil Defence and moto-marshals for their expertise and to the Gardaí along the route for their assistance.
Spring Spin 2014 Participants
Spring Spin 2014 participants after Day 1 of the Sligo Cycle Challenge - more pictures HERE