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Tour of the Heartlands

posted 5 May 2013, 14:39 by Kevin Monaghan
(By Shay O’Toole)   
Shannonside CC Logo
Our near neighbours, Shannonside Cycling Club, hosted their annual tour on Sunday April 28th but with a thick mist sliding down the windows at 7.30am it didn’t look good for the 150 km they had planned. The journey over to the start at Garrycastle GAA club wasn’t very uplifting either as we drove through shower after shower and one heavier than the next.

On arrival, it was evident from the small crowd present that there was a fairly tough day ahead with strong winds blowing from the West. There were only three Lakeside jerseys lined up with Cathy, myself and Oliver Keating representing the Wheelers. Tour organisers decided at the last minute to make some adjustments to the distances and the long spin was shortened from 150KM to 130KM which was a decision that nobody was going to argue with.

Departing Athlone we cycled towards Roscommon before turning left in Lecarrow through a nice wooded section and headed for the big climb of the day at Skryne which would be the Shannonside version of our “Col de Piggery”. After a brief regroup we continued on through Athleague after which we crested a new climb on this tour at Mount Talbot and which the Shannonsiders have christened “Mount Mary”. I am sure there is a very plausible reason for this but it didn’t concern us too much as a left turn at the bottom signified the end of the headwind. With the advantage now of a strong tailwind the speed ramped up to 28mph all the way to Newbridge where we stopped for tea and sambos and as Cathy was the only lady in the group she was spoilt for choice with lots of lads very fairly sheltering her from the front.

Once we refueled we were back in hammer mode all the way to Ballinasloe where a split formed and the stronger group took off for home. We stayed in the “slower” group riding steadily at 24mph to the dual carriageway where for safety reasons we rode single file back to base. Overall it was a great spin as despite the poor outlook the weather actually held up and we even got some nice sunshine for much of the day. 
Many thanks to the Shannonside lads for a fabulous day out, especially Gordon Brett for leading the spin and influencing the regrouping at the top of climbs which held the bunch together for most of the day.