Atlantic Challenge

Post date: Apr 10, 2017 9:53:9 PM

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun 9th April 2017)

April Fool's morning saw a decent representation of the Wheelers gathering in Ennistymon for the 2017 edition of the Stephen Roche Atlantic Challenge. A very strong NW wind off the sea and vicious showers racing in from the Aran Islands didn't augur well for the spin. A crowd in excess of 2500 cyclists snaked their way out past town and were strung out over the full length of the 4 kms to Lahinch.

His old nemesis, Sean Kelly, also graced five Wheelers eating tea and cake after the spin. A great spin made better by having me time with two cycling legends.

All in all, a very enjoyable early season sportive with beautiful countryside and weather, enjoyed by all. The great man himself, Stephen Roche, even towed one Wheeler up the first climb!

The huge peloton started to splinter on the first climb into the teeth of the wind up to the Cliffs of Moher. The sun came out and the scenery was fantastic. The chain gangs sped past Fanore and onto Ballyvaughan. Then Cork Screw Hill put a brake on proceedings temporarily.

As soon as we reached the higher levels of the Burren it was a very brisk spin through Lisdoonvarna, too fast for any thoughts of "match making", and down to the finish in Ennistymon.