Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle
Ring of Kerry “Wrong way around”
The Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle in August is hosted by the Killarney Cycling Festival http://killarneycyclingfestival.com/ it is done in reverse. You have two choices both go the opposite way to the traditional Ring of Kerry Cycle which has been going for nearly 30 years now. http://www.ringofkerrycycle.ie/
One is called the Wrong Way Around (160km) in reverse leaving out Kenmare (Moll’s Gap to Sneem) the other is the Hard way Around, for the challenge I tried the Hard one.
Ring of Kerry Cycle “The Hard Way Around”
This is what we met when we turned off the “wrong way around” Ring of Kerry Cycle, there was only 3 of us out of a couple of hundred so we were wondering if there something we don’t know. Two of us were from Kerry so we knew the roads and what lay ahead it was going to be Tough.
Cycling up Moll’s Gap was easy, Ballaghbeama was a bit harder for a short time but Ballaghasheen was very tough it took every effort to stay going to the top. The next part was going to be a long slog, 20km straight into the prevailing Atlantic winds, it was like cycling into a wind tunnel, it seemed to go on forever. Eventually, we met the cyclists from the 160km wrong way around at a food stop. We were very well catered for, Tea, Sandwiches, pasta salad, water and bananas.
I was looking forward to the next part but knew it was going to be so tough, the highest pass in Ireland in a short distance, this means only one thing “STEEP” Very steep, it is tough to drive in places. Before that, we would pass Reenroe, Dungeagan and Ballinskelligs and continue on the “Skellig Ring” to Saint Finian’s Bay, no time for the Skellig Chocolate factory today. Wow, it has to be some of the Best scenery in Kerry if not in Ireland, watch the video.
Coomanaspic Pass next and every effort I have as a very part-time cyclist will be needed to get to the summit, it is narrow and very steep especially on some of the hairpin bends which are hard to navigate especially if you have to stay left and tight to the ditch. Oncoming cars and passing cars can push you tight to even steeper turns and makes the climb much more difficult. That said we got a reasonable run with only a handful of cars and did make it to the top without having to dismount, that said it took huge mental discipline of a personal nature for me to get to the top as my arms, legs, breathing and probably my heart were all is stress mode for a good 15 minutes, felt like hours !!
It was a great sense of achievement to get to the top, it was climb number four and the toughest by far and the views were amazing nearly worth the pain to get to the top. After that, it was to Cahersiveen, the Mountain Stage, Killorglin and back to Killarney. The winds we fought for much of the Cycle were now behind us so it was a handy return to Killarney. Wow the Ring of Kerry the “Hard Way Around” is a great challenge and I would recommend it to anyone who interested in achieving something other than the usual yet beautiful Ring of Kerry, it will give you memories grater then anything before on a bike.