Castleknock CC's Journey to the Giant's Causeway Coast Sportive

Posted on March 29, 2018 @ 3:12 PM in Cycling

We've always been fasincated by all of the small stories that go on in the background in the lead up to the Giant's Causeway Coast Sportive. This year we've got an ear to the ground with one cycling club from Dublin. Noelle and Mark will be keeping us up to date on all their preparations from now right the way until the big day on September 8th. Follow along and share your own stories on the Giant's Causeway Coast Sportive Facebook page!


Mark and Noelle: Saturday 12th May

Welcome back! So what a day we got for the Castleknock Cycling Club 100km to the Hill of Tara, someone knew we meant business. It was glorious. There was staggered departure times so that we would all arrive roughly around the same time to Maguire’s Café for tea and scones at the Hill of Tara (10:50)  – needles to say I was in the elite group! We started at 8:15 – figure out which group I was in!

22km/hr group departure 08:15

24km/hr group departure 08:40

26km/hr group departure 08:50

28km/hr group departure 09:00

So Kathleen took the helm of our group of 10 as the leader, which was great as she runs a steady ship and keep things moving. John who was out for a while with an injury also joined us for some of the cycle, it was great to see him back with us on Saturday.

The route took us through Dunboyne, Summerhill, Dunsany, and Kilmessan and onto the Hill of Tara. The roads were relatively quite most of the way. Spring has finally arrived; the country has gone ‘green’ over night. In Meath I noticed a lot of cattle out grazing, as a farmer’s daughter great to see, the poor animals were in for too long over the winter.

55 cyclists descended on Maguire’s Café around 10:50 and thanks to the great organisation by CCC’s event’s coordinator, Fiona Reidy, we were all fed and watered within 20 minutes. It was really nice for all the different groups to meet here and just relax and have a chat. Andrew drove from Castleknock to take some pics of us and see we all arrived alive! and Jim Healy drove up to give some mechanical support where needed. Prior to departure there was the obligatory photo shoot of the group and then we all set off back home. At this stage we had 52 km complete before we set off again, good to have the back broken of it so to speak. On the way back we acquired 2 extra cyclists, Roisin and Clare and lost 1 to the 24km group – Martin couldn’t keep up with us! Fiona, Kathleen and Jackie also took their own route home as a group of 3. Now Roisin stepped up to the plate as leader and did a fine job taking us through Skryne, Ratoath, Fleenstown, Mulhuddart and back to base – Insomina in Carpenterstown for more tea and scones. On arrival here we had completed 100km on the nose.

So to recap it was a fantastic day, so well organised and every one in great form.

Oh I also was wearing a better pair of cycling shorts – made me notice the sunny day more!

 

Mark and Noelle: Saturday 28th April 

A huge gang of about 25 of us assembled in the Carpenter car park ready to take advantage of the almost perfect weather conditions which were dry and bright but slightly cold so it was hard to decide on the right amount of layers for the cycle. The 22k group were heading towards Kilcock, Summerhill and then  back through Dunboyne. The 24K group was heading towards Kilteel via Athgoe and back through Celbridge and Lucan. I decided to go out with the 24k group which was being lead by Erick who did a fantastic job of keeping everyone safe.

In total there were 12 of us in the 24K group we started at a good pace that we were all comfortable with. We went out past Lucan to Newcastle and onto Athgoe. As always everyone found the hill at Athgoe to be quite challenging. The climb helped everyone to get nicely warmed up and on the decent we took in some amazing views over Dublin City. We again had another challenging hill as we made our way up towards Kilteel and we stopped for a quick sip of water at the top and allowed everyone to catch their breath.

As we worked our way back to Celbridge we had a few other climbs that caught us by surprise...I think by the time we got Celbridge I think the group were happy to know there were no more hills on the route. In total we had 600 meters of climbing which is pretty respectable for a 70K cycle. We made our way back via Lucan golf club and Erick had one more surprise in store for us...a climb up Somerton Lane which spent the last of any energy that we had left!!

Overall really nice challenging route with a nice mix of hills and views over Dublin and a great bunch to do it with.

 

Mark and Noelle: Saturday 7th April

Again we had fine conditions starting off our cycle and the numbers were great we had around 25 of us assembled in the carpenter pub car park ready to get going. Again we split into 4 groups but this time most people opted to go with the 24k group so that had to be further divided into two groups of 7 cyclists. Both the 22K and 24K groups were heading towards Kilbride and Rathoath doing a 50K spin and the 26 and 28k groups had a longer and more challenging 86K spin heading out towards Maynooth, Kilcock and Enfield. 

 

This week I headed out with the 24K group and we started out at a solid pace out past the Blanchardstown centre and heading towards Hollystown. Although it was not raining the ground was a little wet so we had careful to be on roundabouts ect.

We had the wind in our faces as we headed out the Rathoath road so we kept in a tight formation and changed the leader to keep the good pace we had going. We ran into the other 24K group as they were heading in the same direction as us, the roads were also busy with other groups of cyclists. We managed to avoid any mechanical mishaps this week but we did take one or two wrong turns which did slow us down a little. Crossing over the M3 motorway we passed along the back of the airport which is well known for being a hard drag with a strong head wind so that took the last of our energy.

 

Overall a really enjoyable cycle with a good bunch and a nice route through Meath and North Dublin. The weather seems to have changed at last and as a group there a feeling the maybe the eternal winter is over and that we can now get going with some long spins. Rumour has it we are going to go for our first adventure to the Dublin mountains next week, that will be a great test for our fitness early in the year.

 

 

Mark and Noelle: Saturday March 24th

Following a few weeks of inactivity due to adverse weather conditions the numbers signing up for this weeks spins were huge. There was almost 25 of us assembled outside the carpenter ready to enjoy the bright but cold weather. We were split into four groups a 22K, 24K and two 26K (as we had reached the limit of 12 persons per group for that speed). So under instruction from our spin leaders we set off. All of us were heading for Kildare the 22s and 24s were heading towards Maynooth-Straffin and then back through Celbridge covering 55K in total. Both 26s were heading out over the n7 towards Athgoe and back also through Celbridge covering a distance just shy of 70K. 

I was with the second of the 26K groups being headed up by our fearless spin leader Tom who kept us safe and sound. We started out at a strong pace to keep the cold at bay, after going through Lucan and Newcastle we hit Athgoe. What I didn't know was that just outside Athgoe there is a huge hill that drags for a good 500 meters. After a serious workout getting to the top we took a much needed break for a few minutes to get some food and liquids in. I was dead last to the top of the hill- a few weeks off the bike was really taking its toll on me and I was lagging at the rear of the group. We had another break when one of our team had a puncture just outside of Clane however with some expertise and the use of some modern toys (i.e pocket gas) we were back on the road less than 10 minutes later.  

 

Coming back through Maynooth we caught up with the 22s and 24s and we all got to the coffee shop at about the same time for a cappuccino. Overall a very enjoyable spin with bright but cold conditions and a good marker for this time of year.

Mark and Noelle: 17th March 18

So today our organised spin was cut from 50km to 33km due to the snowing / sleety conditions ...not that I was complaining! Our Irish winter seems to want to take an extended holiday here and doesn’t want the sun to come out.

So 2 great leaders took the reigns today - Brian and Tony. They kept a tight ship and got us 8 "hardy bucks"around safely.
It was real cold but must say very enjoyable and the tea after was so welcome.

Again I’m not wearing the correct gear and a lot of comments on my inadequate shorts being short and not long so deffo need to get that sorted.

 

Mark and Noelle: 15th March 18:

So tonight we had our first meeting to organise the 'Castleknock Cycling Club’s' weekend away to Antrim for the 'Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive' on the 08 Sept 18.


The meeting was headed up by a proud Kerry woman who had 7 diligent attendees. Tasks were divided out accordingly and I and my Mayo counterpart got tasked with organising the quiz for the weekend away. I love quizzes not that I’m any good, just nosey!

We had a gear fitting also post our meeting. There was all sizes of any thing stretchy with loads of padding. I myself am taking the plunge, splash out as you may and going to invest in a proper pair of club cycling shorts so after that there’s no stopping me, Antrim here I come!

We'll update this page with all of the club's antics as the big day comes closer. If you'd like to keep us updated on what your club is doing coming up to the big day, we'd love to hear from you! Email us to info@cycleni.com and tell us your plans.

Noelle Rohan
Noelle Rohan  Cyclist with Castleknock Cycling Club

Ulster Way Highlights- The Causeway Coast Way

Posted on March 9, 2018 @ 10:45 AM in Walking

Take a walk along Northern Ireland's most celebrated coastline: voted walkers 'Favourite Coastal Walk' in the 2017 WalkNI Awards. High cliffs, secluded beaches and numerous historic and natural landmarks are just some of the treats on offer along this section of the Ulster Way

Ulster Way Highlights

This 33-mile long linear route from Portstewart to Ballycastle in Co. Antrim is marvellously varied and can be explored in two days or in smaller sections depending on your length of stay. With frequent access points and terrain suitable for fit walkers, this is one route you'll remember for years to come.

Causeway Coast Way

Walking The Causeway Coast Way

Ulster Way Highlights

Day 1: Portstewart to the Giant's Causeway, 15 miles

Starting from the bustling seaside town of Portstewart, the route follows a popular stretch of path to Portrush. A long, sweeping beach and a medieval castle are highlights as you leave these Victorian seaside resorts towards Portballintrae. The next section of trail is entirely off-road, bringing you along a beach and onto high, wild coastline that characterises the middle part of this long-distance route. 

Day 2: The Giants Causeway Ballycastle 18 miles

The second day of walking picks up the trail at the Giant's Causeway and follows the cliff path. This section of trail offers a phenomenal bird’s-eye view of the UNESCO World Heritage Site from the Causeway's 100ft high coastal cliffs. You may wish to make a slight detour by following the 'Shepherd Steps' towards the sea and the infamous lava-formed columns. The trail from this point changes to grassy paths along cliff tops and over the route's highest point. Points of interest include sea caves, harbours used in Game of Thrones and Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge. From this point the walk follows a diversion to the finish in Ballycastle (please note some walkers choose to finish the route at the rope bridge to avoid the section of road).

Where To Stay

Ulster Way Highlights- Where to stay

There are a wide range of walker friendly accommodation options along the Causeway Coast Way. We recommend choosing one place to stay and availing of transport on each day of your walk. More accommodation information can be found on pg.17 of the Causeway Coast Way Guide.

Where To Eat

Ulster Way Highlights- Where to eat

After a long day walking, some good food and delicious coffee is a must! The Causeway Coast has a wealth of restaurants and cafes that serve high quality, home cooked and locally produced food. Along the trail, why not stop off at Mini Maegden for a delicious grilled cheese sandwich and hot chocolate or call into Bothy Coffee near White Park Bay. For a full list of where to eat on the Causeway Coast please visit www.heartofthecausewaycoastandglens.com and www.northcoastni.com

Getting Around

There are several ways you can travel around the Causeway Coast ideal for those who wish to base themselves in one location and avoid the hassle of carrying large rucksacks.

Translink have a number of bus services running on this route throughout the year. An additional 'Causeway Rambler' service is added in the summer months. Check out the Translink Journey Planner for more information. There are also several taxi companies in this area who can be booked as a pick up and drop off service each day. For contact details on all of the above check out Pg.19 of the Causeway Coast Way Guide.

Please be aware that this walking route passes through areas of open land such as hillside, working farmland and working forests. Livestock may be present, ground conditions may be uneven or wet underfoot and all forestry signage should be adhered to. Please refer to the ‘Walk Safely and Responsibly’ Guide.

Although this walk is waymarked walkers are always advised to carry the relevant map and ensure they are prepared for changeable weather.

You can read our previous blogs in the series here: 'Ulster Way Highlights- The Mourne Way', 'Ulster Way Highlights- The Sliabh Beagh Way'.

Latest comment posted by Alan Sharp on July 1, 2018 @ 9:26 AM

I am not sure that the lava columns near the Giant's Causeway should be described as 'infamous'. What infamy have they committed? Read more >

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Officer & Active Clubs Coordinator for Walking

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She oversees the marketing and communication on WalkNI, OutdoorNI and Walking in Your Community Project. Most recently she has been working with Parkrun Ireland & UK to introduce the 'Walk @ parkrun' initiative.

Northern Ireland's Outdoor Adventure Blog outdoorni.com walkni.com cycleni.com canoeni.com