Cycling is a lot like everyday life . You get more out of it if you have something to aim for . Last week the route for this years FBD Ras was announced and there was that palpable sense of nervous excitement around those who are riding in this years event , which may possibly be the last . The Ras is a great goal to have and most people racing have a race picked out that they would like to perform in . But cycling is much bigger than racing and for those who do not race but would like to have something to aim for and a new challenge here are a few ideas ;
DOMESTIC – based in Ireland ;
THE SEAN KELLY TOUR – 3 routes 25 , 100 and 160 k to choose from . Starting and finishing in Dungarvan Co. Waterford . Some challenging climbs on a very scenic route . Over 2000 participants . Get to cycle beside Sean Kelly himself on Sunday August 30th . www.theseankellytour.com
THE WICKLOW 200 – 2 routes . 100 and200 k to choose from . Starting and finishing in UCD Belfield . Up to 2000 participants .Cycle through ‘The Garden of Ireland’ on Sunday June 7th . www.wicklow200.ie
THE RING OF KERRY – 112 miles or 186 k . Starting and finishing in Killarney Co. Kerry . Up to 3000 participants on the most famous road in Ireland . Feel independent on Saturday July 4th www.ringofkerrycycle.ie
For those of you feeling a bit more adventurous there are also a number of multiday events based in Ireland ;
THE TOUR OF IRELAND : A 5 stage event with stages of 108 , 132 , 124 , 128 and 123 MILES . Starting in Lisburn and finishing in Dublin . Hundreds of participants . Feel like a pro from May 7th to 11th . www.tourofireland.eu
THE RACE AROUND IRELAND . The toughest of all . A 1350 mile ( 2250 k ) non -stop 1 lap race around Ireland . Hundreds of participants from around the world , some of whom will be preparing for ‘The Race Across America’ . Not for the fainthearted but definitely one to tell the grandchildren about . Team and individual races begin on Wednesday September 16th , probably finish on Sunday September 20th . www.racearoundireland.com
And then for those who may want to see a bit of sunshine , there are many other foreign challenges . The two most popular are ;
THE ETAPE DU TOUR – Ride an actual stage of this years Tour de France a few days before the race itself . Over 8000 participants on closed roads make this the ultimate Sportive . 174 k finishing on the top of Mont Ventoux . Lance Armstrong called the 21.2 k , 7.6 % climb up the windswept barren slopes ‘ the toughest climb in France’ . See you there on Monday July 20th . www.letapedutour.com
There are 2 Irish tour operators operating official Etape packages ;
THE MARMOTTE – 174 k with over 5000 metres of climbing . Going over some of the most famous climbs in France and finishing on top of Alpe d’Huez on Saturday July 4th . Like the Etape with thousands of riders from around the globe . Another ‘must do’ for any real cycling fan .
The main Irish agency for ‘The Marmotte’ is ;
Hopefully all of this may have given you something to think about and possible aim for . Most people would probably just do one event , some may do a number of them . Pick the one that suits you best and get busy training now that you have something to aim for .