I had prepared for Connemara, maybe not by following the typical training plan but I had been out for a few long cycles beforehand. I'm going to put my hand up right now and make a confession... I haven't been on my bike since Connemara which was the 24th of May which was over 4 weeks ago! What sort of a dose am I? I had promised I'd focus on cycling for now yet here I am half way through a Run Streak and finding myself without any time to get in a cycle.
When I signed up, I picked the 160km route but following a massive change of confidence/heart/courage during the week, I have changed to the 96km route - the Heart of the Burren. The route is described as follows on the website:
From Ballyvaughan, head along the Galway Road into Bellharbour. Continue along the N67, where you after approx 12km, you encounter our first climb, ‘The Ballaghdine’. After a further 2km at the Galway Border and turn right up ‘The Corker Hill’. This is a 1km testing climb, that will really get your heart pumping.
The next 7km is a mixture of downhill and relatively flat cycling, until you commence the 6.5km climb to Carron village, with the first 3km the most testing. The following 17.5km to Newtown Castle will take you through the heart of the Burren passing Caherconnell Stone (38km) fort where you will have your first water stop the remarkable Poll na Bron Dolman, before a scenic descent, down Ballyalban Hill, past the Aillwee Cave, when you will rejoin the N67 at Newtown Castle Cross.
From here you begin the ascent of the infamous Corkscrew Hill. The entire climb, with its numerous switch backs is just 5km. For the next 11.5km or so, you will have a nice steady and relaxing cycle to Lisdoonvarna, where there will be a welcome break (60km), with tea, sandwiches, salmon on brown bread and of course, cheesecake!
The final 37km will bring you into Doolin and then along the Wild Atlantic Way, back to Ballyvaughan and the finish of this years event.