Tír Chonnail Gap CC Annual Harvest Fair Cycle Challenge
2018 was the 8th year of our Annual Harvest Fair cycling event, numbers were down this year but that didn’t effect the day for all the eager cyclists that left in one of 3 different Routes lined out for them. The event got off to a good dry start and even though the rain came in everyone thoroughly enjoyed their day.
A lot of work goes into organising these cycling sportifs and that’s all done by our very proactive committee and this year was no different they organised another well marshalled, safe event with great food stops and refreshments afterwards. A special thanks to all our own members, neighbouring clubs (Finn Wheelers, Donegal Bay and Errigal) and visitors from other cycling clubs and areas for participating in our Annual Harvest Fair event yesterday, without your continued support these events wouldn’t be the same.
Thank you to all marshals in town, on motorbikes, cars, and sweepers that covered the 3 routes and the Gardai. Thank you to our first aiders and photographers. Special thanks to the Comprehensive school for the use of their gym, the Blue Haven, Kilcar for the tea stop and the Highlands Hotel for serving another wonderful spread of food.
With three distances to choose from, there is something for everyone. We have some excellent local scenery, and all three routes were chosen to include “a bit of everything”. It’s impossible to cycle more than 100m in South West Donegal without encountering a hill so be prepared for some climbing. And although you should keep your eyes on the road at all times, do enjoy the scenery. There are water stops on all routes, and a food stop on both the 75km and 120km routes. Tea and scones will be available after the 30km ride, and hot food will be served back in Glenties after the two longer runs. We operate a cut off time on the 120km route, in order that we can get everyone back home whilst the food is still hot. There’s a shortcut home from The Five Points, and the cut off procedure will be explained during the event day briefing.
Cycling Ireland licenses are required and must be shown. If you do not have a CI license, then you will need a day license, which can be purchased at registration for €5.
“The Narin Loop”
Never describe this route as “only” 30k; it is one of the toughest 30ks around. You will head out of Glenties towards Narin and Portnoo. After climbing the Doctor’s Brae, you have a brief respite before another long climb up towards Narin. You may get a glimpse across the Gweebarra Bay to Inishkeel Island and the remains of St Chonaill’s monastery. Tír Chonaill means the land of St Chonaill. Head on past the Dolmen Centre and on towards Ardara, passing the historic Kilclooney Dolmen. From Ardara it is up down, up down all the way back into Glenties for your well earned refreshments.
“Glengesh and Killybegs”
Both the 75k and 120k routes take in Glengesh. Whilst the 120kers work their way up to it, the hardy 75k cyclists head straight there. From Glenties you will go through Ardara and straight up Glengesh. Our tip: take her handy till the hairpin, there’s a lot more hill after the S. Feel free to stop at the viewing point and catch your breath looking back down the mountain you’ve just conquered out to the Atlantic. A lovely descent follows into Carrick before the climbing starts again. You will most definitely have earned your food stop at Kilcar where you can gaze over Fintra Strand, and if you’re lucky you might even see a dolphin or two. Back on the bike, through Killybegs bustling harbour, over The Nick to Ardara and the more gentle ups and downs of the road back into Glenties. A great workout for anyone.
“All the Glens”
So, you think you can tackle the 120km route? We hope you’ve brought your climbing legs. This one isn’t for the feint hearted. You will head out of Glenties towards Portnoo and then round to Ardara, with a couple of good warm up hills before you hit Glengesh. Enjoy the descent, because you’re going to be going straight back up again – over The Glen, and then down into Glencolumcille. The view from the top is beautiful and definitely worth the climb. From here you will follow the main road round to Kilcar and a welcome food stop before heading off to Killybegs. We have a time cut off at The Five Points in order to ensure you are back in time for the hot food. Carry on along the coast and down to Frosses where you will start your last climb of the day up Meenagran. Once you hit Binban, give yourself a pat on the back and coast downhill back to Glenties and refreshments.