Home > bicycling, Epic Ride, Travel > Epic Ride 2012–Irish Hills north of Cork

Epic Ride 2012–Irish Hills north of Cork

Didn’t have to wait as long this year to get into the books what I think will be my Epic Ride for 2012. What is an Epic Ride. I have a few criteria.

1- Has to be somewhere you haven’t been before, hopefully remote and exotic!

2- Has to be over 100kms

3- Has to be interesting terrain, hilly preferred

Last year my Epic Ride was Hawkesbury River in Australia.

I may do one that is close later in the year but I doubt it. I am looking better in pictures but think I still need to drop a few more pounds!!

TubbyHubbyinIreland

Full details on this ride can be found at: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/182165160

This Epic Ride was in the Hills north of Cork Ireland and was 125km in length on a beautiful warm weekend for Ireland in the low 20s! From the map below you can see that I started out in Cork, then headed west until I turned north up to the mountains.

image

Last year my company changed our European offices from London UK to Cork Ireland and I was slated to spend two weeks there in late May. I knew that for that long of a trip I wanted my full on road bike so rented the bike box from my LBS and packed it up. Air Canada and Aer Lingus didn’t charge me and it arrived fine. I used it for a few early morning rides but come Saturday I was ready for a big ride!! Ireland drives on the left side and the roads are very narrow, but people drive a bit slower so felt a bit safer than Australia.

I left from my hotel early in the day and headed west. I used connect.garmin.com to find some people who had done some similiar rides in the area and found a number of them that mention the Boggeragh Mountains so that was where I headed. I used an app called CityMaps2Go which coupled with the GPS on my iPhone there was little chance that I would get lost (and I didn’t) even though the roads were obscure.  Once the maps are downloaded you don’t have to worry about wireless charges and if you are off the grid you have a map unlike the Maps link. Great app!

Here is the profile which shows that a few of the climbs were for me anyways very tough and I enjoyed the different challenge. In the end over a kilometer of climbing.

image

Up in the hills the views were fantastic and soon things got very remote.

IrishHills1

This next view comes right after a really really steep and long climb. Was a bit worried I was going to blow a lung and I did stop once about 1/2 up. If I go back may want to try this again!

IrishHills2

Going down the other side was fun but you had to be careful of the speed as the roads are narrow, tight and have sharp turns. Also due to the hedges on the sides you can’t see what is coming around the corner. I am surprised there aren’t 10-15 head on collisions each day here!

The big enough town of MillStreet was the more or less half way point of the ride and I rested here a short while before I headed back into the hills. Soon it was remote again with only the occasional farm house but otherwise awesome views. Then I rounded a corner and what looked like a mini stone hedge appeared.

It was fenced in but accessible so I parked the bike and headed over. There wasn’t a soul in sight and in the 30 minutes I spend only one car passed by. I felt transported a bit back in time and with the sun and the locale it was a magical moment. Turns out there are a number of these around in Cork County but for now this one was mine! A small sign didn’t give an name or anything. When I got back to the hotel I found out this was called the Knocknakilla stone circle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knocknakilla and looks to be at least 3500 years old!

IrishStones

There was a large pillar that was off at an angle and looked weathered and old.

IrishRock

And nearby was a small circle of stones.

IrishStoneCircle

Nobody really knows that these stone circles represent but the are a very cool piece of connective tissue to an age long gone by.

Getting my head out of the clouds I then had an awesome long descent into the town of Macroom. Along the way I passed free range sheep that blocked the road a bit. Macroom ended up being really busy (basically very small town streets with lots of traffic) so had to resort to walking around the stopped cars. At this time my legs started to suffer a bit but I was still able to keep up a decent pace. The wind picked up as I re-entered Cork but then I was back in my room and relaxing.

What a day! This is why I wanted to get fit.

I was wearing my heart rate monitor and the average BPM was 141 so a good long work out.

Here are the final stats:

image

Can’t wait for my Epic Ride next year!!

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Categories: bicycling, Epic Ride, Travel
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