I've been doing 50-80k on the bike each weekend, unless I was racing, so when I heard about this fundraiser cycle for just €15 I booked it straight away.
I had decided to take it relatively easy on this one, due to racing the following weekend, but as with a lot of my pacing plans, that didn't happen!
I cycled to the start (Skyrne GFC) with about 20mins to go and met a couple of club mates from the Athletics Club. They were both doing the 100k, so I didn't see them for the rest of the day. After sign in I grabbed a coffee and got my goodie bag. The down-side with cycling to the start was not having anywhere to put the goodie bag. So I ended up putting the energy gel, energy bar, banana and water bottle in my cycling jersey pockets and giving away the bag of crisps.
The 100k group started first and then the 50k shortly after. I started near the front of the pack (we were told in the registration that it is NOT a race), but I was quickly overtaken by most of the group. It was quite clear that I was not one of the "real cyclists" as I call them. The marshalling was excellent and friendly and the hills weren't too long or steep. I think it's an unwritten rule that every cycling event on the county has to go to/over the Hill of Tara. If you look at the course elevation below, Tara is the steepest bit near the middle.
There was a food stop at the top of Tara, which was great, but the hot water hadn't boiled by the time we got there, so I just had the banana I brought with me, some water and got going again. It wasn't that warm and there was a breeze up there, so I decided to keep moving. I was unsure of my average pace, but had made it half way in 63mins, including the climb, so I was happy with that.
The second half didn't have that many hills, or that's the way it seemed, but it felt slower. Legs getting tired by this stage. The group was well spread out by now and I only saw 5 or 6 cyclists during this part.
By the time I was on the Skyrne Road again I was wondering when we would be turning off it for a final loop before the finish. As it happened there was no loop and we finished up with around 46k instead of 50. It wasn't a race, so not officially measured, so not a big deal. After getting a burger at the BBQ (with no buns - I don't eat bread) and another coffee I headed off home on the bike again for another 12k or so.
By the time I got home, the sun had come out and I had clocked up 70k before 12 noon. The cycle home was definitely done at a slower pace, but as it was overall downhill I did it one min faster than the cycle to the start that morning.
Time to recover and taper before Killarney!