Date: 5th September 2015
Organiser: John O’Sullivan
Phone: 086 2546554
Address: 18 Priory Hall, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin
Entry Fee: €5 by Cheque or Postal Order, or PayPal to above e-mail address (plus €5 for optional Medal if required)
Closing Date: None
Start: Blackrock Shopping Centre, Co. Dublin
Time: 5.30am (TBC)
Numbers: All are welcome, Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Fáilte.
Route Description: The EWC (East West Challenge) is a fun event that seeks to join the East Coast with Pontoon towards the West on a cyclist’s gourmet tour in as straight a line as possible. It follows the old N4 and N5 roads mostly.
The ride departs at 05.30 (TBC) to avoid rush-hour traffic and the first break is a short comfort stop behind the bus shelter outside the West County Hotel. At this stage, the countryside beckons.
After an unusually long leg to the first control at Mother Hubbard’s (56km) riders are expected to rest well and partake in a Full Irish Breakfast with several trimmings. Thereafter the next (optional) stop is On the Run at the Downs, Mullingar (approx 80 Km). The route thereafter is peppered with more unofficial stops but with a few highlights: the long descent into Rathowen (107 km) and its photo opportunity; Barry’s (Keenan) in the eponymously name Termonbarry (138 km) offering a culinary highlight (bikes round the back – but carefully); Strokestown (150 km) as a double entendre; Frenchpark (178 km) for its natural down-home beauty, and the well-remembered Charlestown by-pass for the freshness of its headwind. This pan-flat route meanders gently and though it reaches a peak at only 126 metres it still sets a challenge because the time allowed is the same for a 200 km ride (EWC is a total of 236 km) and the number, frequency and length of the stops require a smart pace in-between. Regular riders – for this will be its eighth running – for a small fee, will also point out where the peloton stopped very briefly the weekend of the long shower. Editor’s Note: The shower started in Dublin and finished sometime after the cyclists in Mayo. It was accompanied by ‘fresh’ Westerly winds). Some swear they saw Noah’s Ark float past. Riders will also learn why ‘ina’ is pronounced one way in Ballina and a completely different way in Crossmolina.
The après-ride is a feature. After a quick dip in Lough Conn, Leonards pub in Lahardaun is a must-see and it would be a shame to leave the area without a next-day ride up the Windy Gap. Riders should consider booking a B&B locally and indeed staying in the hospitable Mayo surroundings for a good number of days. The Westport (or Castlebar) train will return riders and their bikes all too quickly to Heuston Station in Dublin.
Cycling Ireland Licence required, One-day Licence available on the day for €2.00