Organiser: Pat Dease
The Excelsior 200 has been designed to provide a good challenge over the shorter Audax distance of 200 Kilometres.
As most of the more difficult Audax events take place over distances of 300 Kilometres or greater it seemed appropriate to design a route that would provide a serious challenge but within a shorter distance and time frame that still leaves room to get home in time for Tea.
As such, the route includes an elevation gain of over 4000 metres covering a distance of 208 Kilometres.
The route starts and ends just outside Shankill, South County Dublin and consists of several loops around the Dublin and Wicklow mountains. While most of the route surface is of good quality road there are a couple of short sections where the road surface is considerably broken and potholed but these sections are few and far between.
For most of the ride you will be travelling in just two directions, either up or down but the scenery should provide plenty of distraction. Due to the numerous sharp descents it is highly recommended to double check tyres and brakes before setting out on the ride.
The route has been designed as a test of fitness, time management and navigation but should prove relatively straight forward to the average Audax rider, if a little taxing on the legs.
In rainy or misty conditions visibility will reduce downhill speeds considerably and impact on overall time, and depending on fitness perhaps even make the time limit difficult to hit or put you under pressure. Likewise any mechanical problems will impact heavily on the time limit.
The “loops” on the course require careful consideration/navigation if they are to be completed in the correct direction. Another thing to note is feeding and watering. A mildly warm day will require serious rehydration given the amount of climbing and the calorific expenditure over the course distance is higher than normal.
There is a long haul after Enniskerry until Blessington and the limited options for replenishing food or water between Enniskerry and Blessington are Knockree Youth Hostel for water, and a Cafe at Glencree which may or may not be open (recommended to check in advance if you plan on using either, in hot weather I’d advise a Camelbak).
Given the amount of climbing it is advisable to lighten the load as much as possible while also still ensuring enough food and water are on board. You can normally struggle through a bonk to a Shop or Cafe but on this route if you bonk in the wrong place you will suffer and may be unable to continue or finish within time (For myself on a cool/cold day I drank 4 litres between Enniskerry and Blessington……. each to their own).
The ride culminates in a pan flat final kilometre into Shanganagh/Shankill !
Routesheet: Excelsior 200
GPS Map: Excelsior 200
Entry Fee: €5 by PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post, payable to Audax Ireland, to:
Andreas Voigt, 12 Brookville Park, Malahide Road, Artane, Dublin 5, D05 F6T2.
Please remember to say which event and which rider you are paying for.
Cycling Ireland Licence required, Permanents cannot be ridden on a 1-day Licence.