Around Down 200

The first ever running of the Around Down 200 on Saturday July 2nd is fast approaching.  The date for receipt of entries has been extended until Monday 27th June. Entrants are now into double figures – last week I was panicking that no one was going to enter and now I’m getting nervous about how many will enter!  Went for a spin around the course yesterday (by car) for final check of the route (it’s fine).  Hoping for a good day weatherwise as the scenery is beautiful.  Have secured lunch (tea/coffee/sandwiches) for £5 a head (payable at sign in).  Looking forward to seeing you all there.

200k Change-Up

Postponing the Blackstairs 200 knocked over another domino or two – it will now take place this weekend, which was to have been the same weekend as the Holyfort Hills 200. Having checked the roads and deemed them too dangerous, Aidan Brosnan decided it was safest to pull the Holyfort Hills and replace it with a cut-down 200k version of his Surf & Turf 300. The 200k version will take place the same day as the well-regarded 300 – all clear? Clear as mud, says you….

Sunday, June 19th – Blackstairs 200 (see Barrow Wheelers website for details)

Saturday, July 8th – Surf & Turf 200 and 300 (see the Gazetteer)

Red Lines and Four Counties

The coming weekends will see the two 600s in the calendar for this year. Both are new routes but with two of the most experienced randonneurs in the country behind them, you can expect them to fully live up to the standards set by previous classic events like the REK 400 and the Three Rivers 300.

The Red Line/Red Lane 600 takes place over the June bank holiday weekend, starting from Bray on Saturday June 4th. The route heads out through the Wicklow foothills overlooking Dublin before striking west for the Slieve Bloom mountains and looping back south of Kilkenny to return through Wicklow to the sleep stop in Bray. The remaining 200 will take in more familiar roads around Wicklow. Entries for the Red Line/Red Lane 600 must get to Paul O’Donoghue by Wednesday June 1st.

The following weekend sees the Four Counties 600, starting from Midleton. Full details of the route have yet to be released but it is expected to take in the wild and hilly landscape of the Beara peninsula on the first day, and the mountains east of Cork on the second day including an ascent of the Vee. There will be no sleep stop organised on the assumption that on Saturday night you will sleep wherever you booked in for Friday night. Entries to Kevin O’Sullivan.

Long-distance cycling in Ireland