It was in the depths of winter when I reflected on what I wanted to achieve with my cycling in 2014. 2012 and 2013 were both fairly aimless years for me; cycling 4 or 5 days per week with a long club spin or sportive on the weekend, and a winter interrupted by surgery. Plenty of cycling but nothing really structured and no overall goals. So 2014 was going to be different. I was going to set myself a challenge to work towards.
Why I decided on the challenge to cycle around the entire island of Ireland, I’m not quite sure. Probably because it is just about do-able provided I got the training in. And rather than going off to cycle in exotic places, I felt there was plenty to explore around the coast of Ireland.
So having planned the route, I found that following the most coastal road would involve cycling 3,500 km – if I cheated and took a couple of shortcuts, I might get away with cycling about 3,200 km.
The cycle in summary:
Cycling on average 123 km each day, with five rest days. The longest day will be 160 km from Whitegate to Clonakilty, and the shortest a 100 km spin from Cleggan to Newport.
One Category 2 Climb, 23 Category 4 climbs & 47 category 5 climbs a total of 27,000 metres of climbing (which is three times the height of Everest).
Three days involve climbing more than 1,500 m, the toughest day being a 1,700 m slog over the hills of Donegal. The longest climb is an 8 km climb with an average gradient of 5% up the Conor Pass in County Kerry, the only Category 2 climb along the route.
Ten of the days will be rolling roads with little climbing.
I would hope to average 25 km per hour, so completing the Tour will involve at least 128 hours in the saddle, and burning about 70,000 calories – piece of cake!