Sportive Report - By a member who was there.

LAP DE GAPS - 16/05/2015

A good number of members assembled in Blessington GAA club, on one of the rare occasions a group of Kildare people were allowed to gather in Wicklow! The reason this was allowed on this particular day was that it was a charity cycle in the county that all Kildare cyclists envy!

As we awaited some of our members to apply the finishing touches to their preparations one of our members attempted to take on a moving van, in a movement that looked like swan lake on a bike! Thankfully a bystander rescued him by advising the driver that one of those mad Kildare fellas was lying on the ground, still on his bicycle, behind his vehicle!

After that bit of entertainment we had a hurried photo shoot as the “One” was in a hurry to get going, as usual! So off we went. Of course the One was leading off at quite a hurried pace as the concept of a group start tends to elude him in practice. Some of the group branched off early enough to follow the shorter, more humane route.

Shortly after this it was noted that a few had drifted off the blistering pace being set by One and his Amigos, but the conversation continued as we picked up the odd cyclist here and there. Suddenly there was a noticeable drop in the conversation noise level, it was quickly noted that a particularly loud member had decided to drop off the back to re-join the following cohort of members.

As we progressed along the route we had to make a short stop just before the Sally Gap climb as one of the Amigos wanted to send a message to a Horse in the field, apparently he was from the area originally and so was the horse but he wasn’t prepared for the other Amigo who was from a neighbouring county and was more comfortable with horses than one would have expected…….

Off we set up the Sally Gap, as expected the One and his Amigos sped up the hill followed by the two mules steadily behind. We turned right at the top, smiling, looking forward to the well-deserved decent…. , well that was naive as the wind was straight in our faces for the next 3km or so and we had to pedal down the hill until we got to the waterfall and then, well let’s just say that gravity works, as the mules bailed down the mountain hitting speeds of 65kph while One and his Amigos blew around in the wind behind! When we got to the bottom of the decent we gathered together but One was missing so we decided to stop and wait. After a cup of tea and a couple of sandwiches we spotted One coming around the corner but the sun must have been in his eyes, as it wasn’t due to the speed he was going, as he didn’t spot us and continued on along the road so we remounted and to be fair it didn’t take us long to catch up with One again. But he didn’t seem to be enjoying himself but luckily it was the food stop!

After we were fed and watered we were leaving the food stop when we bumped into the Sheriff and his cohort who were just arriving. They had also lost a few riders and were hoping to regroup at the feeding station. So we ploughed on!

It didn’t take long to get to the foot of the Wicklow Gap and the climbing started. It was evident from the start that this was going to be like a scene from a western with One and his Amigos, escaping back to safety over the hills and across the border, followed closely by the mules, being chased by the Cavalry led by the Sheriff and his hired thugs!!

The Sheriff and his thugs – the look of disgust on the sheriff’s face is for obvious reasons!!

We got over the top of the Wicklow Gap and rolled down the other side and up over Hollywood Hill and onto the home straight. It was obvious at this stage that one of the Amigos had taken a slug and was struggling to get home but we made it in the end and the soup at the finish managed to restore everyone back to health.

Unfortunately the soup wasn’t sufficient to help some members who were exposed to some sights on the Wicklow Gap that they may never recover from!

 Another thoroughly enjoyable sportive and well supported by our members! Take a bow - looking forward to the next one!