The North West could become a cycling and outdoor pursuit paradise according to Leitrim Glens Cycling Club organisers of Leitrim Glens Sportive coming up August 20th. The one-day Sportive with 100kms and 200km routes is set to cater for leisure cyclists as well as those who crave a challenge. The Sportive crosses over four counties of Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon and Fermanagh.
Sligo and Leitrim have all the ingredients to become a mecca for cyclists according to Seamus Mc Gowan, Chair of Leitrim Glens Cycling Club. The Leitrim Glens Sportive, which the club is organising, has been designed and closely resembles “The Wicklow 200” widely recognised as the holy grail of the cycling world. Mcgowan who has a passion for cycling has visited events over many years most notably the Marmotte in France seen ‘as the largest in Europe” as well as the “Wicklow 200” in Ireland the “Number One Sportive In Ireland”. He saw that the regions rolling hills could hold the same appeal as these great routes for adventure cyclists and the Leitrim Glens sportive was designed with that in mind.
“We have it all here really. We have the terrain; It’s about the nature of the climbs, the technical descents and getting the overall distance in to the course. But our roads are good quality for cyclists as well. We don’t have the volume of traffic here and that’s a real advantage. ‘Keep in mind you might meet the odd sheep on the descents!’ he laughs.
He describes the 200km course as one for cyclists who enjoy setting themselves a challenge. “The route is a great challenge to cyclists to test their abilities” said McGowan
According to him cyclists’ aerobic endurance, and their strength endurance will be tested by the course as too their skill of co ordination, concentration and control.
This is a sentiment that has been echoed by former junior world champion Sligo’s Mark Scanlon who has endorsed the Leitrim Glens Sportive. Scanlon who has done the course previously, hopes to be able to make it this year according to McGowan.
The 200km course in its entirety is a great “measure both mentality and physically’ for the cyclists who decide to take it. With this in mind the course designers have also given cyclists the chance to take a step down green route if preferred in the 200km, with the option of cutting out three of the major inclines and so reducing the climbing from 2500 meters to 1500 meters
McGowan speaks excitedly of how fitness is something that everyone can achieve. He is at pains to point out that the 100km can be taken by leisure cyclists and very achievable as the course is nicely spread out between food stops. “You can take the course in chucks. If you are able to comfortably take a 40km cycle your first food stop is at Paddy s bar in
Geevagh, Co.Sligo and then it is just 30km up to Drumkeerin water stop”
He exclaims, “ The achievement for many people doing the 100kms is similar to someone that has taken the harder endurance cycle. It’s all about reaching those personal goals and it’s really great to see people when they’ve done it”
There’s a dinner after the course that gives many the opportunity to debrief and share stories, and becomes a great social occasion that people look forward to, till the next year.
“We find the craic afterward is great. The cycle is about catching up with club members and meeting other clubs that have travelled and sharing stories about the day.”
Mc Gowan has a dream that the Sportive will grow and be a beacon for the North West attracting tourists to the area.
“It’s about dreaming to achieve really. We are delighted to be able to give new and seasoned cyclists the chance to do this in this course. It’s a great chance to come for the weekend and we have such a great product to offer people. But there’s a bigger thing going on here. This whole area has great potential and is ideal for cycling, mountain biking, and running”
He hopes that in the coming years that there will even be more options and they are planning to include a 40km cycle that will be family focused.
Leitrim Glens Sportive cycle can be booked on the day. A discount can be availed by booking in advance online.
Leitrim Glens Sportive can be booked on https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/leitrim-glens-sportive-tickets-32884148373