Following on from my recent post about the 2016 Sean Kelly 160k Tour, here’s a selection of further feedback from Dungarvan Cycling Club members who took on the Comeragh Challenge for the first time.
Apprehension about the weather, nerves regarding adequate preparation and fear of not finishing pretty much describes my run up to the Sean Kelly 160 as a first timer! The day itself passed both quickly (Dungarvan to Carrick) and slowly (Powers the Pot and Mauma) and included a few unexpected mechanical challenges thrown in for good measure. I joined various cycling groups from around the country at different stages of the day and this made all the difference in terms of moral support, communal suffering and of course a bit of banter to distract from the pain in my legs! After what seemed like days on the saddle, I had climbed the last climb and all that was left was for me to experience the euphoria of the Colligan descent, the glorious speed bumps coming into Kilrush and the sense of achievement, a feeling that can not be described until you have completed the SKT 160!
As I joined DCC earlier this year completing the 160k was all but a dream. As my cycling progressed and with encouragement from group 23k I took on the challenge of the 160k on the SKT. As the big day arrived I was crippled with doubt. Were people right? Was the 160k just for the pros? But as I headed towards Carrick with fellow a club member, the buzz that is SKT took hold, all doubts were forgotten and we took on the beast that is Tinkincor. Remembering advice from the seniors that unless you are Chris Froome slow and steady allows you conquer Tinkincor without unclipping or grinding to a halt. The banther and chats to other groups along the way, saw the kilometers quickly come and go. Words of encouragement from other cyclists were aplenty as we conquered Powers the Pot, Mahon Falls and Mauma Road. I never thought I would feel so disappointed not to be allowed cycle up to the top of Mahon Falls. As we crossed the finish line the sense of achievement was unreal. All the hard work in training had paid off and a dream that seemed impossible no longer the case. Thanks to DCC for the support, advice and coaching, but most of all the fun and new friends.
Any other first-timers out there who might like to send your feedback report? Please make contact with me, and I’ll be happy to include you here!