The annual Polkadot Cycle Challenge, promoted by the Western Lakes Cycling Club, takes place on Saturday, May 10. This sport has become established as a major event in the leisure cycling calendar, and over the past number of years has attracted cyclists from every corner of the country. This year the club has revamped the routes to attract the ever growing numbers of newcomers taking to the roads, while enjoying the breathtaking scenery around the beautiful Lough Mask.
This year there are two routes on offer. You can choose from a 65km or 120km route, depending on your level of fitness and experience. The 65km route, designed with newcomers to the sport in mind, is a circuit around Lough Mask taking in the Maamtrasna climb. The longer 120km route takes a wider sweep around the lake to encompass “Lally’s Mountain”, a climb well known to every cyclist in the area and also this year taking in Aldubh Mountain. The 120km route rejoins the shorter route after the half-way mark at Tourmakeady where refreshments will be available to both groups.
You don’t have to be experienced or a club member to take part, just have a willingness to complete the route of your choice, the views are spectacular and the roads are generally very quiet, the short route could easily be achieved by a novice or young cyclist so ideal route for all the family.
The event starts and finishes at the Western Lakes Cycle Centre in Ballinrobe. Sign in from 8.30am, with both groups heading off at 10am. There is a food stop at O’Toole’s pub in Tourmakeady and a BBQ for all participants after the event in Inches Bar Ballinrobe, where live coverage of the Giro d’Italia in Belfast will be shown, so no excuse to miss the Irish stars in action on home turf. Club members are always available to lend a helping hand or give a word of encouragement to newcomers. The route will be well marked and marshalled, with support vehicles available for assistance. All you need is a well serviced bike, a helmet, water bottle, spare tube, and plenty of miles in the legs between now and then! For further details contact John Hughes 087 648 5863 or go to www.westernlakescc.com for additional details, including route maps. Entry costs €25.