Innisfree Wheelers members pictured outside Sligo City Hall with Chairman of Sligo County Council, Mr Seamus Kilgannon. Front row from left; Pam Benson, Caroline Brennan, Seamus Kilgannon, Carol Foley, Geraldine Delorey. Back row from left; John Molloy, John Delorey, Alo Farragher, Alan Kelly and James Waters.
This Spring Sportive takes place on Sunday the 6th of May 2018 (Bank Holiday weekend), commencing from The Clayton Hotel, Clarion Road, Sligo. This was normally the day of the famous An Post Tour of Sligo, but sadly this is no longer taking place in Sligo. Innisfree Wheelers, however have stepped in to provide cyclists from the region with an attractive sportive which should suit all grades of leisure cyclists.
Choose from two routes of 60km and 120km taking in the breath-taking scenery of Counties Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon. The first event, the 120km starts at 9am with the shorter 60km commencing at 10am.
The 120km event will suit the more experienced leisure cyclists. The course is designed to be suitable for good steady leisure riding, as there are no categorised climbs on any part of this scenic course. In the 120 km event, cyclists will witness spectacular views of Knocknarea Mountain, Lough Gill, Lough Allen, Lough Key, and The Ox Mountains and Arigna Mountains..
The start from the Clayton Hotel will be controlled by a lead car as far as the Carraroe roundabout in both events. From there the cyclists can take a view of the iconic Knocknarea Mountain on their right side as they peddle the undulating route out into the beautiful village of Ballygawley.
In the 120km they continue straight through Ballygawley and then pass through the villages of Sooey, Gleann, Geevagh and Ballyfarnon before arriving in one of Ireland’s tidiest towns – Keadue.
The onward journey will take the cyclists to the welcome food stop at Knockvicar. After suitable refreshments the cyclists will head on another route to Ballyfarnon and then via Keadue once again to the outskirts of Drumshambo.
From here they will turn left in the direction of Manorhamilton. They will pass through the peaceful village of Drumkeerin, nestling under the shadow of the Arigna Mountains. After another few kilometres they will again turn left. This will take them into the beautiful village of Dromahair.
They are then on a common route with the 60km riders, but this part of the route has the most spectacular scenery of all. Passing Shriff bay, the cyclists can glimpse the beautiful Isle of Innisfree on the lovely lough Gill so immortalised by poet W.B. Yeats.
The next landmark for the now somewhat weary riders will be the unique Parkes Castle sitting like a fortress on their left hand side. The Deer Park hill will then probably be the biggest test of the day as it was a category three climb some years back when the Milk Rás last came to Sligo.
However, once the cyclists get to the spectacular viewing point overlooking Colgagh Lake, their hard work is practically over. From here it is literally downhill all the way to the Clayton Hotel finish point.
The 60km event is suitable for even the most novice of cyclists. As it does not contain any serious climbs, it can be tackled and enjoyed at a very leisurely pace. The 60km riders will also follow the route out past Ballygawley and continue to the Coola junction where they turn left in the direction of Ballintogher.
However they won’t get quite as far as the village, as they will turn right in the direction of Killonummary. The food stop for this event will be in the next village of Dromahair.
Following the refreshment break they will come on to the course also being covered by the 120km riders which takes them back to The Clayton Hotel via Parkes Castle and along the shores of the lovely Lough Gill.
When the riders return to the Clayton Hotel they will have access to shower and changing facilities. They will also be treated to a hot meal with a choice of three dishes and a dessert thrown in. For those travelling the Clayton Hotel will provide very attractive overnight packages for cyclists and their friends or family.
Entries will open on-line from 1st of March and places will be limited. So keep an eye on our website or Facebook page for further details of this exciting event;
Links to the route maps (courtesy of MapMyRide);