Following the exploits of some of our members down on the Beara Peninsula for the Lost Sheep Triathlon last weekend, three more of the Blackwater Triathlon Club’s finest headed down West on Saturday for the Cork Rebel Tour. Jim Crowley, Conor Bartley and Joe Scanlan headed to Glengarriff for a 9a.m. start on the 160km “Rebel Challenge”cycle. This is widely regarded as one of the most challenging events on the Irish cycling calendar and, unfortunately, the weather conditions on the day made it even more challenging than usual. The day started as it meant to go on with a 9km climb up the Caha Pass which took the riders from Glengarrif to Kenmare over the Caha mountains. This is a long climb of over 9km with the cyclists climbing over 300 metres to reach the top. The 150 metre tunnel at the summit of the Caha pass took the cyclists back into Kerry and a long descent back to Kenmare. Normally the views at the top of the Caha pass are quite breathtaking but the conditions meant that visibility was severely curtailed on the day. Having reached Kenmare the riders headed west towards Lauragh and their first of the day’s two ascents of the Healy Pass. This is a relatively short but very challenging climb featuring a really steep, lung busting, 8% gradient section at the very top. Then having successfully made the ascent the athletes are faced with having to navigate their way down the other side with its 6 switch back hairpins. A true test of the cyclists’ tour de France style descending technique on what can only be described as Ireland’s answer to l’Alpe d’Huez’s. A welcome food stop awaited the riders at the bottom of the Healy Pass in Adrigole. At this point a large contingent of the riders decided that they had had enough punishment for one day and headed back to Glengarriff. A few, the brave and the insane (probably more of the latter), turned right for another gruelling 110 km of wind, rain and pain. The route took the riders through the fishing port of Castletownbere and on to the village of Allihies, before climbing the significant rocky mountain pass between Allihies and Urhan known locally as “Reentrisk” or translated meaning “The Cods Head”. The second food stop on this challenging route was in Eyeries, where riders prepared for the final leg of their journey back to HQ in Glengarriff. At this stage everyone was tired and cold and sore, but there was no choice but to go on. Back in the saddle the riders came in to the village of Ardgroom before rolling back in to Lauragh from the other for the second climb up The Healy Pass. This time everyone knew exactly what to expect and apparently it hadn’t got any easier the second time around. Once the cyclists had safely negotiated the descent again it was a relatively straight run back to Glengarriff and a much needed rest. Well done to everyone who took part on the day. While the competitors on the Lost Sheep the previous Saturday had needed sun tan lotion, the Rebel Tour riders were more in need of Creosote!