The Three Peaks Challenge.

By | October 1, 2021

As this rather peculiar year draws to a close, athletes are taking the opportunity to take part in as many events as they can before the winter sets in.  Last Saturday morning, the 2nd of October, saw 6 BTC members, Shane Collins, Sean Lomasney, Deirdre Morrison, Richie O’Brien, David Harte and Ashleigh Byrne-O’Brien take part in the excellently organised Killarney Cycling Club Sportif, The Three Peaks Challenge. The event consisted of a 100km loop, tackling 3 challenging climbs, the County Bounds, the Top of Coom (Location of the highest pub in Ireland) and Moll’s Gap.  The weather was perfect for this time of year, with only one “cooling” shower as the cyclists approached the Top of Coom. As with many of these events, trying to judge the pace and finding the right group can be tricky and the pace leaving Killarney was brisk to say the least.  The first climb up to the Cork – Kerry county bounds ensured manners were put on the BTC group and they fell into a nice rhythm thereafter.  The descent down into Ballyvourney is renowned as one of the fastest stretches of road for any cyclist and concentration and good bike handling skills were very important. A momentary lapse of concentration at those speeds can be disastrous, especially when travelling in a group.  The top of Coom climb followed quickly and consisted of a 10km climb with some real teeth, and while it was quite gentle in some places there were gradients close to 20% in others- these certainly tested the heart rates ranges.  There was a welcome food stop at the top, and an opportunity for photo shoots at the highest pub in Ireland (325m). The spin to Kenmare was, mercifully, downhill on great roads (Courtesy of the Healy-Rae’s no doubt).  They made short work of that section before a quick coffee stop at the base of Moll’s Gap.  Good team work and pacing made this climb very manageable as the Group tucked in behind Seanie but, unfortunately, he didn’t take the King to the Mountain title as he was pipped to the summit by a club mate in a fiercely fought sprint to the finish😊.  The descent from Moll’s Gap was surprisingly undulating through the National Park, but at that stage they had the scent of the finish line in their nostrils and powered to the end with the ever relentless Seanie leading the way home.  So, after 100km in the saddle, and just over 1000m of climbing, the Blackwater contingent all finished safely to be greeted by a much-needed and delicious burger and drink courtesy of Killarney Cycling Club.  Well done to all who took part and to the organisers who managed the event superbly, even arranging a realtively dry day in Kerry in October!