Marble City Cyclers held their first ever weekend away on October 6-7th. The destination was Dungarvan and the sun was just coming out when Pat Murray, Donal Deering, Mike Lewis, Fergal Daly, Paul Cullen, Mick Battle, Liam Lysaght and Mike Shields left Kilkenny, front wheels pointed south.
Mick Barron, still recovering from injury had volunteered to drive the support car and after a crash (hate that word!) course in photography, also assumed photographer duties. The nicest autumn day for years continued to improve as the group reached Clonmel where a quick coffee stop refuelled all.
Leaving Tipperary’s southern capital, the roads became familiar as the group encountered the Sean Kelly 160km route and it felt strange not turning left at Ballymacarbry for Powers the Pot. After 85km the group reached the Master McGrath monument where some photos were taken at the shrine to Waterford’s most famous sportsman (we’re pretty sure he was a boy!).
Some of the group were keen for a bit more distance so local lad Pat Murray suggested a 30km loop that would bring the group back to Dungarvan. Meantime the support car took the easy option and headed straight for Dungarvan, the thoughts of a thirst quenching pint at the forefront of his mind! The ‘30km loop’ took in some lovely rolling countryside and through the scenic village of Clashmore where the local lad admitted that he didn’t really know the route. Pressing on to the Cork road and up some strength building drags, at the 42km stage, the sight of the Seanachai pub was too much to resist so the hardy bunch stopped off for a round of cool beverages (some of the Arthurian variety) and a couple of plates of chips. Back on the bikes, it was a pleasant 8km drop down into Dungarvan where Lawlors Hotel provided warm showers and a warm welcome. There wasn’t much time to rest as the local lad had a packed agenda which included the Munster v Leinster match in a local hostelry. The triple European champions had the game sealed up by three quarter time which was fortunate as it was time to depart for diner back at Lawlors. A delicious four course meal was thoroughly enjoyed by the hungry group before embarking on a pub tour of Dungarvan. Conscious of the need to be back on the road by 10am, the group declined an invitation to the afters of a local wedding taking place at the hotel but Mick Barron did convey the Clubs best wishes to the Bride and Groom.
After a full Irish breakfast at Lawlors, it was back on the bikes on Sunday morning at 10am with Kilkenny as the destination. The revered Pike Hill outside Dungarvan punished all who indulged in some liquor the previous night but as the road flattened out, a steady tempo was established all the way to Carrick-on-Suir. A quick stop for coffee and bananas at the home town of the great Sean coincided with the locals exiting morning mass. The MCC group were quietly praying for their legs to hold up for another 40km. It wasn’t long until the last hill of the weekend at Kilmaganny was conquered and the villages of Dunamaggan and Kells flashed past as the cyclists put the heads down bound for Kilkenny.
A total of 210km was completed over the weekend in a riding time of 8 hours. Time spent stopped in pubs was not included! MCC look forward to making the club weekend away an annual event and having a much bigger group in 2013. Sincere thanks to Mick Barron for driving the support car and doing the photography and to Pat Murray for organizing the event.