Last Sunday saw the running of the 2016 Poisoned Glen Tour. The weather and sky was not looking too promising at 8 am and it was surprising to see the amount of cyclists queueing at the sign on desk. Cyclists are a tough breed in the northwest.
Around 170 riders from all the local cycling clubs and the 24/7 Triathlon Club set out from Aura Leisure Centre shortly after 10am. Many had on rain jackets starting off from Letterkenny but as the weather improved these were soon tucked into back pockets and support vans.
The wind was in the cyclists favour heading for Kilmacrennan via Templedouglas and onto Glenveagh. The pace was controlled until the foot of Muckish Gap, when all the race orientated cyclists were liberated and soon despatched the first climb.
A slight tailwind helped the sportive riders over this hurdle and the now fragmented group sped their way on the descent into Falcarragh. There were one or two riders that overcooked some of the tight corners but were able to continue after a soft landing in the bog.
Turning left at Falcarragh heading towards Gweedore made things a bit more difficult for the riders as they tackled a slight head wind until Dunlewy junction with it easing on the last 2km to the first tea stop at An Chuirt Hotel.
Back on the bikes after a short stop the riders tackled the infamous Poison Glen climb. This was a lot easier this year with more favourable wind and weather conditions compared to 2015. The kilometres through Glenveagh passed quickly until the last hurdle of the day, the long climb through Gartan and Churchill. There were a few cyclists suffering with a bit of cramp on this section with one or two having to walk it off to recover. After Churchill Quarry it was all downhill and flat to Aura Leisure Centre where plenty of well-earned food and goodies awaited the finishers.
Four Masters CC would like to thank all the riders who took part in this tough run and appreciates the support we got from all our neighbouring sports clubs.
We thank An Chuirt Hotel for providing the first tea stop, Aura Leisure Centre who provided facilities for sign on, showering and food stop at the finish, Gavin Harris who drove the pace car, Seamus Connolly with the support van, Troy Hegarty, Stephen Shiels and Wesley Moore who helped with sign on and marshalling, Robert McCollum and Stephen who provided medical cover, Michelle Connolly and family, Mickey Russell and Ann Marie McElhinney who ensured that everyone got fed efficiently at the Aura and the club members who brought sandwiches and goodies for the finish.
Finally, thanks to Liam Tinney who as usual put in a tremendous amount of work organising the event in making the day a great success.