The 4th edition of the Magee Donegal Bay Spring Sportive, promoted by the Donegal Bay Cycling Club, proved to be the most successful to date drawing 300 cyclists from all over Ireland to Donegal Town.
This was an increase of almost 100 over previous years and shows that the event has really caught the imagination of many a cyclist and judging by the feeback of those who part this year, there is every likelihood that the Magee backed event will continue to increase in popularity.
Cyclists from as far away as Dublin, Clare and Belfast traveled to take part and the Keevan club from Portadown in Co.Armagh brought 25 members with them, possibly the single biggest representation from any club on the day. Of course there were also plenty of cyclists from Donegal and the neighbouring Counties.
The cyclists began to arrive early on Saturday morning at event HQ, the St.John Bosco centre in Donegal Town and there was a real buzz around the place with the music pumping in the background. At 9.45 whistles were sounded as Donegal Bay Chairman Ed Wiazewicz gave the safety speech and the cyclists rolled across to the official start at The Diamond, Donegal Town where the obligatory photos were taken.
Donegal Town Mayor Patricia Callaghan was present to wave all groups off on their adventure around South West Donegal, first off were the 140km group which included Lynn Temple of event sponsor Magee and his daughter Rosy, who travelled back from the UK to take part. They were followed by the 100k and 40k groups, all heading out west from town. Three new routes were on offer this year and this no doubt helped in drawing such a large crowd.
For most of the participants, it was all about completing their respective routes and enjoying their day in the hills of Donegal, though enjoying might not have been the right word for some. The most oft heard comment was just how absolutely stunning Donegal looked with many stopping along the way to take photos of the fantastic scenery en-route. Everyone arrived back at the finish at the Bosco Centre to a big cheer and a great spread of food that was greatly appreciated by everyone.
Like before, there was a great atmosphere at the finish with participants regaling each other with stories from their big day out. Many were already planning ahead for the next edition of the Donegal Bay Spring Sportive.
Once again, we are indebted to a large amount of people who helped make the event such a success. Special thanks to our main sponsors Magee of Donegal who really got behind the event and provided free tee-shirts for participants, Ted McCaffrey who again sponsored the back up vehicles and free water bottles; Jonathan McCann who provided the speakers and microphones; the Harbour restaurant who supplied the hot food at the finish of the 100/140km routes which so many loved; the Medical Support & Ambulance; the St.John Bosco Centre and Meenaneary Community Centre; the Mart for letting us use parking and Donegal Town Mayor, Patricia Callaghan.
Not forgetting out own volunteers who give so much of their own time to help out, all the marshals who stood out on a very chilly day, the support vehicle drivers, the registrars and of course our A1 catering team. Fantastic Hospitality was one of the most frequently heard phrases on the day which is a real tribute to the team.
We are already looking forward to welcoming everyone back for another edition of the Donegal Bay Spring Sportive in 2017