Mick is the current Leinster CX Champion in his category so he knows a thing or two about grinding in the dirt on two wheels. Mick also raced the Achill adventure race in 2016 and other well known adventure races. On December 22nd Mick, Phil, Brian and Mark, staff riders from the Cycle SuperStore, took on the cycle leg of the upcoming Gaelforce Dublin event just to get an idea of what lay in store for competitors. After hosing down the bikes and flicking on the kettle, Mick and Phil sat down for debrief.
Q. Mick in a nutshell, how did you find the route today?
A. This is a Challenging route highlighting some of Dublin’s steepest tarmac roads. On 3 occasions you will hit category 4 climbs of over 15% gradient. The great thing about this course is that you are never more than 12 km from Tallaght, yet right in the middle of the Dublin and Wicklow National Park.
Wind can be a problem on the Kilakee Sally Gap road so be aware of that as this is also at a time when fatigue will have kicked in. Remember the roads are open so watch the descent to Bohernabreena Reservoir and back to Tallaght down Bohernabreena and Friarstown, these are very fast.
Q. For anyone who has done previous adventure races, how do the two bike legs compare?
A. Compared to the Achill and other adventure races this is a rough hilly cycle that taxes even the best athletes. It’s worth remembering, that in most adventure races the bike is used as a recovery section. That is not the case here. When you finish your run, you will have a very strong bike straight after so my advice is go easy on the run.
Q. Should people get out and attempt the bike leg before race day?
A. I would recommend they do,
myself and other staff from The Cycle SuperStore have done the route once already and plan to do it a second time on January 28th at 9am. We invite people to meet with us at the stadium and follow us along the route. Spaces will be limited to 40 people. Training should consist of spins on the steepest hills you can find in your area so you get used to the hills on the day.
Update: Unfortunately the Cycle Superstore have had to cancel this ride out. However if you have any questions about tyres, bike choice or need any last minute race essentials contact them or visit their store in Tallaght.
Q. What bike did you use and what bike do you recommend people use on the day?
A. When we ran the route we all used Cyclocross bikes. I recommend Cyclocross if you have one otherwise, hybrids with strong tyres like Maxxis Re-Fuse or mountain bikes would be most suitable as some of the event is on rough gravel trail. The only problem I see with mountain bike is that there are long periods on tarmac which will definitely slow you up.
Q. If you had to insist on 5 items of gear essential to the bike leg, what would they be?
A. Don’t forget to bring the following:
- water bottle
- rain jacket
There you have it. If you enjoy crunching through data, have a look at Micks Strava recording here.
Some shots of the day/route can be found below.