By David Sloan. Photo Credit: Barry Rogers
This event took place on Sunday 12th June. We all met up at Dundalk Rugby Club. There was a great buzz there and a great turnout from the Cuchulainn in terms of cyclists and marshals. Of course the reason why we are doing this was for one of our members, Susan McArdle whose son, Evan passed away suddenly while in Vietnam. Our hearts goes out to you both, Susan and Jock. The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust aims to alleviate the financial hardship of bereaved families repatriating the body (bodies) of loved one(s) who have died abroad in sudden or tragic circumstances back to Ireland. A worthwhile cause.
We all registered and had tea and biscuits and then photos taken. After Jock had given the speech thanking everyone for coming and to the organisers, it was off, following a Garda car out through Fatima, Castletown Road and the old Newry road and it wasn’t too long that we were out at the turn off for Long Women’s Grave. This always sorts out the groups. A nice steady pace up to the LWG. The weather at this stage was light rain but manageable. Didn’t have to put on the rain coats. It was great seeing the marshals helping as I recognise a few of them from the hillwalking and also there were some from Slieve Gullion Wheelers and a few from Cuchulainn CC. After LGW, it was downhill for a while and then a turn up for the famous Flagstaff only to be greeted by Jason Boyle taking the photos with hopefully smiles on our face. After getting a drink of water at Flagstaff, it was downhill again to Dromad and then onto Meigh, Camlough. The road between Meigh and Camlough while challenging, it is so beautiful to be able to see the lake below. After Camlough, a nice wee climb up and down towards The Mountain House Pub which welcomed us with tea/coffee and scones. After refuelling, it was off again towards Belleeks, Newtownhamilton, Fords Cross and Crossmaglen with a few more wee hills thrown in for good measure and why not and with two punctures which we help out by offering moral support.
All in all a great route and thankfully the weather held out for us and also what a great welcome we got as we entered the Dundalk Rugby Club. It was like winning the Tour de France…..Lol A big thanks to all the organisors, marshals, Civil Defence and An Garda Siochana for the initial escort.
A big well done to everyone for taking part in both the 60km and 100km and believe me when I tell you that most of the climbs were done in the first 60km so well done all.