By Gabriel Reilly
Sunday 11/9/16 saw the 2nd edition of the Great Dublin Bike Ride 2016 which attracted just over 5000 cyclists from all over the country and abroad. This is part of this year’s European Week of Sport. The organizers have assured me that they're gonna ring Barry Rogers later this year to ensure the Lap of Louth and the GDBR are on different weekends!
Kick off was scheduled for 8am which meant early to bed. Anyway, myself, Sarah Fagan, Deirdre Armstrong and Sir Philip Kerley (due to his age and respected profile within the club, I've given him an honorary knighthood). Terry Woods, still fresh from the 180km SOSAD Lap of Louth opted for the 60km. We also bumped into Yvonne Cummins along the way. We began at 8.30 and good job too, as the weather was making the hairs on my legs stand with the cold! Not sure what Adrian Cleary would have done in that scenario, but that's a different tale! The sun may have been shining and the sky clear but the wind was, as usual, the enemy for the leisure cyclist.
Out past Clontarf, Howth, Portmarnock and the real suburbs of the capital we went and the pace was high due to the level, and by and large, the decent nature of the roads. Malahide on a day like this can take the breath away with the marinas in the harbour and the sun shining on a calm stretch of water. The locals were out in force too to give participants a cheer around the whole course. The fun stopped however around the 45k mark when we hit the “Wall at the Naul". A fair few who'd raced on suddenly began cycling through treacle at that stage. The hills continued through the Dublin and Meath countryside and through Garristown, Ballyboughal and beyond.
At the 60k mark, those who had opted for the shorter spin branched off, but the fun was only starting at that stage! The hills may have ebbed away at the 65-70k mark but the gods were in no mood to let us have it easy as the wind became gale force in our faces (how come gales are rarely with you ?). Amazing how, knowing you're in the last 20k, the spirits get lifted and the pace takes an even greater turn upwards. A big event like this means it’s easy to get into a group and assist each other and a group of lads from Trim CC and myself worked to the finish through Blanchardstown, Tolka Valley, Finglas, Cabra and down through the Quays to the finish. Medal around the neck, it was pasta time laid on by the organizers and very welcome it was at that stage. All in all a great event and one well worth checking out in 2017. All got home safely and in one piece and that's the main thing.