sunnuntai 10. syyskuuta 2017

From the picturesque Glendalough Valley to the rugged Wicklow Mountains

There's a plenty to choose from if you want to ride hills around Dublin. Depending on where you stay, you might ride the Eastern side of Wicklow Mountains, or going first to Blessington and reach the mountains from there.

My first ride in Ireland started from Tallaght. I was about to do a social ride and knew that the weather would change many times, so I had my backpack and Nikon D750 camera too. About 5 kg on my shoulders which actually didn't bother me at all during the ride.

Finding a way out of the city is like using the wrong-hand scissors: easy in principle but confusing. That's untypical for me, and I guess the left-hand side traffic must be one reason.

From Tallaght, R113 (via Woodtown) takes you neatly to the scene. Right after Woodtown hill there is a nice 5 km ascend along R115, starting at 200 metres and ending at 500 m.

After reaching the top there is the entrance to the Kippure peak. A sign at the gate says it's a no-go but one can enter still. I was in a bit of a hurry to meet my friend Philipp at in Ballinastoe, so I left it to be visited another day.

From the Sally Gap crossing it's mostly downhill. Nice views and lakes. Apparently a road used for local races too. Even Tour de France started somewhere here in 1999.

So, we started our riding together: nice, easy winding roads between Ballinastoe and Laragh.

Leo from mentioned among other things that Glendalough is a nice place to visit.

If you happen to be around, you surely want to go to Glendalough valley. Two lakes, medieval monastery, waterfall, hiking trails... very much what the romantic idealistic vision of Ireland consists of. We even had perfect weather there and had very good time.

From Glendalough we headed North along R115. We had to reach Sally Gap again, so it was climbing up some 400 meters. 

Climbs here are very steady which makes them rather easy. Mostly the gradient is between 4-8%. Bear in mind that there is nothing in the mountains: no shelter from the elements, no place to buy snacks or coffee, no other source of water than the muddy ditches. 

Also, the weather up there may be very harsh all of a sudden. I'll tell you more about that later.

Here's one take on our ride:

Read here about the adventures of the second ride (coming next week).

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