The 2015 route is quite different to 2013. This year we will start and finish in Kilbrannish Woods – same place as our Leinster League XC races, so no long tarmac drag at the start and finish.There will be a neutralised start for about 2k on tarmac road then into the forest for the first big climb of the day.
Overall, the course is about 35k with about 1,300m of climbing. Obviously we’ve kept all the best bits from 2013 but we have added plenty of new bits and reconfigured the route to keep things interesting. There are 4 long climbs in all, but that means 4 long descents! With shorter singletrack climbs and descents in between.
There will be a shorter route of around 23km distance with around 840m of ascent. It takes out some of the longer steeper climbs but still a tough assignment and not for complete beginners!
Race Director David Furlong rode the long route recently:
“I’m a mid-pack S3 rider of average fitness and ability (!) and it took me around 3 1/2 hrs yesterday. I can feel it today! The last 15 mins is solid technical descending, will leave you knackered at the end but with a big smile!”
That last 15 minutes includes Paradise, a lovely rugged, twisty track well known to anyone who has biked with us before. It’s great fun but you need your wits about you. This promo video from our 2010 Leinster League race will give you a flavour of this part of the route. Niall Davis leads, with Rudolf Brinkman filming.
Exit Paradise then it’s more rocky trail and singletrack all the way down to the road, including the infamous Dabbage Patch, a testing little rock garden and finally the short glide down through the sweeping turns of the Lower Wood to the finish.
Words are a poor substitute for the real thing. Come and experience it for yourself on 30th August!
IMPORTANT: The trails in the Mount Leinster area are natural and rugged, demanding care and concentration at all times. While the Challenge is not a competitive event, it is a tough test for most people and not suitable for complete beginners. You will need a reasonable degree of MTB skill and fitness. The most important thing on the day is that everyone gets home safely.