||Last Updated: 6 Apr 2018 - 12:06:24 PM
While it may feel like we had four seasons in one day this past weekend, we are hurtling towards the summer and the hosting of the European Marathon Mountain Bike Championships in Ballyhoura, Co.Limerick. With some of the top racers in the world set to line up on Sunday the 15th June this is a date to put in your calendar with a big star beside it!
EUROPEAN MARATHON MOUNTAIN BIKE CHAMPIONSHIPS - MARCH NEWSLETTER
26 Mar 2014,
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COME ONE COME ALL! While Sunday is for the Pros, anybody can have a go on the Saturday and we have several racing categories available over some challenging courses.
Coillte have graciously granted access to the whole of the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails for the weekend, Ireland’s largest mountain bike trail network. The terrain is a mixture of manicured man made single track, wide forest roads and natural rocky paths amid the lush and beautiful countryside of Ballyhoura.
There is a huge emphasis on giving it a go in the Fun category which will provide a good challenge over 23 kilometres of racing.
WHAT CATEGORY DO I ENTER? Experienced riders are organised into categories based on age – Expert (19-29), Masters (30-39), Vets (40-49), Classic Vets (50+), Junior (16-18). Riders will set off in their age categories at ten minute intervals from eleven on the morning of Saturday the 14th. There are six tech and feed zones spread around the course to keep you fed, watered and free-wheeling till you reach the finish line.
Up for a challenge? There is a general Fun category too aimed at giving people a taster, we promise to be your biggest supporter on the day, you’re all champions to us!
COURSE LENGTH AND TERRAIN
Elite Men - 93km, 2199mtrs
Elite Women - 75km, 1925mtrs
Expert, Masters, Vet, Classic Vets - 75km, 1925mtrs
Junior and Fun Race - 23km, 514mtrs
2013 Men’s Irish National Marathon champ Ryan Sherlock gave us his thoughts on the course – ‘The course itself, it is so much fun to ride, there is so much fast swooping singletrack that you almost look forward to the fireroads trails just to let your mind relax a moment - more than 50% of your time will be spent swooping left and right. With the temperamental weather we can experience in Ireland, the course itself is designed so that rain or sun doesn’t change the track very much. Having raced in pouring rain, and blazing sun on it, it only makes a very small little difference to the speed. The only word of warning I have - watch out for the pointy rocks!’
HAVE A GREAT SATURDAY NIGHT OUT AT THE ROCKY MAYHEM
It’s not all about the bike though. The Rocky Mayhem Music festival takes place in nearby Kilfinane village from the 13th to the 15thof June. Saturday night allows both racers and spectators to let their hair down post race while the Pros are tucked up in bed dreaming of European glory. Don’t party too hardy though or you’ll miss them trying to turn that dream into
The line-up for the festival has yet to be announced, watch this space! We’ll bring you more info as it comes to hand.
WHERE TO STAY?
Of course you’ll need somewhere to lay your head. Thankfully there are plenty of options from B&B to camping to self-catering to hotels. Kilfinane is the nearest town and offers the best bang for your buck as it is also hosting the music festival and has great food and drink options. As it is only 9km from the race venue you can easily roll out for racing and spectating.
There are also options in the nearby towns of Charleville, Kilmallock and Mitchelstown, all of which offer a wealth of options. See the website for more info.
WATCH THE BEST RIDERS IN THE WORLD
Some of the top riders in the world will be flying in to take part on the Sunday including multiple former World and European champions.
The really good news is that there is no charge for spectators who are free to roam the course in search of the stars. As the course is based around three looping sections you are guaranteed to see the riders at least three times, more if you are cute!
The middle earth of the northern hemisphere, Ballyhoura has loads to offer the rider and spectator with some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, this is a great day out for all the family!
Full details available on the event website: