Irish Veteran Cyclists Association

The Wicklow 200

The Wicklow 200 was a tremendous success with over 800 entries - Participants enjoyed a beautiful sunny day for their challenge around the Dublin and Wicklow mountains - were there to bring you a full photo gallery of 165 pictures. You can see the pictures by clicking here...


One of Ireland’s biggest rides takes place this Sunday, June 8th, when an estimated 1000 cyclists wheel out from the Tallaght Basketball arena and embark on two testing trips around Wicklow. The shorter Wicklow Gap Challenge takes the riders over a 100 kilometre route while the full Wicklow 200 is double the distance, making for a tough but rewarding day in the saddle.

Both routes share the same early section, with riders travelling to Manor Kilbride, up the first major climb of the Sally Gap and then past the stunning scenery around Luggala down into Roundwood. From here the riders will drop down into Laragh, towards Glendalough and then take the right hand fork which brings them up to the top of the Wicklow Gap. Once over the summit, the riders will plunge downhill to the checkpoint at Valleymount where free food and drink will be on offer.

This marks the turning point for those taking the shorter challenge, as they will take the N81 back in towards Dublin and to the finish at the Basketball Arena. Those doing the full Wickow 200 aren’t getting off so lightly; from here, the test will bring the riders in the opposite direction down the N81 to Donard, up the Ballinabarney Gap and over the un-named, but draining, climb before Aghavannagh. The gruelling climb of Slieve Maan is next on the schedule, its tough slopes ensuring riders will be resorting to the granny gears as they head up and over the top. >From the summit, the particpants will head down to Drumgoff and Greenane and on to the second checkpoint in Rathdrum, where complementary food and drink will be once more up for grabs.

After Rathdrum the riders will head back to Laragh and then take the climb past the Glenmacnass waterfall back up to Sally Gap, down into Glencree and up the final drag to the Featherbeds. There remains but one final descent, down to Old Bawn and then on to the Basketball Arena in Tallaght.

Although the organising Irish Veteran Cyclists Association have this year been accepting online entries in order to make applications easier, they expect some riders to leave it until the day itself to sign up. The entry fee of 45 euro covers the cost of the ride itself, a commemorative jersey, a bike bottle plus a complimentary energy drink and bar. There will also be complementary food and drink at the checkpoints.

There are two big changes this year. The first is a mass start – instead of riders heading off as soon as they have checked in, as was previously the case, the participants will instead all leave the National Basketball Arena at the same time. There will be two starting times: the Wicklow 200 group will depart at 7 am, while those doing the 100 kilometre Wicklow Gap challenge will begin at 8 am.

The second change is the addition of large sign boards to the route. These will be situated at the top of the eleven climbs en route, giving details of the name and height of the climb. The organisers suggest that riders may like to bring a camera to get pictures of themselves beneath the signs, as a pictorial record of what should be a tough, but enjoyable, day.

Start and checkpoint times

Start: Wicklow 200 (200km): 07:00 (check in from 06:00).

Wicklow Gap Challenge (100km): 08:00 (check in from 07:00).

Check-points: Valleymount (at 80km), 10:00 - 14:00.

Rathdrum (at 150km), 12:00 - 17:00.

Cut-off: After 12:30 participants arriving at the 100km / 200km division just after Valleymount will not be allowed to choose the 200km route.

Finish: Final checkpoint at the National Basketball Arena will close at 21:00.

Additional information:

The Wicklow 200 will include a special prize for the oldest person to complete the full distance. The only stipulation is that they do so before the final checkpoint closes at 9 pm, giving a total of 14 hours to cover the 200 kilometre route.

The start/finish location at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght will offer a number of facilities to the riders. Free car parking is available, plus changing rooms and showers. There will also be exhibition stands in the hall giving information on products and services offered by cycling-related companies and organisations. Some of these may be selling from the stands. Please note that no lockers or secure storage are available. The organisers suggest that riders arrange to leave any extra gear such as a change of clothing, etc, in the cars of other participants.

The organisers state that a small shop selling sweets and drinks will be open in the Arena later in the day. Any support staff/non-participants who will be staying near the Arena while waiting for the riders to return will be able to use this shop, or to get lunch at the nearby Penny Black pub.

Riders who entered last month should have received their jersey and control card in the post. For those whose entries were received after May 30th, the jerseys and control cards can be collected at the late entries desk at the start of the event. It is suggested that riders wear the commemorative jersey during the event.

Support vehicles will be en route, helping with punctures and mechanical problems. It is however suggested that riders bring spare tubes and alan keys in case they have problems at inopportune times. Participants must wear crash helmets.

The control cards will this year be scanned at the checkpoints, using a computerized system. Besides speeding up the process, this will enable participants to get a record of their time at these points. The information will be available from Monday morning on their excellent event website

Bright yellow ‘W200’ road markings have been painted on the route, indicating the correct direction to take at junctions.

The last couple of days before the tour should be used for recovery and carbo-loading. Riders should have tapered back on their training in order to ensure they reach the start on Sunday in a fully-recharged condition, and should be consuming large amounts of carbohydrate in order to stock up on the body’s glycogen stores. During the ride participants should eat and drink regularly, carrying food and water/energy drinks with them on the bike rather than waiting until the checkpoints. A steady, continuous intake of food and liquids is essential. So too is a steady pace – the ride will be a long, tough day in the saddle and so it is better to save strength for later in the spin, rather than ripping away off at the start. Remember – this is a touring event, not a race!

Finally, Met Eireann is promising good weather (hope that’s not the kiss of death!). Their expectation is that: ‘Sunday will be bright with sunny spells and just moderate breezes, a few light showers, but many places dry.’

Eleven Hills to Glory <See Map of Route>

  • The Embankment. (1000 ft.) Category 4 Known also as Crooksling Hill, it’s the ideal warmer up. About 3 miles long the gradient is never too stiff , and the surface is very good. The Tour de France zoomed down this hill on their way into Dublin. 

  • Sally Gap (1650 ft.) Category 1 Now this is a different story. The climb up Sally’s Western flank is 5 miles long and quite stiff particularly towards the top. It is also very open country with no shelter from the wind. Sally Gap is probably the toughest climb on the course but because it comes early in the day others climbs later on may seem more demanding. Sally Gap is definitely a Category 1 climb. 

  • Luggala (1500 ft) Category 2. The road drops from Sally Gap (1650 ft) down to Boleyhorrigan Bridge (1300 ft) so the climb up to Luggala (1500 ft) is not too demanding overall, but as usual there are a few stiff parts, particularly towards the top. However the magnificent scenery on this climb helps to dull the pain. 

  • Wicklow Gap (1600 ft) Category 1. This is another 5 mile long climb. It begins gently but the most demanding gradient comes about one third of the way up. Like Sally Gap this is a real mountain climb. There is no shelter but on the other hand the view is breath taking. Unlike Sally Gap the gradient eases towards the top. The Col de Wicklow Gap earned it’s fame when it was included in the Tour de France in 1997. You can fanaticise that you are amongst the grates as you struggle up this mountain amidst the cheers of the multitude 

  • Donard Hill (800 ft) Category 3 Category 3 because it comes right as you leave the check-point in Donard Village. If you have delayed too long and allowed yourself to cool down, then this climb can be a shock to the system. Its short and stiff but guaranteed to get the heart beat back up . 

  • Ballinabarney Gap (1050 ft) Category 3. This climb resembles the Embankment. It’s rated as Category 3 because it comes after 75 miles but its not a demanding climb. 

  • Mullan Aghavannagh pass (1000 ft) Category 2. Considering this climb has no official name a category 2 rating may seem high but once again allowance is being made for the amount of miles already covered. Perhaps it should be Cat. 3

  • Slieve Maan (1500 ft) Category 1. No arguments about Slieve Maan. It’s category I right from the start. The forest cover on the left side has been cut down so that shelter no longer exists. The panoramic view from the top is spectacular and the long descent into Drumgoff is rewarding though quite dangerous. Braking and handling skills will be severely tested

  • Greenane – Rathdrum Drag (700 ft). Category 4 This drag is out of all proportion to its showing on the map. It is one of those deceptive climbs that twists and turns always promising to finish around the next corner but seeming to go on forever. The reason perhaps is that Slieve Maan has taken its toll and the check-point in Rathdrum won’t come soon enough. Once there however there is a feeling of success and a cuppa tea works wonders. But your not home yet. 

  • Sally Gap (1650 ft) Category 1. The gradient on this Southern flank is fairly constant until the Glenmacnass waterfall comes into view. Hopefully the beauty of the scenery will help offset the increase in gradient. Beyond the top of the waterfall it tends to ease off again but it is open country up here. Passing through the cross-roads that marks the summit of Sally Gap riders will recall how full of riding they were all those hours ago when they floated up the Western approach from Kilbride. But now with the Television mast ahead its due North for Glencree Valley (1200 ft) before the final climb of the day 

  • Killakee (1600 ft). Category 3 With over 100 miles on the clock any climb is going to be tough. But the view across Dublin Bay signals the end is near

Category One = Very Hard. 


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