In May, the world’s top professional riders will take to the roads of Ireland for the start of the Giro d’Italia. Two weeks later, over the Bank Holiday weekend of My 24-26, it will be the turn of regular riders when the three-day Curadmír Ulster Cycle heads into the hills of Northern Ireland on what organisers say is designed to be toughest route in the British Isles.
A fully supported multi-stage sportive, the ride covers 360 miles in three days through some of the wildest and most remote terrain in Ulster.
Riders can enter as teams or individuals but organisers expect they will work together to complete the event rather than treat it as a competition (sounds a bit optimistic to us).
The route promises great scenery including the 700m ascent of the Mourne Mountains, the Giant’s Causeway, Ireland’s most northerly point at Malin Head, the Mamore Cap with hairpin gradients of 27%, and the Fermanagh Mountains, where the final hilltop finish will overlook Lough Erne.
The event will have a rolling base camp, with rider villages providing facilities including: tents with mattresses, premium catering, hot showers, physio and massage services and a mechanics’ tent. In the evening riders will be able to relax and recover with comfy seating and live music in the chill-out marquee.
The name Curadmír, in case you’re wondering, means ‘Champion’s Portion’ – the feast awarded to the bravest warriors in the battles of ancient Ireland.
Entry to the Curadmír Ulster Cycle starts from £475 and is open now. If you get in quick, there’s an early bird price of £375 until midday on Monday February 17. See www.curadmir.com for more information.
If the pictures above aren't enough to whet your appetite, here's a wonderfully over-the-top video:
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.