Following Seán Kelly’s pedals around Waterford

Tomorrow over 4,000 people will hop on a bike and cycle around the land of the Decies. I’ll be one of them, wedged to my saddle for close to 6 hours on a 100 mile spin around the Comeragh Mountains as part of the Seán Kelly Tour of Waterford. There’ll be a few celebrities too – Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Hurling legend Dan Shanahan and the man himself, Seán Kelly (see him in action).

It’s a pity Eurosport won’t be picking up the race – how cool would it be to hear Seán commentating on everyone struggling up Seskin Hill in Carrick? This is one of the biggest cycling tours in the country, with routes for everyone – from 10km to 160km. The 160km route comes with a health warning: “The Kelly Comeragh Challenge is the tough, tough part of the tour and not for the fainthearted. Almost 160 km (100 miles) in length, it includes two Category One climbs Seskin Hill and Mahon Falls.”

I’m really looking forward to the spin. The best bits will be leaving Dungarvan in a peleton of 1500 people. That should be some sight. After that going up Seskin Hill should be a challenge – hopefully some cow bells will be ringing to make it feel like the Alps. I’m also looking forward to the food – there are so many refuelling stops, in Clonmel and Rathgormack, where you stuff your face (and pockets) with chocolates, cakes, sandwiches, sweets – sugar heaven.

Magic Road
Magic Road, Mahon Falls

The cool thing about these races is that you go through all these villages and countryside that is hidden from the world. Places like Kilrossanty – everyone knows they have a GAA team and have probably played on the pitch, but can anyone say they’ve ever been there and had a look around? Or Ballymacarbery – in 28 years I’ve never even got close to that part of County Waterford. It should be nice to go up the Magic Road on the way to Mahon Falls – will the bikes roll up the hill?

So all set for 6am alarm call. Now it’s time to fix the punctures on the bike – don’t want those tomorrow. It makes some change from Chicago Triathlon, which is also happening tomorrow. Kinda wish I was there too, but I’ll take Waterford this year J


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