The Mourne Mountains will provide a dramatic backdrop to an exciting new cycling sportive this month. The ‘Giant Fondo’ will cover 78km of rugged mountainside with three climbs of Spelga on Sunday, 23 September. It will provide an unrivalled chance for hundreds of cycling newcomers and seasoned riders to set themselves a new challenge.
Inspired by the popularity and success of the Giro d’Italia and powered by a surge in demand from local and international visitors, Northern Ireland’s first ‘Giant Fondo’ is already set for success in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty.
Flagship Cycling Event
Officially launching Northern Ireland’s first Giant Fondo event, Mark Murnin, Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, said: “Famed for its awe-inspiring beauty and among one of the most photographed places in the world, the iconic Mourne Mountains are a proven world class location for hill-walking, running, cycling and extreme sports.
“With mixed terrain, trails and plains and praised by a raft of international sporting magazines, it’s a region which is increasingly drawing in more cyclists from across these islands and the rest of the world.
“To accommodate that demand, we have carefully developed a flagship cycling event so that more visitors can enjoy this outstanding region.”
Organisers say the Giant Fondo route will provide a challenge to riders of all or fitness levels who will enjoy an event with good signage, well stocked Feed Stations and available support.
For more information, and to register, search Giant Fondo on Eventbrite or via the Visit Mournes Facebook page.
Starting from Clonduff GAC you take a left out of the club car park and follow the slight drag towards Castlewellan before turning left towards Rathfriland and then left again into Hilltown. After this gentle opener you climb gradually before descending into Rostrevor.
It’s a left turn and north again past Yellow Water and Leitrim Lodge before making your first climb over Spelga. At the top it’s a left turn towards Newcastle and a loop around Fofanny before climbing back up to Spelga for a second time.
From above the dam, you have a long, fast descent towards Kilkeel before looping through Attical and beginning the third and final climb over Spelga. It’s then a sharp drop off the mountains, through the S bends and back towards Hilltown and the Race HQ.
The total ride distance is 76.63 km.The route has a total ascent of 1251.97 m and has a maximum elevation of 406.37m.
The route will be marshalled and well signed. There will be a well stocked Feed Station at the Spelga Dam car park which can be accessed 3 times on the route.
There will be post event food with tea/coffee available in the club house once you have finished. Parking and showers are available at the club house.