We’re always amazed by the challenges that cyclists undertake. Whether they are ticking off bucket list climbs or raising money for charity, cyclists seem to revel in physical challenges that make non-cyclists question their sanity.
One such recent endeavour was undertaken by the Exeter Chiefs Cycling Club. They rode from Exeter, England to Limerick, Ireland to raise much needed funds for the Exeter Chiefs Foundation.
Following the ride, we caught up with club member and ArmaUrto customer Clive Banks to learn more about the challenge.
Hi Clive, hopefully the legs have recovered. Could you tell us what the Exeter Chiefs Cycling Club is and why the challenge took place.
“The legs are great thanks! Well, we are a collection of cyclists that support the Exeter Chiefs Rugby team. Each year we ride to an away match to cheer on the team and also raise money for the Exeter Chiefs Foundation.
We’ve been to Castres, Montpellier, Twickenham and Ulster. We’ve raised over £110,000 for the Foundation which supports a wide range of great causes in Devon.
This year we decided Limerick would be the perfect destination, to support the Chiefs in the European Cup.”
Sounds great and for a very worthy cause. How did the ride go this year?
“The whole thing was incredible (although tough at times). Nothing beats being out on the bike with friends, experiencing new roads, meeting new people and raising money for a great cause. We cycled 750km over 5 days so it was quite full-on, but the camaraderie between the group and the occasional energy gel kept us going.
On the first day we headed out of a cold but clear Exeter and made our way to Newport. 110 miles, over 3,800ft of elevation gain and nearly 7 hours in the saddle. Not exactly a gentle introduction but it put us in good stead for the rest of the ride.
I was fully kitted out in ArmaUrto which provided me with a great sense of reassurance on some of the busier roads and also kept me warm, dry and comfortable.
We transferred to Ireland overnight and on day 2 the fun really started. Not to disappoint, the Emerald Isle lived up to its reputation and the heavens opened. There was heavy rain all day on the ride from Waterford to Cork. It was relatively flat over the 85 miles but my Pro-flect Essential Jacket provided excellent protection from the wind, rain and any potential mishaps. Visibility wasn’t great out on the road but the vibrant fluro yellow jacket meant that traffic could clearly see me.
Thankfully the rain clouds cleared for day 3 and we enjoyed a lumpy 94 miles from Cork to Killarney. There were three big climbs but the stunning scenery and technical descents made it all worth it. The sun was out and it got quite warm so the Chiefs cycling jersey was unzipped and the Impact Pro Aero base layer allowed plenty of much needed cool air to circulate.
By day 4 we were really in the swing of things and started to relate to the pro’s during the Tour de France. Repeated days on the bike doing big distances completely changes your mindset. We were focussed on completing the challenge and the thought of a beer at the end whilst watching the rugby spurred us on. We completed the Ring of Kerry loop; nearly 90 miles and 5,500ft of climbing through simply a beautiful part of world.
Day 5 and the last leg. We headed out of Killarney early with Limerick in our sights. Although the legs were starting divorce proceedings from the rest of my body, we chalked off the 82 miles and 3,200ft of climbing in just under 6 hours. My VIPAR bib shorts that I’d worn each day (after washing each night) were so comfortable that at the end I felt like I could have done a few more days. However, there was rugby to watch, beer to drink and a calorie deficit to put right."
Wow, it must have been a brilliant experience and one that will live long in the memory.
"Yes, it really was. I can highly recommend that part of the world for a cycling trip. Stunning landscapes, great roads and friendly people!"