If you like cycle Sportifs, this is the one for your bucketlist. The Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif (https://wildatlanticwaycyclesportif.ie/) is 17 stages of amazing scenery along the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. In it's first year of organizing this sportif, it easily matches the ones which have been organized for years regarding fun, scenery and organization.
The sportif started in Kinsale (Co.Cork) , and after 17 days you find yourself in Muff (Co.Donegal) having cycled 2095km along the Wild Atlantic Way.
And don't worry, if the entire 17 stages sound like to much of an effort, you can select to do just 1 stage or a few, it is entirely your decision. And we were lucky to be part of the inaugural Wild Atlantic Way sportif, and all we can say is that the organization is amazing. If you select 1 stage, you pay €45 for the stage. But it is what you get what is just brilliant, you get the following:
The official cycling jersey
The official cycling shower jacket
Lunch (Soup / sandwiches / cakes / tea or coffee)
Goody bag snack pack
Kit bag transfer to the finish line
Assistance: Roadside assistance , bike mechanic , massage service available pre and post stage
Return transfers for you and your bike (Back to departure point)
So after having collected our brand new jersey and jacket, we were all set for a day in the saddle. Under a beautiful September sun, we took off under escort of motorbikes and support cars. The first 10km was at a leisurely pace. After the initial 10km , the group split rapidly in 2 groups, one for the faster cyclist and 1 for the more leisurely cyclists. The pace of the first group was about 28km/hr for most of the day where the more leisurely group went at a slower pace. But don't panic, we had a novice cyclist who's longest distance was approx. 40km, and she finished the entire 135km stage. The rule of tumb is that if you are getting tired or need a break, the assitance vehicule will give you a lift.
Approx. half way, the well needed food stop was reached. A beautiful lunch awaited us, and what we like to mention is the attention to detail of the organizers. After our lunch, we found our drink bottles on the bikes all filled again to the rim. And it is this attention to detail we found along the route the whole time, from the mindfull reminders that we needed to drink enough water to Padraig transfering the bikes in his Wild Atlantic Way van entertaining the cyclists, it is a fantastic experience. And the plans have already been made for next year, there will be 2 sportifs, one around April geared towards the cycling clubs who want to get fit for the racing season ahead, and one again in September for the more leisurely cyclist. But it doesn't matter which one you select, you will be exposed to the same scenery and the same hospitality of the organizers. So a huge thank you from us to the organizers.