Over one thousand cyclists enjoyed the Causeway Coast and Glens of Antrim from the saddle as part of the second annual Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive last weekend which was organised by Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland (formerly CAAN) in association with Chain Reaction Cycles Flagship Store Belfast.
This event, which started and finished in Ballycastle, had over 1000 competitors including over one hundred and fifty cyclists from the Republic of Ireland and seventy participants making the trip over from the UK mainland. With cyclists also flying in from Lithuania and Australia to take part in the event Beverley Pierson from Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland is in no doubt why this event has become so popular in such a short period of time.
Miss Pierson explained: “The Causeway Coast and Glens boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in Ireland and there is simply no better way to enjoy this unique corner of the country than by the saddle.
“When you couple undulating coast roads with some tough climbs and exhilarating descents through the glens not too mention the gruelling Torr Head Road, for those who are seeking the maximum challenge, you know you have a winning formula. By the numbers we have seen take part in the first two years of this event, we are confident that the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive has firmly cemented itself on the sportive calendar in the UK and Ireland.”
With three stunning routes on offer, this year’s Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive catered for all levels of cyclists from complete beginners to those taking part in their first long distance event and serious club cyclists looking for a tough route that would push them right to the limit. Miss Pierson concluded, “With all three routes finishing back at the Ballycastle promenade at around the same time, the town was positively buzzing and there was a fantastic sense of achievement from all cyclists taking part across all three route distances.”
This event, which brought a welcome boost to the local economy, was fully supported by Moyle District Council and local chairperson Sandra Hunter explained: “The Council were delighted to be able to assist Outdoor Recreation NI with a grant through our Tourism Events Fund and having seen the economic benefit to our accommodation providers and catering industry I would like to see that support continue. It was a pleasure as Chair of the Council to take the opportunity to welcome and congratulate some of those cyclists who returned while I was at the event”.
Plans for next year’s event are already underway and details will be released in the next few months. Visit the event website www.giantscausewaycoastsportive.com to take a look at photographs and videos from this year’s event and find out more information on the 2013 sportive as it becomes available.