The Newport Rocky Mountain High gravel/off-road event had something for every participant, some came to just ramble around the gravel tracks others were a tad more competitive and raced the route. One thing for sure by the end of the day everyone was in awe of the majestic scenery beauty of the area.
With two event distances to choose from most participants opted for the 60k distance, with tough climbs up in the Nephin’s and a river crossing to be negotiated, these parcours is what attracted cyclists to attend from as far as Antrim.
The aim of the event was to highlight an old path from Newport to Mulranny, called the Rocky Way, it was used in the olden days by locals, travelers, farmers, and herders.
There are even rumours that the great “Fionn mac Cumhaill” travelled this track en-route to Newport. The rumours goes that on the journey his dogs took chase after a wild boar but little did, they know there were actually two boars and after a tussle one of the dogs was injured by the horns of the second boar and took-off whaling into one of the nearby glens for shelter… To find out the full story its best to make a weekend of it and explore the area for yourselves; the area around the Glendahurk horseshoe and the Burrishoole walks are just magnificent.
The event itself started outside Hotel Newport & Kelly’s Butchers and after a tranquil opening where the route took in a lap of the Quay, and a short section of the Great Western Greenway, the action started once the cyclists hit the Rocky Way path, the long incline up towards Mass rock broke the peloton into pieces.
All the talk beforehand was about bike choice, any off-road bike would get them around the route but some participants went to great lengths to make their machine race ready by selecting their preferred wheel and tyre choice, others stripped their mountain bikes down and shed as much weight from their machines to suit the route. One participant even used a racer with wider tyres and still got around.
Even though the event was technically not a race, organisers created timed sectors so participants could compare times by using the Strava app, their phones and GPS device.
In the 60k distance David Gibson from Portrush set a blistering pace breaking all the records for the sectors coming home first by a country mile.
Last years winner Trevor Costello from Islandeady was second with Gary Donohue Bikeworx Kildare 3rd.
Local woman Sinead Parsons Islandeady took the plaudits from Eve Daly Galway Bay with Lesleyann Wylie Wicklow third.
The 40k results
Best over the sectors was Colm Staunton Westport Covey Wheelers, 2nd was Anthony Murray Westport Bike shop and third went to Roger Ryan Fermanagh.
In the women’s event local Mary Mulchrone Westport Covey wheelers just got the better of Eimear Flannery Western Lakes CC with MarT-sia Cwiertnia Galway third.
Organisers Raceface would like to thank main sponsors Hotel Newport, Nausan Body care products, Westport Bike shop and Marrey bikes.
All finishers went home with a Black & White pudding from the renown Kelly’s butchers.
The event was supported by the rural recreation officer Martin Dillane and the South West Development Company who did trojan work making sure all the gravel sections were ridable.
To all the farmers, helpers, Civil Defence and marshals, Coillte, Burrishoole GAA for the use of their facilities and to all the locals on the route who were patient with their time.
40k Male and Female.
Full results: Newport Rocky Mountain High 40k results 2023