Entries have just opened for this year’s Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive on the North Coast of Ireland. Recognised far and wide as the most scenic sportive in Northern Ireland, participants will be blown away by all there is to offer on any of the three routes.
Now in its eighth year, the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive consistently draws over 1,000 participants every year from all parts of Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and further afield.
The event starts and finishes in Ballycastle, a picturesque seaside town situated along the North Coast of Ireland that was named as the best place to live in Northern Ireland, according to the Sunday Times. The route not only provides participants with a great opportunity to cycle along the Causeway Coastal Route, which is one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in Europe and was part of the 2014 Giro d ’Italia route, it has also been created with every level of cyclist in mind.
The shortest route, which is 35 miles, is an excellent way for beginners to complete their first sportive, whereas the two longer routes of 85 miles and 115 miles are ideal for the more serious cyclists with testing hills of up to 20% gradients.
To capture the area’s most famous attractions, the shortest route, the ‘Causeway Coaster’ takes in Bushmills Distillery – the world’s oldest whiskey distillery, founded in 1784. You’ll also pass Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge with its heart pounding walk over a 100 foot drop to the rocks below, as well as the Dark Hedges, the row of beech trees from the 18th Century made famous by hit TV show ‘Game of Thrones.’ Most famously, the route brings you past the Giant’s Causeway UNESCO World Heritage Site, the geological wonder of 40,000 basalt stone columns.
The most popular 85 mile route brings participants through the mythical Glens of Antrim before following the spectacular Antrim Coast Road with the option of taking on or bypassing the gruelling Torr Head Road.
Cyclists will know Torr Head by reputation if not experience and the final feed station sits at the foot of this epic series of five climbs. There is always an exciting flurry of calculations and debates here as riders face the decision of tackling the behemoth or opting for the bypass, avoiding Torr Head. Torr Head covers 10 miles and features 832 feet of climbing, with a gradient of over 20% in places. Riders are pushed to the brink as each climb appears to be the last, but every second improves the view over the Irish Sea and, on a clear day, as far as Scotland.
Participants can also push for the esteemed title of King or Queen of the Mountain. This specially timed 1.28 mile section begins on the final climb as you approach the home run back to Ballycastle.
The longest route at 115 miles in length incorporates both routes mentioned above and provides the ultimate cycling challenge which is widely regarded as one of the toughest sportive routes in Ireland, with many cyclists wishing to add it to their list of accolades.
All routes are marshalled, well signed and most importantly, have some of the most delicious and well stocked feed stations you’ll find.
Participants who enter before Tuesday 1st May will also receive an exclusive Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive technical t-shirt as part of their new Early Bird Offer.