Loaghtan Loaded tour 2015
Wicklow and Rostrevor

Riders :- Coops, Laurence Lewellyn Bowen, Kev, Gadge, Seamus, NeilK, Foxdale, Pete (Batman), Alex (the assassin), Woody (they walk among us), Cam, Bolty, Ned, Richie, Tim, Barry, Skippy, Gav, Stevio, Sinbad and Nick
Guest appearances :- Lorcan, Mark, Jackson and Ritchie Byrne

Day One

Administrative duties first, Neil Skillen has been summoned to explain his absence as a hastily written apology on his letter headed paper with his hourly rates is not acceptable and frankly waiting to see if he is eligible for gender reassignment is a poor excuse.

Arriving late afternoon we had time for a quick ride around Ballinstoe, with the exception of Skippy who wanted an early tissue day to try all the beds out.

Alex started off with the ‘Rut Slut’…..

……For those not in the know the ‘Rut Slut’ is a 2 foot tall blow up doll presented to the rider who crashes, if more than one crash the best off is voted for by a show off hands. It is a badge of honour as well as disgrace, it has been well abused on the tours mainly on Skippy’s tissue day. It is not meant to offend, if it does, tough shite you shouldn’t be on this website……feck’em.

…..Alex had the ‘Rut Slut’ for 500 yards before it was changing hands, on the first single track we rode, we found Nick, bike facing the wrong way, jacket dirty, looking sheepish, Alex couldn’t get rid of it quick enough. Nick didn’t have time to get acquainted before she was with another man, Gav going over an unexpected rock like a leaping salmon, gracefully flying through the air like a trapeze artist and landing like a bag of shite, it was pitiful to see Isle of Mans finest in such a state.

Gav didn’t have to wait long to debunk the Rut Slut, she was changing hands quicker than a bridesmaid at a wedding in the west.

On the next fire track we met Jackson a resident of Wicklow, who some of the lads met at Bontrager 24 (he came 4th). After a brief chat one of the most bizarre chain of events witnessed on a Tour was seen….keep in mind on previous tours we have had a naked man in a field, hit a rambler with a stone, done 30mph with the handbrake on (what’s that smell).

Coops “are you doing the Bontrager again Jackson?”
Jackson “yeah”
Coops “I’m going to kick your arse”

After laying the gauntlet down we set off up the hill on the smooth fire track, 3 yards later Coops promptly fell off right in front of Jackson……more like ‘Lick his Arse’ not Kick

Coops is on first name terms with the Rut Slut, he gets it more times than that nasty rash he keeps picking up, within 5 minutes Woody received her appearing to forget that he was clipped in and just fell over.

A good start to the tour.

Day Two

Roundwood was the starting point meeting up with Lorcan and Mark, acquaintances of Seamus (though they deny this) Lorcan is famous for getting lost on an early E2E, so all should be well as he was trail leader.

All the bikes were emptied out of the vans, wheels put back on, bars straightened last minute fettling……Woody seemed to be struggling.

Woody “Excuse me gentleman I seem to struggling to get these pads in my calipers”……
…….”That will probably be because you’ve ordered the wrong ones”……priceless.

We were soon on the Wicklow Way, Stevio was soon off the Wicklow Way as was Skippy, Skippy over the bars on a rock, Stevio slipping on the boards, Skippy carried on, once Ned had stopped pissing himself laughing we realised Stevio needed urgent medical attention. Once the pin prick of a wound was found a Barbie plaster was applied a kiss on the forehead and the brave little soldier was on his way again.

After climbing over a series of stiles we arrived at the scenic Glendalough….it’s no Eairy Dam though…..then onto the highlight of the day, La Grande Climbe or Feckin big drawn out hill.

This turned out to be a slog on a clay like surface fire track which wasn’t helped by the rain, the forecast was for rain at 1 o’clock it arrived early at 12:58. Much to our delight a few of us went ahead and climbed the wrong way, which at least meant we could go downhill to go the right way, though this wasn’t enjoyable with the freezing rain….Ireland’s famous light rain had truly arrived.

Across some more boards and down a rocky decent only Dave Reilly Laxey Enduro riding God, Sinbad and Kerruish (thick as pig shit doesn’t know better) attempted it, the rest not wanting the Rut Slut chose to skip merrily holding hands singing.

A fast downhill fire track descent, with the group spread out top speeds were achieved, sadly the track turned into loose stone on a blind bend, Alex saw no escape his only option to save himself from serious injury was to take Ned and Woody out which he managed with ease, bikes and bodies flying in all directions.

At the pub at the bottom a discussion took place as to whether it warranted the Rut Slut changing hands. Isle of Mans finest crime fighting force Gav, Pete (Batman) and the Garde police took measurements and taped the crime scene off. Despite all evidence Gav decided it was out of his jurisdiction and Batman was more concerned that his Toastie Special and Chips was taking a long time to appear so it was decided that as it was a coming together it was a void incident. Though a re-enactment will take place on Peel Hill.

The meal was fine though mayo was missing, Ned had nicked all the mayo for himself, turns out. The tight Yorkshire fecker uses it in his tubeless.

After a pub lunch just what you need is a steep road climb for a mile and a half, Coops saw his meal again, the hill (Shay Elliott) is named after a famous Irish road cyclist, our own Irish Loaghtan has a urinal in The Mariner pub Wicklow named after him. At the top the heavens opened ‘how we laughed’. Four headed back to the van having had enough and wanted to massage each other’s aches and pains, the rest of us with a combined total of 953 years of unblemished heterosexuality carried on. We soon arrived at a great single track climb, the pub lunch started to take effect, the rest of the ride was like a scene from Blazing Saddles.

Day 3

Back to Ballinstoe to meet Ritchie Byrne our trail leader for the day, whose motto seems to be ‘no need for man gears’, with the weather forecast being appalling at best only 14 of us out, the rest choosing to go on a flower arranging course.

Just for a change the ride started with an up then a steeper up. The down that followed was rocky and rooty through a gorse corridor. Ned came off flying into the gorse with it being 3ft tall Ned was hidden, on his back like turtle unable to get up. At the bottom a rarity, Kerruish off, it warmed us all on this cold wet day. Another shite leg sapping grassy climb next to be followed by a steep road climb passing the TV crew filming the series Vikings which seemed a bit ironic. We were rewarded with a great single track through the trees. Once out of trees Ritchie waved goodbye as he had enough of Riding God Mr Reilly giving him tips. We did a couple more good…. ‘sweepy, whoopy with nothing to worry about trails just enjoy them’….Seamus’s words these innocuous trails have so far accounted for 7 offs……never trust man giddy on Guinness and on his own turf. We revisited the trail that Gav came off on and suggested that when we get to the jump somebody shouts out the safe word, but not the same one he used in the bedroom as this would confuse the issue. At the bottom Rich had hoof trouble with loose cleats it was to cold to help, Ned stayed to help as he was less exposed to the wind being smaller than a leprechaun. Gav wanted us to hug to keep warm, I think this was just a ruse for either some man love or he wanted a collar for operation Yewtree.

A road ride back to the van at the pub in freezing conditions, we found the non riders bragging about the roast beef lunch and beer they had in front of a roaring fire, but we could tell they were jealous of our energy gels, chattering teeth and shivering. Kerruish made a school boy error by admitting to Dave that he had nothing left in his legs….weakness!

Day 4

Back up into Northern Ireland for the last riding day, Gav and Batman were ecstatic as they were now back in there crime fighting jurisdiction. Gav already has ear to ground for clues on the great Maughold wheelie bin theft, though I think it’d probably be cut and sprayed by now.

Rostrevor Trail Centre starts with a long fire track climb (uplifts are available for those with no shame) but once onto the single track it traverses up making it easier. It was agreed that Alex and Woody should have either another rider or 15 yards between them to stop them crashing. The bikes had taken a beating, I had no back brake, Sinbad ripped his mech off and had to freewheel down, Gav had trouble getting into big ring (without the safe word it was a risky moment). Ned was a broken man after three days of riding out of the saddle trying to keep up with Neil and Dave. Astonishingly there were no more crashes meaning Kerruish has the rut slut till next years tour.

Rostrevor is the best trail centre we have been to.

An excellent Tour well organised again………nearly forgot Robert Di Nero was at Rostrevor not a bad rider!

Awards

Kerruish – keeper of the Slut.
Barry – commemorative t-shirt, 5 years since he came off at Hawkshead, silly fecker filmed himself doing it.
Woody – outstanding contribution to the tour.

Memorable lines

“I just laid one on top”
“Fuck ’em”
“NO need for your man gears”
“I must be awake my feet are cold”
“Up”
“It’s whoopy and swoops, just enjoy it”

Foxdale