Entries open for Causeway Sportive

Participants completing the event at the Dark Hedges.
Participants completing the event at the Dark Hedges.

Entries have just opened for this year’s Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive in association with Chain Reaction Cycles Flagship Store in Belfast and already cyclists from all over Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain have booked onto this much anticipated event on the Irish cycling calendar.

The Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive is one of the biggest leisure road cycling events in Northern Ireland and with event numbers reaching higher than ever last year resulted in it being sold out.

Event organisers Outdoor Recreation NI, a not for profit organisation charged with promoting outdoor activities for Northern Ireland, run this tourism event in order to showcase the area to visitors and to drive cycle tourism. Last year’s event injected an impressive economic benefit of £221k into the local economy.

The event starts and finishes in Ballycastle and not only provides participants with a great opportunity to cycle along one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in Europe and part of the 2014 Giro d’Italia route but 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 80 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, Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, the Dark Hedges and the Giant’s Causeway UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The most popular 80 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.

The longest route at 115miles in length incorporates both of these shorter distances and provides the ultimate cycling challenge which is widely regarded as one of the toughest sportive routes in Ireland.

Beverley Pierson from Outdoor Recreation NI, who organises the event, is delighted with the success of it since it first began in 2011. “Year on year event numbers are growing and last year not only did the event sell out but we had 35% of participants coming from outside of Northern Ireland to take part showing that the event can be considered as one of the key drivers for tourists coming to the area,” she said

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Mayor, Alderman Maura Hickey said: “Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council support the event and look forward to welcoming cyclists and the organisers to the Borough.

“The event has a wealth of support from those cycling and those involved in tourism to support events such as these coming to the area.

“The success of the event is going from strength to strength and while everyone thoroughly enjoys themselves on their cycling journey, as the scenery is some of the best in the world, an important key message is also the development of health fitness”.

Chain Reaction Cycles Flagship Store in Belfast continue to sponsor the event and retail manager, Neil McGuigan explained: “For the sixth year in a row Chain Reaction Cycles Boucher Road Store is very proud not just to sponsor the Giants Causeway Coast Sportive, but be involved on the day with mechanical support prior and out on the route. This event is definitely one of the stand out sportives listed in the cycling calendar and we look forward to seeing you all on the day whether on the road or prior in the event village. The Belfast Chain Reaction Retail store team will also be on hand during the build up to the day for advice or even for that extra bar of nutrition for the day.”

Although the event is not set up as a charity event, organisers have teamed up with Marie Curie to encourage participants to fundraise as an extra motivator when tackling the tough hills on the day.

Entries are now open on the event website (www.giantscausewaycoastsportive.com). All previous participants will receive a discount code (via email) for £5 off the entry fee which is valid until the end of June.

There are also two early bird offers if you enter before the end of March entitling you to a £15 off voucher for Chain Reaction Cycles Flagship Store in Belfast plus you will get entered into a competition for a chance to WIN a £300 voucher for the Delphi Resort, courtesy of Volvic!