The An Post Tour of Sligo proved to be an outstanding success with over 2400 cyclists on their bikes over the two day event. Every county on the island of Ireland was represented with the event attracting 22 oversees visitors including cyclists from Australia, United States, Canada, Switzerland, England and Scotland. Among the participants were ‘Bressie’ well know singer, model Roz Purcell, former Olympic medallist and Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council and John Treacy, Barney Whelan Head of Communications at An Post and Mayor of Sligo Cllr Mayor Mc Garry.
Despite early morning showers cyclists began descending on the Institute of Technology headquarters on Sunday morning from 7am onwards full of enthusiasm, with a great atmosphere. The Ox Mountain Challenge got under way at 9 am with 470 cyclists registered and this was followed by the 100K Innisfree Tour at 10 am involving 910 cyclists which included the Tour Ambassador Bressie. The more leisurely cycle involving the 60K Lough Gill Circuit departed at 10.30am with 625 cyclists including many relatively new comers to the sport.
Shortly after midday the first of the cyclists arrived home while those on the Ox Mountain Challenge arrived much later having a lot of mountains to climb and distance to cover. The feedback was hugely positive with everybody having a very enjoyable day. Cyclists were extremely complementary of the route management support provided by the Garda Siochana and community marshals while the foodstops hosted by the event charity Special Olympics and supported by local communities in Dromore West, Coolaney and Ballintogher which were a very welcome sight for the cyclists along the route.
The main events were preceeded on Saturday with the Family Fun Day with children, parents and those new to the sport of cycling taking part. Close to 300 cyclists were involved in the 10K Hazelwood Spin while over 100 enthusiastic children and their parents cycled the 2K Bike Trail. Participants enjoyed a festival of entertainment which included stilt walkers, acrobatics, juggling, fire breathing ,walk about puppet performances and BMX display.
Feedback from the participants was very positive with everybody enjoying a great weekend of cycling and while there were many tired bodies crossing the finishing line the overall feeling was one of a great sense of achievement. Ambassador Bressie enjoyed the event stating “Thank you to the Tour of Sligo for a top class event, well run” while another happy cyclist summed it up by saying
“Really well marshalled. Food stops all brilliantly stocked with cheery supportive volunteers. Well done to everyone involved in organising and running this great event. It was really enjoyable. Will recommend it”.
The event was co-ordinated by Sligo Sport and Recreation Partnership and supported by a huge investment of time and expertise from the organising committee which included representatives from Sligo County Council, Sligo VEC, and local cycling clubs Innisfree Wheelers and Eire Og. This was supported by many community groups, volunteers and sponsors all of who contributed to a great event.