We have made some important changes to our planned route for the 2013 version of the Wicklow 200.
Shoreline Leisure Centre in Greystones continues as our starting point and HQ for the day as we are convinced that the facilities there are impossible to improve on.
So, from 7 AM on June 9th, we set off on the R762 through the roundabouts turning right and staying on the N11 to Kilmacanoge where we make the usual left turn and climb through Rocky Valley, after which we come to our first major change .
Instead of the customary fork right and the climb through Glencree Valley to Sally Gap we stay on the N755 - climbing the Long Hill and following the route taken by the Wicklow 100 Challenge, over Calary Bog through Roundwood and Annemoe to Laragh.
At this point the two routes divide, with the “100” continuing to Rathdrum and the “200” turning right, following the R756 over Wicklow Gap and rejoining last years route before Hollywood. From Hollywood it's the N81 all the way to our first check-point and refreshment centre in Baltinglass. We are assured that the water problems of last years event will not reoccur !
Staying on the main R747 we reach Kiltegan, after which we enter virgin territory for the event, visiting Co. Carlow and Hacketstown briefly, before turning north onto the narrow L3209 at Crosssbridge ( 3 Km or so before Tinahely) and climbing gradually through Knockananna to once again rejoin the customary route of the past few years at Mullin crossroads.
The remainder of the journey is unchanged. The second checkpoint, as always, is at Rathdrum and the way home takes in Avoca, Redcross, Barndarrig, Glenealy, Ashford, Newcastle and Kilcoole.
So, fundamentally we have replaced Sally Gap with Wicklow Gap as our first “Haute Categorie” climb, a move which will take us through another spectacularly scenic area of Co. Wicklow, whilst at the same time ensuring that we reach our first stop of the day at Baltinglass after 80 Km – some 15 Km or so sooner than in 2012.
The route for the Wicklow 100 remains unchanged from 2012.