'The Longest Day' is the name of a 1962 epic war film about the 1944 D-Day landings; the story that follows is about a battle of a very different kind. 05:30 am - 6th August 2016, 14 Riders -300km, 3 scheduled stops -20 hour Time limit.

Five months ago a conversation started about organising a 300 km cycle. After much discussion it was decided to connect with the Dave Mc ‘Orwell Wheelers’ Guru’ of long cycles. Soon afterwards it was decided to tackle Dave’s Midlands 300, AKA Orwell ‘One lump’ 300. The reference to the ‘Lump’ is the climb over Slieve Bloom; a gentle 12km climb. For cyclists of the Orwell Wheelers type it would not be a difficult climb.

Here is the route: www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/617854526.

Dave also suggested a mid-August date; as this was to coincide with the time of the year that leisure cyclists would be at their maximum fitness. It was a fact that there were very few Orwell Wheeler cyclists who have completed a 300km Audax; this added to the excitement. The proposal posted on the Forum gained lots of interest and to Dave’s surprise 14 cyclists turned up outside Joe’ s to begin the cycle. It was a very brave endeavour for our group of 14, and especially the 13 who had never cycled much more than 200km in one day.

I was a bit apprehensive about the undertaking the 300km cycle and decided to recce. the route over two days in June. With the aid of the ‘MapMyRide’ route and Google earth I picked a mid-way point for my over-night stay. The town was called Cloghan; it’s 13 km north of Birr. It is one of the few places in the world in which a traffic roundabout is called "The Square". My initial research uncovered that there might be a B&B, and there was no sit-down place to get food. However, you could purchase food in a take-way and the owner of the only pub open in town would allow you to eat it in the lounge. I eventually got a bed for the night in a B&B that was in the process of being SOLD.

The recce, apart from getting to know the route, proved to be worthwhile as it gave me time to: do a bit of touring, take a few pictures and to chat to the locals. This little video gives a flavour of the recce.

Part 1 ‘The 300km Recce’


The 6th of August eventually came and we were blessed with the weather. Our circular route is the equivalent of cycling a linear route from Dublin to Tralee in Co. Kerry. And the combined Kms cycled on the day at 4,200kms would bring you from East to the West coast of America. Would you believe it we had no punctures or serious mechanicals! We did have an incident involving a car and two of our riders; Joe and Jose had a fall, luckily Donal was with us to tend to them and no serious injuries were sustained. However, Jose was in a lot of pain for the rest of the day; fair play to him for completing it. Many people wondered who was our mystery randonneusses on the day. It was our very own Sinead Kennedy.

Dave mentioned that with 14 members completing the cycle we have tripled the number of Orwell members who have completed a 300 Audax. So here’s the maths, you can work it out for yourselves. So if X +14 = 3X then what is X, being the previous number of members who had completed the 300km?

Here's Part 2 Video of our Audax 300km.

The day ended with a party provided by our wonderful Dave.

Let’s blame Colin- for WHAT HAPPENED NEXT, I.E. ‘Starting a conversation about a 400km cycle at the party-table.’

Many questions remain about that possibility – one being “how many MacDonald’s I (Donal) could eat on a 400km next year?

I’ll leave you with a comment, Sinead posted on the Forum after the event.

“…I got a major ear bashing on Sunday from my mother who told me " there is absolutely no need to cycle 300km and you’re not able for it" so on that note sign me up for 400km.;-)



An Audax (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audax_(cycling) is a particular type of (leisure) cycle. It has particular control places where you have to get your brevet card marked, and there are time limits set for these control points.

For those considering a 300km Audax see STEPPING UP TO 300K - By Paul O’Donoghue