Sunday the 19th of September 2021 will see over 300 cyclists from all over Ireland flock to Tipperary Town to partake in the third edition of the Grass Routes Gran Fondo.
A homegrown sportive cycle created by three locals to Tipperary in 2019 has quickly gained notoriety in the cycling community due to the format, scenery and outright craziness of the route. The Grass Routes Gran Fondo follows none of the conventional rules; there is no cover fee, no marshals and you will take your road bike off road with gravel/dirt and limestone sectors.
The cycle runs on a “self guided with benefits” system where participants can rely on .GPX/Strava, road markings and signage to navigate a 165km route weaving through a network of boreen road and “sectors” throughout the Glen of Aherlow and East Limerick. The route itself is all within a 20km radius of Tipperary Town so home is never far away. Support vehicles, first aid and feed zones ensure riders and bike are kept in top condition for the day.
This year the cycle starts with the famous water tanks hill in Cordangan Tipperary, and sees the return of some classic sectors from 2020, notably the “famine road” or more commonly known as “the lime stone sector”. There are also some surprises with two new sectors travelling through local farm paths dubbed “Roubaix” and “Strade Bianche”. It’s not all hardship though, in between the sectors partcipants can relax and enjoy the stunning Glen of Aherlow with a backdrop of the Galtee Mountains for the entire day.