I was in Waterville today in beautiful sunshine (it only rains in Kerry when Thomas is about) and, while waiting for the pub to open, decided to pop across to Caherciveen with the bike and cycle the 20k out and back route.
I started in the Eurospar car park on the Waterville side of town and cycled through the town trying to dodge all manner of moving obstacles - it's surprising how invisible you are on a bike. The route is undulating for the first 3k along the main road towards Glenbeigh, after which it takes a right turn onto the Road to Glencar. The surface on this road is actually in better condition than that of the main road, which may be the reason it was selected for this years race as I understand that last years route was a real bone shaker.
From the 4k to the 9k mark the road climbs steadily from about 75 feet to 530 feet with the grade varying in places enough to force/suggest a change in gear. However it's all very manageable with no steep sections. From the top there's a 1.4k descent to the turnaround (10.4k in all - I didn't set off from the official start location). The road is quit narrow so the turnaround is at a T-junction - still it will be a bit of fun on race day - hope it's not too congested when I get there.
The return leg will be quite fast and while much of the descent is on straight road cornering skills will be required on the higher sections. I assume the road will be closed for the duration, otherwise it will be mayhem - bad enough when you going flat out with cyclist coming against you - overtaking could be fun!
I made it up in just under 24 minutes and back down in just over 18 minutes - 42 minutes in all for about 20.8 km.