Route Information - The Reservoir Dog Sportive
Section 1. 0km - 31km (695m climbing) START Russborough to Old Military Road
The Reservoir Dog Route leaves the from the front of Russborough House, joins the N81 and heads north for five flat kilometres as far as Blessington. From the Main Street in Blessington the route turns right onto the Kilbride Road. Don’t cross the bridge. Head straight along the mostly flat road past Three Castles to Kilbride Village at the 11 km mark then turn right onto the R759 Sallygap Road. At a crossroads a further 1km along wave bye, bye to the flat roads - the route takes a sharp left for the first climb of the day, the steep Dowrey Climb. Luckily the top is reached after only 1km of climbing. After a short dip and drag over Ballyfolan Hill the route goes right towards Kilbride Army Camp. Enjoy the views and the sense of remoteness despite being so close to Dublin City. The surface is a bit bumpy here but you won’t be going too fast on this stretch. At the T- junction go left past the Army Camp for the next climb onto the shoulder of Seehan Mountain on a narrow but well surfaced road that crosses into County Dublin. The road tops out at 490 metres above sea level. This is the highest public road in County Dublin and is at a higher elevation than the Wicklow Gap. The expanse of Dublin City sprawls below. On a good day you can see the Mourn Mountains from here. Keep your wits about you on the descent to the Stone Cross / Ballinascorney Road junction. The route then goes right on the R114 steep downhill towards Ballinascorney golf course for 800 metres. Keep your speed in check on this section as there is a hard right turn mid way down the descent. After the turn and a short rise at Allagour, the route dips into the stunning Glenasmole Valley along narrow roads with the Glenasmole Reservoirs below on the left. Over the bridge of the Dodder headwaters, the route takes you along to the end of the Glenasmole Valley. After two left turns the road swings right up the super tough Cunard to Glassamucky climb. Gear down early here to keep your legs spinning! The steepest section is lower on the climb with the gradient pitching above 20% in places. Go too deep here and you will pay for it later on! Go right along Glassamucky Road where the gradient eases briefly before the last steep pull onto the R115 Old Military Road and back into County Wicklow. The hardest climbing section on the route is now behind you!
Section 2. 31km-64km (386m climbing) Glasamucky/Old Military Road to Laragh
Enjoy the descent to the head of the Glencree Valley. Straight on and it is not long before the road pitches up again this time past Lough Bray. Though steep in the middle section this is a short(ish) climb. Once at the crest there is a water stop at the Kippure Gates car park. Then it’s on over the Liffey Head Bridge and onward to Sally Gap across wide open upland. If you’re lucky you’ll get a spectacular view on the right down the wild valley of the young River Liffey. On reaching Sally Gap the route takes a left turn onto the R759. Rest the legs on this nice downhill before the next pull to Lugalla. On the way slow down for the narrow bridge with a tricky off-camber surface. The pull over Lugalla is thankfully brief and is the last proper climbing before the food stop. On your way up enjoy the stunning vista of Lough Tay deep in the valley on your right. Next, the steep descent to Roundwood should be taken with caution. Continue straight until you reach the main road and go right onto the R755 towards Roundwood with the Varty Reservoir on your left. Follow the main road through Roundwood Village, Annamoe and onto Laragh for the food and refreshment stop. Resist the temptation to push too hard on this section as there is plenty of climbing to do after the food stop.
Section 3. 64km-94km (510m Climbing) Laragh to Ciaran Jones Bridge
Refuelled and refreshed the route now takes you up the Glenmacnass Valley on the R115, at first on a gently rising road that will get the blood flowing in your legs after the stop. This then gives way to a steep climb alongside the beautiful waterfall on your left. There are great views to be had back down the Valley towards Laragh. Once above the waterfall the gradient eases until cresting at Druminn. The swooshing downhill through the Oasis is short lived before the climbing resumes for Sally Gap. Emerging from the trees the road snakes across the open mountain side keeping the top out of view until the very last moment. May the wind be at your back on this section! At last, Sally Gap is gained 20km after leaving Laragh. Take a left turn onto the R759 back down the Liffey Valley on a technical descent that could catch the unwary out. The road is undulating and a final drop brings you to the left turn to cross the Ciaran Jones Bridge over the River Liffey.
Section 4. 94km – 125km (409m climbing) Ciaran Jones Bridge to Russborough FINISH
Once over the bridge gear down for the climb over Ballysmutten. You can dream of the Alpe D’Huez as you wind your way up the switch backs early on the climb. At the top there will be a chance to refill your water bottles one last time. A twisty descent then brings the route to Oldcourt. Brake early for the T-Junction. A left turn brings an unusual flat section of road past Blessington Bridge and onto Lake Drive. This section is a test for tired legs. The road swoops up and down over this well worn training route through the pretty mountain villages of Lacken and Ballyknocken. At least the wonderful scenery formed by the Poulaphuca Reservoir and surrounding mountains of West Wicklow might be a distraction from the effort. Once you crest the hill at Ballyknocken you have cracked it! A right through Valleymount and a left on the far side of the bridge brings the route on a drag over Humphrey’stown. Nothing steep here! A descent to the right turn onto the N81 then gives way to the last rise of the day. This short pull may seem to go on for ever but once on the flat road above it is only two km to the finish at Russborough and a well deserved rest. Congratulations – you have just ‘Done the Dog’!
The Reservoir Pup Route leaves from the front of Russborough House, joins the N81 and heads north for five flat kilometres as far as Blessington. From the Main Street in Blessington the route turns right onto the Kilbride Road. Don’t cross the bridge. Head straight along the mostly flat road past Three Castles to Kilbride Village at the 11 km mark then turns right onto the Oldcourt Road. Go straight over Ballyward Bridge then up the first little drag to Oldcourt. Then the route goes past Woodend and along the flat section that lasts as far as Blessington Bridge. Go Straight onto Lake Drive.
The route is now on rolling roads. The road swoops up and down over this well worn training route through the pretty mountain villages of Lacken and Ballyknocken. At least the wonderful scenery formed by the Poulaphuca Reservoir and surrounding mountains of West Wicklow might be a distraction from the effort. Once you crest the hill at Ballyknocken continue for another two kilometres before taking a right turn at Annacarney. Go through Valleymount Village and a left on the far side of the bridge that brings the route on a drag over Humphreystown. Nothing too steep here! About 1.5km further on take the left turn (signposted Abhainn Ri). This road starts gently enough but then gives way to a short, sharp rise. The top is reached at a left hand bend.
Get your breath back and enjoy the lovely views for the next 5km as the road dips and rises along the beautiful townlands of Johnstown and Harristown with views of the lake, the Kings River Valley, and on a clear day the Wicklow Gap and Turlough Hill can be seen off to the East. This stretch ends abruptly with a steep descent to the Wicklow Gap to Hollywood Road. Brake early before the T-Junction. Go right up the hill for about 1km to the crest before the big descent to Hollywood Village. This tricky downhill should be treated with respect especially in the wet!
Once through Hollywood village go right along the Ballysize Road. At the Crossroads take care crossing the N81 and then it’s straight over the small rise before descending to Ballymore Eustace. Once over the Liffey Bridge bear right up the one way Plunkett Road. After a short drag the route emerges at the main road. Go right then immediately left to begin the climb of Bishopshill. The short ramp at the start gives way to a gentle drag for the next two kilometres. After that comes probably the toughest climb on the route as the kicker to the top of Bishopshill will have you in your lowest gears and climbing out of the saddle. Once over the steepest bit the climb drags on to the crest followed by a short descent. A right turn will bring you down a narrow bumpy road to the Finish at Russborough. Negotiate the cattle grid with care and then enjoy a well deserved rest and food. Congratulations – you have just ‘Done the Pup’!