Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Ireland Days 3 and 4

Day 3 – Ballybunnion to Oranmore

The day started with another full spread of breakfast.  It was the first day I had a full English breakfast.  I wasn’t sure how it would affect my ride but I was very hungry from the previous days riding.  I had taken my ForGoodnessShake the previous night and a vitamin tablet as soon as we had arrived at the hotel to try and keep on top of the fatigue in the muscles.  This was followed by a freezing shower to try and make sure I was ready for the third day.  I also drank a lot of orange juice in the morning to try and make sure I was topped up on vitamin c to keep the immune system functioning through the week.  We then mounted up and rode out 27 miles to the ferry crossing to make our way across the Shannon estuary.  This wasn’t ideal as we got warm then it was around 45 minutes before we got going again.  Keith Duffy had joined us for two days and had been game to have pictures taken with us and chat with us.  We got to ride with him and he proved himself to be a good cyclist.  He had only been on the bike three times so far this year so credit was given as he did very well.  A group of school children met us, or maybe they where there for Keith... and we had our morning brief from Tony our commander in chief then set off.  We arrived some 102 miles later after being directed the wrong way by one of the marshals who kindly added a 10 mile extension to our route!  We climbed one of the toughest hills as we went towards Galway over the Cliffs of Moher.  The descent was kind to us and we reached Galway after 7hrs 30mins.  The highlight of today was a stint off of the climb going down the decent on to the flat where I speeded past Keith Duffy doing 30mph on the flat and left him for dead.  The last hour or so was a big effort trying to catch up to Chris and Keith who where further down the road after climbing faster than me.  I finally caught up with them with about 3 miles to go and we reached yet another splendid hotel after a true Galway welcome of torrential rain for the last few miles.  Another three course meal was duly dispatched as was my first beer of the adventure a pint of Coors Light.  The Wi-Fi was also good in the hotel lobby which allowed me to catch up with the Garmin updates and the social media worlds of Facebook and Twitter.

I am currently uploading a video to YouTube of the disembarkation.  It’s not great as it’s my first attempt so please bear with me!

Machines at the ferry
Daily Conference - Laughter supplied by Team Aldi
Some of the Squad
OMG Keith Duffy!!

 Day 4 – Oranmore to Sligo

The day started out again with a Full English and some other breakfast items.  I had felt pretty good with this inside me the day before and it had stood me in good stead for the day.  With us mostly eating sandwiches, mars bars, snickers and fruit during the day the bigger meals at breakfast and in the evening where helping to maintain the calories we needed.   The weather had taken a turn for the worse today.  We had intermittent showers for most of the morning and as I had optimistically forgotten my rain jacket had to procure one of the orange marshal’s jackets much to the amusement of my fellow riders.  Day 4 was the first day that I had a feeling of having ridden into the ride and I was feeling strong.  I took some big turns on the front and when we finally turned for home up the dual carriage way I spent myself acting as a windbreak for a good few miles.  I was properly spent for the first time during the trip down to the wind but had an amazing sense of satisfaction that I had been part of the team and helped others out so much.  We weren’t breaking any land speed records but the sense of getting through each day and helping people home, whilst also having some excellent fun was making the trip an excellent experience.  That along with the beautiful Irish scenery.  Again the hotel was excellent and tonight saw Clayton Blackmore join us.  I didn’t get to speak to him much.  As with the other players it wasn’t something that interested me.  I had rode the previous day with Keith Duffy but that was due to him sitting in our group being at the same fitness levels not for a want on my part to fan bash him.

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