What a day, day 5 turned out to be! After a relatively good sleep (despite my air mat deflating time after time) we were up about 6 a.m. Initial plan for the day was to find a bike shop - a common theme for this adventure. Intelligence from Kay suggested there was a bike shop off-route but not so far away (relatively speaking). What else could we do, than venture out. There was a tiny amount of rain in the air this morning but not the 'wet stuff' we were warned about.
|Is that an AT-AT or a water tower?|
|Day 5 (226k)|
We developed a kinda un-written rule today and that was to stop for a stretch/feed/relax after every 25k. This pattern seemed to work out ok and helped the k's tick by as we cycled in a sort of time trial fashion to find the bike shop. Of course to find the bike shop we went off the official route. Those watching our 'dots' on the tracker system thought we had taken a wrong turn and various texts, emails and phone calls were made to us in an attempt to put us back on track. Thanks folks for that support, however, we had intentionally gone off route. Finding the bike shop was difficult - we went forward and back and up and around all near the Irish sea. We asked a few locals too and eventually found both the house where the bike shop guy lived and his bike shop too. Sadly, bike shop guy was not at home and his shop was closed. Oh well, the scenery was nice. Hmmm. Further intelligence from Kay indicated that there was another bike shop, namely 'Troy Cycle Service' some distance away in Newport. Nothing for it but to cycle speedy style again and head for Newport.
Time was an issue and we had added additional k's already. We took the decision to 'skip out' a little loop section (way less than 100k) and recover lost time to enable us to get to Troy's. We were aware that 'short sections could be missed, however, time penalties would be imposed'. We had never planned to win this race anyway and decided we were touring. The pace we were cycling at felt like race pace mind...
Sure enough, Chris came back for me, with his daughter and took me to his wonderful home in rural Ireland. He learned a lot about me and the TAW cycle race and I learned a lot about him. Super clear was that he was an awesome helpful fella! Chris was also a super cyclist who had competed in no end of races and raced many parts of Ireland and England too. Chris had raced on road and the velodrome. Chris has raced at championship levels. No doubt about it - a real champ!
|Chris Troy fixing my wheel|
|Skeleton famine boat|
The proximate cause of famine was potato blight, which ravaged potato crops throughout Europe during the 1840s. However, the impact in Ireland was disproportionate, as one third of the population was dependent on the potato for a range of ethnic, religious, political, social, and economic reasons, such as land acquisition, absentee landlords, and the Corn Laws, which all contributed to the disaster to varying degrees and remain the subject of intense historical debate.
The famine was a watershed in the history of Ireland, which was then part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The famine and its effects permanently changed the island's demographic, political, and cultural landscape. For both the native Irish and those in the resulting diaspora, the famine entered folk memory[fn 1] and became a rallying point for Irish nationalist movements. The already strained relations between many Irish and the British Crown soured further, heightening ethnic and sectarian tensions, and boosting Irish nationalism and republicanism in Ireland and among Irish emigrants in the United States and elsewhere.