Was kinda strange being at this checkpoint as we saw a lot of TAW cyclists. Some were already sleeping in the dorm when we arrived, others were eating and now folk were just arriving as we settled down to breakfast (cereals and toast). Folk were still arriving as we departed.
|A peat bog farmer, farming.|
|Outside looking in|
|Inside looking out|
Adventures such as this are a test. A test of character, ability and mental state. One has to battle with highs and lows and even demons perhaps. Jamie and I both had ups and downs and they would occur at different times for each of us. In a way, it was a splendid idea that we were riding as a pair because we could both help one another with the changes in our perceptions and mood as we went along. At my most emotional, I found (thankfully) that I was not low in mood or depressed but rather found everything incredibly funny and would laugh spontaneously at nothing in particular and in a rather un-controllable manner. This was kinda fine but every now and then I thought I was going (or had gone) mad and this made my thinking of a paranoid nature.
|Day 6 (233k)|
We met a whole host of 'weird and wonderful' folk on our adventure. Each and every cyclist had a story of their own. One guy was participating in this event on a Bromptom (fold up bike) - big respect to him. Some folk were cycling donated bikes courtesy of sponsors. It didn't seem fair that I had to shell out big bucks to pay for this ride plus my gear when others were 'given' steeds and stuff for free. (Don't shoot me, I know 'life isn't fair'). Most nights I paid zero euro's to rough it, whilst some sponsored folk had a nice hotel, breakfast and spa to look forward to. One guy commented he had to pay 105 euro's for his room, I wish I had 105 euro's to part with!
A chat with some of the sponsored was interesting. One stated they were sponsored not because they were a particularly good athlete but because they could tell a good story. Surely the story of a guy roughing it on a second hand or cheap bike beats the story of a person cycling a top end bike with hotel stops each night? Another's popularity appeared to help with sponsors and those that were 'plat based' or 'vegan' athletes appeared to have a cult following. Jamie and I tried to be vegan and plant based for an hour at a time. Fair play to those that are - it's real hard work!
The strangest of folk appeared in Galway however. These folks were among the regular mix of folk. Up until now, Ireland appeared to be a very rural quiet place. Galway was the opposite, it appeared that everyone lived here. It was noisy, dirty and chaotic. The most noisy, dirty and chaotic character in the whole of Galway approached me and spoke to me directly face to face with maybe just a whisker between us. He was largely unintelligible and asked numerous questions one after the other. He would ask questions, often repeating earlier questions asked, before answers were given. Amongst the questions that I could make sense of were 'Where you from, where's your tent, where are you gonna sleep (spit), where's your tent'. Thankfully his final question was aimed at some guy coming out of a shop with cans of alcohol 'where's my change' and he disappeared from sight, just like that. I doubt he'll recall any of our interaction, however, Jamie and I will remember this fella for a while to come.
We were pleased to leave Galway and cycled until it was dark. We passed another cyclist who was looking for somewhere to stay despite carrying a light-weight tent with him. Why not camp?!