Sunday 24 June 2018

TransAtlantic Way Cycle Race Day 8

The Force was definitely with us this day. Hmm, but so was the Dark Side.
Day 8 was an almost perfect day. It was certainly packed with adventure and 'happenings'. Sure enough, however, amongst the many highs there were a few lows too. 
We were largely covered in midge bites by now (and Jamie mosquito bites too). My head was aching bad and acted a long time before it eased. Maybe it was the Guinness and a bit of dehydration?! My head-space was fine though, my senses were buzzing with the beauty of Ireland.
Early on in our cycle today we had an absolutely delightful climb. It looked harder on paper than it actually was. This was a long, slow, steady climb up Connor Pass. Great climbing, great weather (real hot and sunny), great company and great adventure!
Didn't stop to take any pictures until I had reached the summit. The summit was awesome and blew my mind again. We chatted to a whole bunch of folk at the top and shared a number of cycling related stories.
 Then we zoomed down like crazy. Whoosh! Super fast descent. Living the dream.
Once at the bottom, we were hungry. This was soon fixed as we spotted an Aldi store. One should never shop when hungry - we purchased so much food. We ate so much food too! Ha! We were becoming great at picnic planning.
After our picnic we continued cycling and headed for the beautiful Ring of Kerry. This was a lovely loop which I believe everyone described as awesome or beautiful. One person commented it offered the best views in the whole of Ireland. I'm sure my buddy Mike Creighton would agree.
The good...
...or the evil.
Which path will you choose?
Star Wars was such a big thing in Ireland. It came as no surprise, Ireland really was far out. The Yoda and Darth Vader figures we saw were actually made from tyres - how cool is that?!
So many beautiful sights we just had to keep stopping and taking pics. No surprises why'd folk would want to make movies in Ireland. Good job we weren't racing in this race.
Have always loved the coast. Right now, I was in love with the Irish coast. Have long loved cycling too. So, cycling the Irish coast was like a dream come true.
The many shades of green and blue we saw was un-true. It always appeared ever changing too. Ireland was very different from one moment till the next.
Some of the walled coastal rides reminded me of cycling the Torino-Nice rally as it looked and felt quite similar. Good job the heavy wind had now passed. This was clearly some of the best cycling I have done to date.
Selfie time
After a loop of Kerry's ring, we stopped at ate the most delicious ice cream and carrot cake. What could possibly go wrong? You got it - another broken spoke. Arghh! This was becoming the norm, even so, it induced a little anxiety and frustration. What could we do but cycle on.
As we cycled on we continued to see some lovely scenery. The skies darkened and looked angry. And then, wow, we saw a most amazing rainbow. Hard to believe so much adventure was had and happening all the while.
Day 8 (180k)
We stopped at a pub where a local band was playing which seemed to draw bus loads of folk in from near and far. It was interesting having conversations with folk who just couldn't comprehend that we had no firm plans (in fact no idea) where we cycle to tonight and where we would stop and sleep. All seemed pretty amazed that our route was heading for some big hills too.
Climbing the big hills was great. Very quiet on the whole, picturesque mountains and lakes and roads with lots of switch-backs. The only negativity was my broken wheel.

Once it had turned dark, cycling became a little more difficult. Neither of us wanted to stop as we wanted to make up some distance. However, we were now cycling a lot of single-track with sharp climbs and steep descents on gravel type tracks. Harder (and slower) to navigate in the dark. Still, we continued and looked for a place to wild camp. In the dark, I was seeing all sort of strange illusions caused by our lighting. We spotted a barn which turned out to be a 'poo shed', we used this as a (kinda) convenient place to snack. Then we headed back into the dark and descended some scary track. I think both Jamie and I had near misses with crashing into the hedge.
Then, before we could say 'jolly hockey sticks' we were back on smooth tarmac roads and better yet we were next to a church. All churches the far had been locked at night. Figured I'd try the handle away and bonus! Boom, the church door opened. Better yet, the inner doors opened too. So pleased we both were. Our bikes were taken inside and it didn't take long for me to set up a place to sleep between the pews.
Jamie slept in the centre isle. This was just perfect. It was warm and dry and we didn't even have to use our bivvy's. I hung all my clothing out as the church appeared a great place to air all my gear.
Only a life size poster of the pope waving at me from the right hand side of the wall freaked me out. Otherwise we had a perfect wild camp spot, probably the best of this whole adventure. Ok, so my mattress deflated again but otherwise thumbs up big time!

1 comment:

  1. wow these locations are awesome i like them. these is allot of natural beauty.
    meet and greet parking luton


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