As I write this blog, a few teams have dropped out of the Race Around Ireland. I assume it is because of commitments to training or the difficulty of getting a crew together, but as Mick stated in the last blog, our crew are willing and able. Preparations are going well, with Jarlath doing Trojan work on the paperwork required, Hugh, Ciaran, Jimmy and Vinny in Enniscorthy doing all they can with vehicle preparation, while Mick and I are kitting out the vans and still trying to sort sponsorship and get ready for the big August bank holiday charity fundraising event in Bunclody. We hope to raise a substantial amount of money via a street collection in the town and will be leaning on family members and Racing795 club members to do a timeslot of collecting over the Bank Holiday weekend.
So what about the training – well it has been going well, hence the missing blog for May and June’s blog being a little late going to post! We decided to reccie the whole route – all 2150km (with 20000m of climbing), so we covered the section from New Ross to Bunclody (via Wexford Town) in one weekend, did from Bunclody to Trim over two weekends and then the big one – from Trim to Cork over 5 consecutive days, where we alternated between driving and cycling with accommodation booked in Burnfoot, Ballina, Cooraclare, Kenmare over 4 nights. Our respective stage lengths vary between 110-125km with on average 1100m of climbing, so we covered two stages on one day, followed by one stage the following day and so each of us completed 780km during those 5 days. All was surprising good, bar the rear ends – think Japanese flag!
We met some great people along the way and would like to thank all of them sincerely:
- Micky in the Glenview Lodge B&B was fantastic and couldn’t do enough for us – he even drove after us to the local bike shop (which he recommended) to return a foam roller that Mick left behind, not to mention making me a late fry after I cycled back from Malin Head).
- A local lady stopped to give me a lift (following a mechanical where I broke a spoke having descended off Malin Head) to the top of the next hill, so I could get mobile coverage.
- Jarlath and Johnny of the Bike Shop for helping locate a good bike shop to repair my rear wheel following the broken spoke.
- All the staff in Gerry’s Bike Shop in Sligo – particularly Oisin who repaired my spoke there and then and realigned the wheel. I couldn’t recommend this shop enough and will be back. I picked up some luminous rainproof covers there as it was chucking it down that day and visibility was terrible! More on that later!
- The staff in the Great National Hotel in Ballina, particularly the staff in the leisure centre who were so helpful
- The lady in Tubridy House B&B in Cooraclare who got up at 6.30am to have our breakfast ready
- The lady of the house in Muxnaw Lodge, for her kindness and helpfulness. This was pleasantly surprising, as a previous BnB experience in Kenmare was not a good one!
We were lucky with the weather and bar Tuesday – you wouldn’t put out the neighbours bucket in it! So Tuesday afternoon until nightfall was the worst weather conditions I ever cycled in. Mick covering Burnfoot to Beleek got drowned and it rained so hard, he couldn’t take out his phone to ring me to find location of the car! I got delayed due to a drive to Sligo and back to Beleek for spoke fixing, got wet to the skin after 5 minutes but had to face 4 hours of this until darkness got the better of me and had to ring Mick to collect me on the main road into Ballina. The next three days were glorious and we cycled in parts of Ireland that were truly stunning – Timealogue in particular was memorable, whereas Mick encountered some lovely views in Mizen Head! We achieved a lot over the week, from changeover locations chosen to roles becoming more clearly defined for our crew and shower facilities sourced along the route. Currently training consists of 5am starts and 10pm finishes to avoid cycling for 4 hours in the current heat. Who would have thought when we were cycling in the snow in March, that we would be avoiding the sun in July!
A quick thank you to all our sponsors as every little bit helps – Lismard Developments, JF Sports, Kalas, See Sense, Wexford County Council, Turnstall Emergency Response, Roadstone, Pettitt’s Supervalue, G2 Engineering, Sportsphysio & Performance and Burke Sports Injury and Rehab Clinic
Thanks for reading and please support Wexford Hospice Homecare via the bucket collection in Bunclody on the August Bank Holiday or online