Friday, 23 June 2017

Mizen to Malin 2017

Night 1: Leg 1: Mizen to Schull

Day 1: Leg 2 Schull to Tralee

Kevin 12:21

Kevin 00:22

Tough enough day today. 140km to Tralee. 5.5 hours saddle time, but over 8 hours from start to finish. Lovely weather, lovely scenery. Two significant climbs, Caha pass and molls gap, but each of those is not steep and fairly steady. Just long. While 6 of us did a longer spin two weekends ago, we all felt grand after it. Made us all think we were sorted. But, same guys, me included, have fairly sore tired legs after today...not good!

Not a whole lot of craic after dinner tonight... Lots off to bed early, those that stayed were pretty quiet.

175km planned tomorrow to get to Galway, so it's new territory there. Must go to bed!

Day 2: Leg 3: Tralee to Galway

Kevin 08:06 

Heading out soon, heading for the ferry!

Kevin 16:05
Galway bay
Kevin 16.10 

Gorgeous... That cycle from Lahinch to here in Kinvara [inland] was one of the best ever...

Conor 22:09

Good day today. Left Tralee at 8:30 and were well on target for the ferry at Tarbert at 10:30. A puncture for one of the two lads with disc brakes meant it had to be fixed so we barely made it. Got off at Killimer and headed for Cooraclare and to Quilty. It was Wild Atlantic Way to Lahinch from there with a good breeze behind us. Lunch was at one of the lad's mother's house. We were of again by 2:00 and made our way through mid-Clare, Ennistymon, Kilfinora, etc to end up in Kinvara by 4:00. Time for a pint and we rolled out of there to Kilcolgan. From there it was a bit of a grind to Galway city and we arrived here at 5:40. 

Another big day awaits tomorrow!!

Preparation... And...nutrition! 😲

Day 3: Leg 4: Galway to Bundoran

Conor 20.10

Day 4: Leg 5: Bundoran to Malin

Conor 09:20
Getting there...

A few brief comments on yesterday's final stage. Kevin will have a different perspective as he is a fit as could be. 

The grand plan was to be in the road for 7:00 so that we would be finished by 3:00 - it didn't work out that way. The start was delayed to try and avoid rain but we were all fairly wet by the time we got to Donegal town. Barnesmore Gap was a grind but beautiful, even in poor enough weather. After the descent to Stranorlar and Ballybofey, the tone was set for the rest of the day as long drags started to feature - a killer after three long days (unless you are Kevin). In fact Kevin matched one of the Athlone dudes, Michael, whenever he felt like it. 

Ballybofey to Letterkenny was the worst of the weather so lunch at 10:45 was very welcome. Most lads did a near complete change of gear, especially top layers. Having that option highlighted the value of a support vehicle. From there to Buncrana was enjoyable as spirits were good. After coffee and the purchase of slabs of beer it was time to push on, on into a beautiful bog-land wilderness to Carndonagh. Sharon's sister, Michelle, gave us the lights as she passed us on the way to a call-out and Kevin had a lovely welcome from Maire and John McGeoghegan in Carndonagh who waited on the street to see us. 

The last leg was really scenic as the sun came out for us. We rolled along the coast before turning inland and up (some more) short steep ramps. Once we were within 5km we could see the tower at the headland so we pushed on in great spirits. One final push was needed to cover the last 500m as the road climbed steeply to the finish line at 4:20. I'm glad it wasn't a climb that I knew about as it was, at a guess, over 10% with a few bends at 15%. 

Cue great celebrations and relief and silly photos as we could finally say that the job was done. 
It sounds silly, but the return journey framed the achievement for me. I broke each day down into segments and tried to avoid the thoughts of long daily distances. It took a long time to get home and that's what made me realise, "Christ, this was a huge undertaking!" I got to bed at 2:30 but really glad to have knocked it off. I'm sore today, but the memories will live forever and the legs will be fine tomorrow.

The last few minutes of Mizen to Malin captured on Adrian's GoPro here! What a relief to get up that last steep little hill and see the painted "Start/Finish" on the ground! Kudos to all the team!

That's the elation at knocking it off! Bloody great day!
678 km, c. 5,500 m of vertical ascent.
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