Thursday, May 7, 2015

Day 12 Clonmel to Portloise 107 km

Good morning.
Today we are heading to Portlaoise, getting close to home.
Finally got a text this morning detailing my Homestay. Portlaoise has been a problem from the start. But I think is a computer glitch more than anything else. But I'm glad to be sorted now. Lying her looking out the window at 6am, the weather looks to be not good again. But we will see.
Up and at 'em by 7
All the family are mustering, breakfast is on the go and Jimmy has them all rollin. I bring one of my shoes to shoes to show little Bill the cleat. Its a wow for him. Think Ive just sowed a seed in a potential Tour de France winner of the future;-D
The Guys
Porridge for starters, You want milk in your porridge John? thats weird! The old porridge debate continues.:-D
Big fry and then it all in the wagons for school and the start.
Jimmy says its going to be rain on rain today and I have a feeling he is not wrong. By the time we leave its starting and its a steady downpour as we arrive at the school.

What a day!!!
Down to the start line. The parents had supplied the most wonderful spread. Tea coffee sausage rolls, yogurts, cakes, energy bars, jellies the works. All donated free from local shops. Most wonderful generosity. Steady rain. I left my day bag under cover and when I returned it was in an inch of water. Mood was happy and looking forward to the send off. We knew it was going to be huge. Heading out we had a big cohort of students who were coming to Thurles with us. Rain was now heavy. Wind was headwind. Blowing hard. Got into a nice rhythm, chatting , marshaling, riding. We are used to the rainy now. Easy peezy!
Then it turned cold. Wind got up just a fraction more. Suddenly we were struggling!
We stopped at a garage for respite and sos beag. Mistake! Emergency foil blankets were handed out. Buses were offered to anyone who wanted to stop. Those who continued on were brave. Headed out again in the rain. Now cold had got into all of us. Students were falling back, riders were passing them out. what the f#‪#‎k‬ !!!
Individually we started picking them up. Tucking them in behind us or pushing them. They were suffering and so were we. When we mustered a grop we got them among us and shepherded them into Thurles, singing and shouting and keeping ourselves going. The guys were great. Shoulder to shoulder! We got ourselves home to a tumultuous welcome from 100's of students and townspeople with noise and balloons and cheering. All waiting in the rain.

After the lunch a decision was made to abandon the cycle for the day and we hurriedly and efficiently organised buses and 2/ 40ft trucks to transport everyone and bikes on to Portlaoise. A wise decision in the circumstances. About 25 of us decided to stay behind, load the bikes and bus to outside Portlaoise and cycle into the finish just to say 'we did it'. Cold wet weary and tired. But buoyed, we cycled into portlaoise.

What a day! We were lucky!
Homestay! Shower! Hot meal! Few beers with Niall and Edwina

Bring on tomorrow. A new day!

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