Thursday, May 14, 2015

Day 14 Last Day Mullingar to Dublin 98km

Day 14 . Final day
Mullingar to Dublin 98km

Good morning on this 14th day of the Cycle Against Suicide. 
Mullingar to Dublin 98km
We had such an awesome greeting coming into Mullingar last evening, in the rain (it just couldn't stay away). The whole town must have been out. 
Our number has swollen to over 800 on the road, making the marshaling role much more difficult.  
We were stretched along the road for over a kilometer. Riders were in great form, the buzz was great, with everyone chatting and joking and laughing. The pace was good too and it was great cycling.
It's been a trip of many parts. Highs and lows!
The highs were many. Highest being when I got to cycle into Cork with my son Gavin. Our first cycle on the road. Shoulder to Shoulder.
The lows were many too. The weather was not our friend and the ride from Clonmel to Thurles was a worry. Not least for the young students who suffered the freezing wind and rain. When we had to abandon in Thurles for the day. But the token ride by 25 of us into Portlaoise, escorted by Garda cars, CAS lead car, flanked by 10 motorcycle outsiders and followed by the CAS bus was a real buzz.
But the people I met and the stories I listened to, both on the road and in the homestays, were all stories of loss and pain and sadness for lost people. Lost sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives. Pain and sadness that will not go away. Pent up pain.
People looking to the future and wondering why it had to be this way. If only!
But it's been a journey for me too and I think I'm a better man for it all.
But here we go!
Better get up and get on for the final spin into Dublin.
We are promised a good day, weather wise ( I don't know who promised it but I'll take that).
Numbers should be even bigger today and I hope we get into there safe tonight.
Remind me to tell you the story of Porridge sometime!
See you in Dublin

Leaving Mullingar with over 1000 riders was both exhilarating and worrying. Lots of students and other inexperienced riders who will together with the prima donna's be angling for photo opportunities maybe at the expense of safety. 
Anyway! nothing to be done but enjoy the trip and do the best we can at keeping everyone safe. Out of Mullingar I recall the times we used to come here to Lakeside Wheelers sportive, Tour of the Lakes. That was a nice spin. This time we are down the duel carriageway for some miles before we get onto quieter roads. Stretching for miles 2 x 2. A sight to see. marshalling is great cause I get the opportunity to stretch my legs by kicking it on up, if I feel like it.
Johnstown Bridge is our lunch stop where the local people have mountains of food. Goodie bags of sandwiches, water, a cake and a bar. All delivered with military precision together with tea and coffee to 1000 + in jig time. Magnificent! In beautiful surroundings.
More crew meetings to monitor how we are going and making sure all bases are covered . Its a tribute to the event director.
Moving off then our next port of call is Intel in Leixlip where we are given some fruit and its a time for group photos and making sure you have that pic with your new friends.
Now they are really cranking it up. Superintendant of Dublin traffic is here motor cycle outriders from the Gardai squad cars to lead us through Dublin and a overhead helicopter. Final instructions on M50 interchange, Luas line, we are taking over the North Quays 8 abreast down to O Connell Bridge, Custom House, across the Liffey, Merrion Square , across the canal to the RDS and on to RTE.
We are trying to get there by 10 to 6 so we can be on the news!
Rock on!
It all works like a dream . the reception all the way is great and when we hit the North Quays we are all at fever pitch. whistles are going, sirens are blaring, lights are flashing, cheering and whooping is magic. We have the road  .
At RTE we have arrived a few minutes ahead of time and we are on the 6 o clock news. Hugs a greetings all round, promises of next year and all around. 
Sean has come in to take me home again. It seems ages and a moment ago that he got me here and its great to see him. The adrenaline is flowing and I havent come in to land yet

Johnstown Bridge

. Sean seems to sense that in me and follows me around giving me the freedom to do what ever it is I need to do.
Unload my bags for the last time from the trucks and head for the car with Sean.
A wonderful journey. comes to an end.

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