Monday, May 4, 2015

Day 8 Tralee to Bantry 120km Monday 4th July.

Had a good nights sleep in the hotel and get myself organised and repacked. After a leisurely breakfast I called a taxi from the hotel to get me to the start. The driver asked me if the route was a secret today. I was curious when he said no one seemed to know. He has been ferrying riders to the start line all morning and there is sure to be a big influx of riders today. It being Tralee, Jim Breen's home town. We did have a larger number this morning and before we had the morning safety briefing for all the riders we paid tribute to Aidan, with a minutes silence. A motor bike out rider who had worked for CAS in the past and was a bike Marshall on some of our club sportives back in Naas. Aidan was killed yesterday not far from Tralee while on a charity motor bike ride. RIP.

This in mind we were advised that today was going to be a hard and long day, the longest of the 2 weeks. 120km and a lot of climbing. Something we are not used to on this trip. We are  told we were going over the Caha pass between Tralee and Glengarrif. That's what they weren't telling us.
I was now marshalling on the trip and all the marshalls had a meeting about what to expect. Ride 2 abreast shoulder to shoulder into the left. No breaking the white line under any circumstances and help struggling riders where we can and watch out for each other. Punctures and mechanicals were not to be fixed on the road. Wait for the bus and sweep wagon and get in. No exceptions!
Rolling out of Tralee and heading for our first stop in Killarney. Beautiful morning, sun shining . Forecast was right! Maybe we will get a good day for a change.
It was an uneventful ride to Killarney. Everyone enjoying the nice weather and the cycling was apace. The lead car must have been told to kick it up a bit as its is now more enjoyable. Less bunching and everyone up for the ride. We hit Killarney to another great welcome in jig time and stop at the Kerry Coach head office ( Kerry Coaches were the sponsor of all our coaches). Food and some photos and then we are off on the next leg.
As we left Killarney, the skies opened and it poured on us for over an hour. So what's new! Soaked to the skin again....!! Downcast we plodded on to Kenmare.
In Kenmare I was lucky.  I had opted to put a complete dry change of clothes into my day bag the night before and changed as soon as I got under cover and was comfortable for the food stop. I was asked to do Marshall for the rest of the trip cause more help was needed with the larger numbers. It's great to get the power back ;-))
The climb was ok , some struggled but we could help the weaker riders and it felt good. We have about 600 on the ride today.
What a beautiful part of the world this is. The scenery going over the pass is stunning and with everyone spread out over a distance on the climb we stop to regroup near the top. Rain has stopped now and it wild and beautiful all around us.
Cresting the pass there is a fantastic descent of about 10km into Glengarrif, Exhilaration! Then the final push for Bantry Bay.
The ride finished with 2 God-awful steep little climbs up towards Bantry school where we parked up our bikes, got some food and sorted our homestay.
There is 3 of us being looked after by Rita and Rob in their home.
Such a welcome shower, nice few beers and some great craic and food cooked by Rob.
Bed now. Tomorrow will see us to Skibereen via mizen head and Clonakilty.
Gavin is meeting me in Clonakilty and will ride with me into Cork for dinner, a birthday party for him and Emily ( her birthday in 2 weeks). Can't wait for that.
Sleep/ dream time now.

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