M2M - the Final Day - Brendan's Blog, Donie's Diary, Shona's Video!
After a great cycle from M to M, 50 hardy cyclists made it home safely for a deserved break - before they do it all again in 2018!! Read Brendan's and Donie's final thoughts and see the final push on Video!!
The Final push!
Shona Burke caught the final moments, excitement and spirit of the 2016 M2M cycle brilliantly, as the hardy cyclists reached their goal at Malin Head....
I've done this twice before but I've never experienced anything like I did today. I really don't know where to start. With Mark and Kevin getting on, there’s little to report on the domestic front....unfortunately.
Day 5 began as usual with each of the groups heading off at their allotted times, this is always the easiest day because you know it's finally going to end no matter what happens. Weather was very warm with the sun doing it's best to break through. It’s amazing to see how each of the groups have gelled together, people who had hardly known each other a few weeks ago were now like best friends and working together as a well-oiled team. I've watched people who hadn't ridden a bike since they were in school, now leading out a group of 20+ cyclists with total confidence.
Having left Ballybofey on time we headed for Buncrana where we had lunch. The gaps in the arrival times was now down to virtually nothing as everybody gets stronger and stronger. From here we all headed for Malin village which is about 12km from Malin head. It’s amazing how patterns emerge as the 5 days progress. After each stop, in our group, Louis and Ronan were always last to be ready to resume. In the carpark in Buncrana I watched an elderly couple studying all the goings on as we tried to get each group back on the road, I could see that without asking, they had figured out what we were doing. As usual Ronan was late and Kevin Coakley was shouting 'where's the goat, where’s the goat?" i could see the look of horror on the old lady's face as she said to her husband “they’re bringing a goat!!”
I shouldn't really mention names because I’m bound to forget someone but a few people need to be thanked, The Bomber, just for being the Bomber. Liam o Carroll for the incredible way he organised his group. Dave 'bradley' Byrne and Kevin Mulligan for all the training runs since last November. The M2M committee behind the whole event and most of all our support crew which had to be made bigger this year because of the larger numbers, Liam o Flaherty and Mick Carolan in one van, Gerry Park and Vinny Patterson in van 2, Danny Ryan and Mick Hynes in the jeep and Christy and Dave on the bikes and not to forget the best ever non snoring roomie Pat....sorry, Patrick Burke!!
Now....Malin village. All 50 cyclists plus Arnie Hill (not bad on a bike) met up at the green in the village. Some family members of the lads were also here. The faster group headed off first followed by the two other groups for the final part of a fantastic journey. The last 200mts up to the head is extremely steep and today as the weather was so good it was really busy with cars and people. My group were first to go for it, 14 in the group of which 8 had done it before. We split the group about 500mt from the end and the guys who had done it before went up first, when we got to the top we dumped our bikes and went to cheer the rest of our group as they arrived up. At this stage we could see the next group starting their assent, they did the same with the veterans going up first and then cheering up their team mates. We now had about 30 of the team at the summit with the remaining group preparing for their assent. There was a massive buzz at the top now with even the tourists getting on board. The final 50mt was lined with cyclists dressed in red and white and when the Bomber and the 6 ladies that were with us came around the final bend the whole place went ballistic, Bomber led the girls up and as each of the group arrived it just got better and better.49 and Arnie up just Ronnie Murray left ,everyone was screaming 'Ronnie Ronnie' and even the tourists who'd never seen him before were getting in on the act. I’ve had some great days with this club but i can't remember anything like when Ronnie came around that final bend!!!
Photos, hugs, kisses and maybe a few tears after what has been a brilliant 5 days. We went to a pub nearby to load our bikes onto the van and in for a quickie, which turned into a longy, an hour later Liam o Carroll is blasting out 'the ol' triangle" perfect start to a long night. Bus back to Buncrana where we had a great night.
Every time I do this it just gets better, what I honestly thought couldn't be surpassed last time has been completely steamrolled. Bring on 2018!!!
Kevin Bannon is looking forward to a decent night’s kip on Monday where he can dream of every cyclist’s greatest fears, potholes....cat’s-eyes...and the long-term effects of gluten free porridge on your skin.
The final day that brought us past Letterkenny, onward to Buncrana, starting the Inishowen peninsula, up to Carndonagh and then across those stunning sights to Malin village firstly and finally Malin Head.
Luke Skywalker did well to get away from Malin a couple of weeks back before this lot arrived.
The hills of Donegal, stunning sights a fitting location to end this great journey. And the highest climb of all that final 500m to the top of Malin Head. What a memorable finish our Group in last cheered on by our own colleagues, families and friends. We discovered many different personalities, wannabes in our own group over the week. It would take me too long to go through them all in detail (maybe some other day). But another shone through yesterday Ronnie Murray. Who will ever forget his arrival, it epitomises what this trip was all about. Great heart and spirit to stay at it and a team effort through and through.
To me it evidenced "The Power of the Group" in anything you do will always deliver greater outcomes. All bringing different skills and talents to it. Some are experts at fixing punctures, some are great leaders, some great singers, motivators and hard workers.
Our crew did a lot of unnoticed hard work all week, Danny, Mick, Michael, Liam, Gerry and Vinnie and of course our outrider Dave.
As for singers Liam O' Carroll led it beautifully and his rendition of the "Dublin saunter" was memorable. Also Mick Durcan on his guitar and Mark Cregg so good to sing it out.
The final word has to go to "The Bomber". His leadership and attention to detail and handling the difficult ones, a masterclass. And of course the committee you all know who you are.
And for those wannabes out there toying with idea of cycling a bit and perhaps this event, go for it you won't regret it.
So the goodbyes and the journey back to Glenalbyn. We have loads of goodwill and feel good to bring back to our families and daily lives.
Days 1, 2, 3 and 4
Did you miss the wonderful accounts and photos of the previous days on M2M 2016? Well why not click here and all will be revealed!
M2M 2016 - Final Day