Kilmacud Crokes / BCI Nissan M2M 2022 Donie's Blog Day 1

Well folks I really can't believe that we're back doing this again,having had to cancel 2020 and 2021 for the obvious reasons. BCI breast cancer Ireland and my favourite GAA club Kilmacud Crokes  are the 2 beneficiaries of all the money we will raise . As important as both are, and all the cyclists have done massive work in that respect(over €110,000 , on Eventmaster already and loads more by different means),this week is all about the cycling !!

Up this morning at 4 15am and departed the club at 5am ,exactly on time,in 2 buses.78 cyclists,yes 78 !! An incredible number of people  willing to do this very generous event,most we've ever had. We stopped in Skibbereen for breakfast, which was great and then swiftly on to Mizen head to start cycling. Our bikes and all our support crew were waiting there for us . We have 4 vans,1 jeep and 3 experienced motor cyclists, to hopfully get us all safely to Malin head on Sunday. 

We have 4 groups but today we also had a group of about 12 or so who had made their own way down with there bikes the day before, so they could start earlier and avoid sitting on the bus for 6hrs . Today was also probably going to be the toughest day as we have 120km to cycle and 2 small mountains to negotiate, the Caha pass and Molls gap.

So....even though I didn't cycle much last year ,I've somehow ended up in group 1 for my sins. Now group 1 don't follow the set route all the time and even though today was already a tough one our leader Kevin Coakley had other plans. Kev is from Cork ,and a good friend,so I trusted him to look after us well,specially as we were actually in Cork. His plan was to cut out going over the Caha pass(which I loved !!) But unfortunately head out the Beara peninsula and go over the Healy pass instead(which i didnt love !!) An extra 30km and a much higher climb. With 19 cyclists in our group Kev split us into 2 sub groups as the roads around there were quite narrow and busy enough. Kev took 1 group and Dave (Bradley) Byrne took the one I was in. Bradley was brilliant,led with authority and composure ,which must have upset Kev because when his group detoured into Bantry to get a minor mechanical repair he got lost as they tried to return to the main route(yes the Cork !!) Probably just a one off.

Anyway on to and over the Healy pass which I found difficult because of the pace being set by the front runners,I wasn't first or second up and thanks to Don o Shea and Pat Cunningham I wasn't last a whisker ! Special mention to Linda Thormey who unknowingly did it all in the big ring(not easy). Anyway down the other side and Kev had a plan to bring us through  Tuosist which was a shorter route to Kenmare but again he couldn't figure the exact route and in the end Bradley stepped in and decided the best way was to follow the main road which we did in the end,much to Kev's disgust. On from Kenmare ,over Molls gap and down into Killarney ,arriving at 19 45. Tensions rising a little bit in the group but im sure everything will be fine tomorrow when Kev leads us into Clare for more fun and games,sure what could go wrong ?Dinner was at 8 so a quick shower and down to the dining room. I was absolutely wrecked and a little bit worried about tomorrow till I met Pat Burke and Bart o Conner at the dinner table, Burkie hardly knew his own name and was catching 40 winks between courses and Bart couldn't even operate his knife and fork safely, eventually we had to give him a spoon to finish his dinner as Burkie kept falling on him as he grabbed another 40 winks !! Maybe a slightly slower pace tomorrow Kev !!

Anyway,on to more important things of the trip,chances are that you will fall out with one person during the 5 days.....Your Roomate !!

We have 3 types of Roomate and they're all difficult to endure. Number 1,is the double bed snatcher,on arrival each day he gets the key from reception and immediately occupies the double bed in the room,bags laptop,jocks,he's only short of having his bike there too !!

Number 2, the bag emptier,we're only permitted a small bag and a smaller shoulder bag but somehow this guy manages to get every item from the bags flung all over the room,the dressing table the wardrobe even all over the bath !!

Number 3, the snorer (my absolute greatest nightmare) the snorer is the most common on these trips and has almost ended in punch ups by the last night !!

I've mellowed a lot over the last 2 years,so I'm not going to pass judgement yet......but I'm back rooming again with Mark (the srorer) Cregg and maybe he's mellowed too,although the room is quite tidy and I'm in the double bed,so let's just wait and see,all quiet at the moment  !!

Another busy day tomorrow, up at 6 45 and on the road by 8. First stop a photo shoot at a Nissan garage in Tralee(generous sponsors ) then down to the ferry to take us over to county Clare and up to Lahinch for the night. Think Kev should be able to manage that !! Talk tomorrow,