M2M 2016 - Day 1 - Donie's Diary, Brendan's Blog
Day One on the Mizen to Malin Cycle. Early Start. Glorious weather. Donie tells all!
What an unbelievable day. 50 cyclists assembled in the club at 5 20 this morning, quick photo then on the road at 5 30. We stopped on the far side of Cork for breakfast at 9 and then on to Mizen Head, arriving just before noon. Bomber, our great leader had divided us up into 3 groups, so the plan was to get ourselves all organised and get group 1 on the road as quick as possible, to be followed by group 2 about half an hour later and then the last group in due course.
We had all loaded our bikes into a van in the club on Tuesday evening and they travelled down that evening to Cork and then out to Mizen this morning where they were all waiting for us when we arrived.
At 1 o clock it was time for a quick group photo and then away with group 1, photo taken and guess what ?......last time we did this one guy got a puncture even before we started.....this time 2 punctures and a broken chain before they had even left the carpark. Rapid repairs and plenty of help from all and they were on the road in no time. Fair play to Frances Mullin who obviously had been paying close attention at the "bike repair workshop" organised by Kevin Mulligan earlier this year. Group 2 headed off when it was their turn and then myself and 12 others finally hit the road. It was now about 20 degrees with perfectly blue skies. Kevin Coakley having a little local knowledge took us on a little detour, turning right after the Barley cove hotel and into Goleen the back way, the scenery down there was incredible, the bluest sea I've ever seen in Ireland and just picture like landscape.
All three groups made good progress from here and we met up in Glengarriff for a quick coffee. Myself and Fionnan and Mick Culligan let our group go ahead and we waited after everyone had left for a while so that we could help if there were any stragglers, as the Caha pass awaited everyone on leaving Glengarriff, a testing 9km climb to the tunnel at the top and the only straggler to be found was probably me, trying to keep up with the two boys!! When we reached the top there were no cyclists to be seen, testament to all the hard training put in by everyone over the last 10 months.
Into Kenmare from here and we met up with about 14 of the gang. Now up the 14km climb to Moll’s gap where we were led up all the way by Anne Campbell, she even beat her other half Hugh to the top !! Now there is a rumour going around that when my original group were heading up at a considerable pace earlier, Louis caught a virus, it was a very strange one because the closer he got to the top the worse it got, which culminated in some loud heaving sounds from behind a parked car that amazingly seemed to kill the virus instantly!! It’s also the reason Louis isn’t in his group summit photo and why his supposed teammates are all smiling from ear to ear in!
We all flew down from here into Killarney, led ably by Ronnie Murray and Niall Healy, it was 9 o clock before everyone had arrived safely and a long time since the 4 30 am start this morning. Quick bit of dinner and straight to bed for "most" people.
I think that was the most glorious day’s cycling I've ever spent in Ireland and the forecast is as good again for tomorrow. At this point I’d like to commiserate with Kevin Bannon who has been paired with my old roommate of the last two trips, Mark'the snorer'Cregg. I guarantee you the eyes will be hanging out of Kevin's head at breakfast in the morning. My new roomie is Pat Burke, a super servant to Kilmacud Crokes football, not a bad cyclist and also from the Banner County where we're heading tomorrow. Pat's a guy I've always admired, so Jeysus, please please don't let him be a snorer!!
Here's to day 2 and more sunshine and scenery!!
M2M - Wednesday
4.30am out of bed thanks Billy for the lift to the club. A lot of giddy excitement down there.
5.30am. Could almost have travelled to New York in the same time. Well as we arrive here in Mizen next stop actually is New York.
So Ireland is measured at its longest length from Mizen Head right up to Malin, hence the journey
Great to be on the road and getting started.
Big thank you to Olive, Ciaran, Aoibhe and Anna. Not just about this week. Their patience since October last. Every Saturday morning. Even out cycling on my wedding anniversary a few weeks ago. Thank you, thank you. Will make it up.
Our training done, time to go.
Room sharing – see how that goes, myself and Liam O'Carroll. By the way is our Group captain too. We seem to be a strong team.
Mizen Head – never been here before and what a unique and spectacular place. And spectacular for me too after a delayed start 100 metres up the hill I have a blow out on the rear. Unfortunately G McGrath got a bit excited blowing up my tyres. Thanks to the repair crew you were patient and 20 minutes later we were off again. Special thanks to Pat Murphy.
So DAY-1 – Mizen Head to Killarney
Oh and what a journey today. Through Bantry onto Glengarriff, over the Caha Pass into Kenmare, straight to Moll’s Gap and rolled home to Killarney I’ll never forget that descent; pure freedom !!
So who was Moll? Well Moll Kissane who ran an illegal brewhouse, famous for making poitin. Can see why they would have needed a drop as they journeyed through that Gap!
So into Killarney still in one piece. Will be plenty of tired bodies tonight and we go again at 7am in the morning. We journey tomorrow across the ferry and into Clare and up to Ennistymon. Some of them wanting to go to Lisdoonvarna, good luck with that. A final thanks to our crew Gerry Park and Vinnie Patterson today. Mick Hynes apparently managing the breakfast schedule. What a man! If we could bottle his attitude we’d all do well. Good night. Liam starting to snore a little now....