The full story – the boys set off about 9 and made good time throughout the day, lunchingat Ballybofey. First and only puncture at Buncrana meant a slight delay and no cake! Life can be cruel as the village of Malin arrives but you then have about 9 more miles to Malin Head. As you can see from the photos, it was dusk when our brave boys arrived at the finish, completely done in but exhilarated at the same time – it was very moving to watch. Pete has got through lung cancer and a severe stroke. Steve has had two hip replacements and has been the most fantastic support for Pete. I might have had something in my eye……🚴🏻♂️🚴🏻♂️👏👏👏👏👏👏
Revived by steak, onion rings and Guinness, one was tucked up in bed by 9.45 and the other off to watch the Anthony Joshua fight – I wonder if you can guess which was which?
Such an amazing achievement for them both – if you haven’t sponsored them so far the links are below. New life charity supports premature babies, ATE provides lunches and business help for poverty stricken in Ghana and the Stroke Association helps survivors and their families.
Pete and Steve did brilliantly today. Set off from Westport about 8.45 and have ridden through showers and sunshine with gusty winds (running out of descriptions of blowy etc). They managed 28 miles before stopping for coffee and 71 before lunch at Sligo – impressive. Steve reckons their average speed was 13.3 mph today. They made it to Bundoran just before 7pm, very pleased with themselves and looking forward to a hot bath and a steak dinner, washed down with Guinness of course! Unbelievably it is the last day of cycling tomorrow – 91 miles to Malin Head. We have stopped looking at the weather forecast!
Those of you thinking that these place names sound romantic and attractive, beware! Whilst Westport was a pretty town, Bundoran is most definitely not – a seaside resort stuck in the 1940s with the aroma of chip fat, fag ash and wee. Rosemarie used to come here as a child and was heartbroken to see it like this and not as she remembered it. We will not be returning……
Tomorrow takes us through Donegal so expect us all to return in fetching tweeds.
Good start to the day – although it was a bit grey and and overcast, it wasn’t raining or windy, and the route turned out to be less hilly than the last few days. There were more cyclists out and about, but not many heading in our direction.
The scenery is stunning – coastal views and inland lakes, heather hills and flocks of sheep. The roads are good and there is not that much traffic. Stopped for lunch at Clifden, quite a big town, and we had cycled roughly 60 miles to get to this point. A triple decker sandwich was soon consumed and we set off for the next leg to Westport. The weather was more changeable in the afternoon, and we were on a mission – Steve’s great auntie Mary Coyne’s resting place is in a cemetery near Letterfrack – it was actually on a hillside overlooking Baugone and took some detective work and a bit of luck to find. Steve had to use his best donkey herding skills to clear the road. Auntie Mary has a fine outlook and Steve was very chuffed to find her!
After this it was onwards to Westport and it was relatively late (almost 7) by the time we got there but all in one piece. Total cycled today was over 90 miles (can’t be completely accurate because someone turned the Strava off by mistake!) So, over halfway now and heading for Bundoran tomorrow – about 85 miles we think. Weather forecast not particularly promising but we’ll see.
P.S. There was cake and lots of it but Pete wolfed it down too quickly for a photo!
Day 3 has been very peculiar – Storm Ali arrived as promised and the winds were too strong to cycle safely so decided on a later breakfast and a reassessment. Set off from Kilrush about 10.30 and drove for 30 miles before stopping for coffee in Ennistimon. It was further inland so not quite so blowy and they set off about 12.30 in brighter skies and with good spirits – there was a limit to how much of our singing they could stomach.
They made good time to Kilvarra and then pressed on to Oranmore, making the most of the following wind. After here they hit Storm Ali and had to deal with rain, hail and strong headwinds so went considerably more slowly for a few miles. Arrived in Galway about 5.30 in good spirits and all in on piece still. They have cycled about 45 miles today although it felt like much more. Average speed was 13 mph although this did rise to 20mph at times! Bradley Hoy-Willetts is currently working on how to make up the mileage in the next few days but this will depend on the weather. It is still very windy and wet and the forecast for tomorrow is more of the same. Still, they are very encouraged by people’s donations and will be working hard tomorrow.
Meanwhile, for the ladies – much excitement for Penny at the Burren – a geographical feature par excellence, a herd of cows, a perfumery and a chocolate shop. The aroma in the car is definitely ‘Eau de Mamil’ and no amount of open windows seems to cure it.
Day 2 and we rode 91 miles today, mostly in the dry and often in the sun, although still quite blustery. Rode from Kenmare to Killarney and then lunch at Tralee. Ferry trip to cross the Shannon at Tarbert, a 20 minute ride. Overall it was 4250 feet elevation and an average speed of 13.6 mph. Not many other cyclists about, but they had to stop for some deer crossing and more jelly beans (Steve’s sugar rush of choice). After a quick shower, off to Crotty’s pub in Kilrush for a restorative Guinness and a juicy steak. Not thinking about Storm Ali coming in overnight….
So far so good, although not without minor dramas. Due to roadworks on the M4 Steve and Rosemarie made it to the ferry with the bikes and the luggage by the skin of their teeth – good job as there was no plan B. Meanwhile Pete and I were quaffing cake and bubbly at his Auntie Pam’s 90th. No dramas with the flight to Cork. Woke to ‘dreich’ weather but not actually raining or cold. Drove to Mizen Head which was VERY blustery and the boys set off about 11.30. Steve sustained the first bruising of the trip by walking into a bollard whilst looking at the view! The first half of the ride was about 25 miles to Bantry where we had a good lunch at the Box of Frogs café.
Then a much hillier and wetter ride to Kenmare – about 30 miles so 55 miles in total. As Steve said ‘ a ride of two halves’. Still raining now – I believe it’s called soft weather over here – but hoping it will be clear tomorrow and that hurricane Helene will pass overnight. Meanwhile we are off to the laundrette to dry stuff off for tomorrow. We plan to do 80 miles tomorrow to Kilrush.
It’s the last few days before my ride and I’m feeling good, although I haven’t done as many miles as I had intended. I went 41 miles to Pewsey and back, and last week cycled to my son Tom’s in Didcot and back – that was 61 miles and nearly 3,000 feet elevation. I was going to cycle to my daughter Sophie’s house in Kent (that would have been 95 miles one way) but I had a gear problem with my bike that has been rumbling on for about 3 weeks – I haven’t been able to get into high gears. Thanks to Sean and (finally) the local bike shop, it is now resolved. I still went to Sophie’s by car but dug her garden and walked the dog instead.
We are now ready for the off, although the travel arrangements are a bit complex – Penny and I are going via my aunt’s 90th birthday in Birmingham, and we are flying from Birmingham to Cork whilst Rosemarie Derrick and Steve Tippins are driving to Fishguard, complete with bike carrier, for the ferry to Rosslare. We will meet up in Cork on Sunday night if everything goes to plan.
You can check out my training rides and routes on Strava: