We started off by getting our bikes collected by Philip Lonergan and being brought to Malin Head. We would have been lost without Philips "Big Yellow Taxi". We were then collected the following morning by bus at the horse and jockey and brought up to Ballyliffen Co. Donegal, where we stayed the night. The following morning we left Malin head, in conditions that were cold and wintery. We were separated into 6 groups consisting of 21-23k average,23-25k average and 25k+ average. Group 1(21-23k) set off first followed by group 2(25k+) and then groups 3,4,5 and 6. John Mac and Brian Canny were in Group 4 along with some of our close neighbours, the Raparees.
Day 1, We made our way from Malin head and went through Muff, Londonderry, Strabane, Newtownstewart(food stop), Omagh, Irvinestown and finished day one in Enniskillen. Our average pace for the day was just under 28kph for 150k.
Day 2, we left Enniskillen and made our way towards Cavan town where we had the first food stop of the day after 50km, via Derrylin, Belturbet. We then proceeded to Ballinagh, Granard, Edgeworthstown and Ballymahon we our second food stop was located after 112k. Then it was onto Athlone, Ballynahown, Ferbane, Cloghan and finishing at the County Arms,Birr. A long day on the bike but spirits were high after doing 180km at about 28kph.
Day 3- The legs were stiff to start off with after the day before but after a couple of kilometres they loosen out and the weather was fantastic with sun shining and a breeze at out back for most of spin. We left Birr and made our way towards Roscrea and Templemore and had first food stop in Thurles. We were in familiar territory at this stage as we proceeded towards Horse and Jockey and onto old Dublin road towards Cashel. Cashel, New Inn, bypass Cahir and down to Kilbehenny where a large crowd had gathered and a well deserved food stop at 113km. Kilbehenny to Mitchelstown where all six groups of cyclists met at the Firgrove Hotel and then into Mitchelstown Square where we were greeted by a large crowd of supporters and the organisers were in a position to stand on stage and thank everyone for there generous donation. All the cyclist left the square shortly afterwards and headed in the direction of Fermoy. A short stop in Fermoy and then the groups separated again for the rest of the journey to Laya health care outside cork city, via Rathcormac and Watergrasshill. About 170km with the average pace about the same as last two days.
Day 4- Started off good but as day went on I couldn't wait to finish and get off the bike. We got Garda escort through Cork City as all groups were together and we separated into our individual groups again outside the city. Lovely climb outside city and made our way through Inishannon and onto Bandon where our food stop was located in a petrol station on top of the hill on the bypass. Conditions weren't great with heavy showers and strong wind in our face as we went through Clonakilty, Rosscarbery and had food stop in Skibbereen. From Skibbereen to Ballydehob,Schull,Goleen and eventually Mizen head. All groups of cyclist finished in Mizen head at the same time, about 130cyclists. 140km duration.
Great four days and very well organised. Bit stiff and sore afterwards but delighted to have it finished without any any serious injuries.
Regards John Mac and Brian Canny