Weather: cool, mostly cloudy, mist and showers through the day.
Distance: 92.5 miles including my cycle from Dungarvan and back before and after.
Food: top class!
Registration: quickest I’ve ever seen! A young girl perhaps 9 or 10 had me sorted within minutes with a smile and all the information I needed.
Charity: Special Olympics
Organiser: Martin Moore
Overall: 10 out of 10
I biked up at 8.30 with my friend Declan and after the above-mentioned registration and warm coffee we headed off in misty rain about 10 minutes before the peloton. A lovely NE tailwind speeded us uphill towards Dungarvan, and on the Colligan descent our favourite photographers Dave & John were in place to provide the evidence!
On then to the Pike climb. Here, we steadied the ship and went up sensibly, saving a bit of energy for the headwind section to Carrick. Just before Leamybrien we were delighted to see a large group pass by, led by Pat Dunford, top runner-turned-biker. Declan and I nodded to one another. This was the group to sit in with! And certainly it was grand to be towed along at a good pace. At Mahon Bridge this group of 14 turned left for Mahon Falls, and we proceeded straight on towards Carrick. Once again we were joined by several others to form another group. However, this time it was Declan and myself who did the driving! Providing huge assistance to us also was DCC’s Eamon Doherty. Within a short number of miles a number of others had joined us, some helping and others saving energy on the back. No problemo… That’s allowed too!
Soon the lovely sweeping downhill to Carrick beckoned, and for most of us the much-awaited water stop. Plenty bananas, bars and jelly-babies as well to stock up the energy levels. There was also a very pretty photographer snapping us as we headed for the bananas!
A group of 5 who had worked with us into Carrick arranged to leave together and stay together to Clonmel, and within minutes we were joined by a strong DCC contingent including Trevor, Tony, Dwayne and Maurice, (I bet I left someone out…) and on we rolled at a nice tempo. However, I punctured after about 10 miles. Declan pulled in with me and we assured the lads that they should keep going. Anyway, as it turned out, Declan just wanted to take a few shots of me in repair-mode. This was to be puncture number one of two for me. Seems I was too much focused on trying to smile to the camera through the misty light rain rather than checking the tyre properly!
Back on the bikes again we joined up with the popular DCC guest rider Paul from Limerick with his wife Ber and daughter Michele and we enjoyed the company until Clonmel. The slight uphill drag to The Hidden Inn once again sent out a warning to our tiring legs. We had an hour cycling before the event and remembered that we would have more miles to home after Ballymac, so we paced it sensibly. Near Fourmilewater the light rain started again and with that my inevitable second puncture. Murphy’s law. But as we were within smelling distance of food and coffee / soup, we didn’t mind too much. No photos this time though! I was grateful to Martin for being in the right place in the support van to give me a track-pump to get good tyre pressure for the last few miles. Go raibh maith agat!
Finish: good food and good chat with friends. We did not linger too long. The journey back was before us. Climbing the hill a second time was no bother and we arrived in Dungarvan safely, having had a great day out.
Declan had biked in from Stradbally to meet me earlier, so he had to soldier on for a further 10 miles alone. I did suggest joining him, but it was only in jest. Rule number one: do what you need to do… no more, no less!
The Lady Belle did tempt me later in the evening, but I snoozed in the armchair until near closing. Sure, maybe I’ll head over for a few nice Guinness tonight.
Sincere thanks to all stewards, marshals, caterers, fellow-riders for a great event.
More photos here.
Full gallery pictures of the event, and previous years on Ballymac Cycle FB page. Several million photos of several million cyclists. Most are really pretty!