Armagh – Keady – Castleblayney – Carrickmacross – Ardee – Slane – Ratoath – Lucan – Newcastle – Rathmore – Blessington
Dist: 156 km
Avg speed: 15.6 km/h
Max speed: 43 km/h
Tot time: 83.06
Tot dist: 1469 km
It could have been the last day of the trip if I would/could manage all those km and cycle in the rain.
Well, morning started slowly. Waiting for breakfast. I was awake at six. Wow! I don’t do these things.
Anyhow – checked the route again to make sure I would avoid cycling tired through motorways around Dublin.
Sky went from dark grey to lighter and then to a little stripe of blue on the horizon. I was getting rather excited.
Went down to the bar and – it was early so I waited for the breakfast. There was another guy in the bar. Turned out to be English. Posh looking, one of those that express their professional opinion and they haven’t a clue what they talking about. One of those that would read ‘Which’.
Started small talk and unbelievable went on to the weather. He said that it was looking good and it would clear off for the day. Why? Before he finished couple of toasts it was a hell on earth again. Water and wind were lashing across the window. My heart sunk. If I go out in this rain I would be ready for cloths change before I get to cycle.
After a very slow breakfast and shower and packing I was ready to go. I got the bike from the boiler room. Got wet, set up the bike indoors and then out to face the nature.
Rain was a bit milder, wind was there – for the first time during this trip – and it was head wind.
First 50 km – hills were coming thick and fast, downhills – I had tlc push to go down because of the wind.
By the time I got the 55 km I felt totally exhausted. Stopped at Topaz petrol station and had a dfink and couple of pastries.
From 55 to 80 constant uphill. I was thinking. I’m on flat were are these hlls coming from? And then the biggest surprise. In Slane there was the only mark hill during this trip marked with gradient and with controlled traffic. More – there was down and uphill that looked the same. In the middle of nowhere? Got up the hill and found another Topaz. Had hot sandwich and another drink.
The rest of N2 – 16 km – were a bit easier in terms of hills, road was relatively ok, but I couldn’t go faster as the wind was constant and consistent – strong.
I got off the main road and started cycling on suburbs of Dublin. Very nice bedroom places for Dubliners.
I had more scary moments cycling few km on those roads than doing 100’s on the main ones
A few fast and furious pushed me into the ditch on overtaking.
In Lucan I stopped again the last one before Blessington. Had a sandwich and when I took off I realised that my back wheel was misbehaving. The one I was afraid off. Broken spoke. I had to loosen up back break a bit so it wouldn’t touch the wheel.
I knew I had another hill or couple on my way to Blessington – it is on the verge of Wicklow mountains.
I was cycling slowly. I think at that time I was so tired that my mind had switched off all of the feeling of pain and I was just driving up and up. The only concern – safety. Put front lights on as it was getting darker. I had my back light switched on most of the day. Although the rain stopped after 1pm it was dark and gloomy. I could see some blue sky but it was on the horizon all the time.
I got back to the main road with 3 km to cycle. I got to Blessington at 9.30 after about 10 hours in the saddle.
Wind will never be my friend when cycling. I had quite a few moments I though I wasn’t going to make it. All because of the wind. So demoralising.