Falmouth Wheelers
Monday October 23 2017 
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South West Ireland




From the outer reaches of the Emerald Isle 

Day 1.
Arrived Dingle tired but excited for the week ahead. After unpacking Robin had a burst of enthusiasm and led 5 of us up and over Connor Pass. 5 miles up 5 miles down the other side then turn round and 5 miles up returning with 5 miles back down to Dingle. Ian, Robin, and Raymond added in another 5 miles out to Brandon point and back half way round. Ian may have tried a bit too hard, after a diet of 6 eggs in the preceding 24 hours and had to deposit a small load of vomit at the top of Connor pass to mark his being there... 

Paula, Liz and Don had a more sedate ride around the environ of Dingle and Amanda had a swim to loosen up. Jill and Sonya made a delicious supper whilst we were all out playing, which we all enjoyed washed down my a few drinks. Then early to bed tired but satisfied. (20&30 miles).

   

Day 2.
After an enormous breakfast (with 'borrowed' extras for the day ahead), we set out as a group to cycle the Slea Head drive (around the point of the Dingle peninsula). We kept a steady pace with the wind at our backs. We had a beautiful view of the Blasket Islands before the rain closed in and we rode smoothly together well into the afternoon (fuelled by breakfast!). Steve headed home after our coffee stop and the rest of us added a loop around Smerwick bay to Feofanagh. After a damp lunch at the Smerwick hotel we retraced ours steps (now into the wind) around the Slea Head Drive, splitting into a sensible group and a group chasing Phil, Robin and M&M on the tandem - I for one was shattered! Because we'd had a large breakfast and a large lunch we had a delicious light smorgasbord supper and soup constructed by Sue Morris. A breakaway group explored a little local in Dingle for a drop of the black stuff, and the rest played parlour games over wine in the house. (54 miles).

  

Day 3.
A day of achievements for the group! After another enormous breakfast (with even more 'borrowed' extras), Shane, Robin and Steve took the vehicles over to Kenmare, and the rest of the group set off on the cycle ride from Dingle to Kenmare. A steady pace with the sun shining saw us easily cover the 28miles to Castlemain and then, fuelled by a scone and coffee, we pushed on towards the Gap of Dunloe. Robin had cycled up from Kenmare and met us on the approach road and cycled with us to a lunch stop and then up the long, mostly steady but occasionally v steep, climb up to the Gap. Sonya, Jill, Paula and Liz out did themselves with a fabulous effort up the gap and arrived tired but delighted at the top. As if this wasn't enough, we then led them down a long and looping descent before 'punishing' them with another steep ascent up to Molls gap, where again their efforts brought smiles of satisfied achievement. We joined Steve and Shane here and after our 3rd coffee and cake stop we had a long and exciting descent which saw us arrive in Kenmare early evening. We had another delicious supper supplied by Sue M, washed down with the drinks supplied by our resident sommelier (Phil), which drifted us into a fatigued but contented evening. (59 miles and 2 v big hills).

 More updates tomorrow.

 

Susan H 

 

(Amanda has put a couple of pictures on Facebook)

  

"Fresh from the pen of our little scribess in Ireland comes the report for day 4...........(c'm on keep up) ed"

 

Day 4.
The need for down time and groceries split the group this morning. The ladies explored Kenmare and picked up essentials in the morning, while Ian, Phil, Susan, Amanda, Raymond and Shane trustingly followed Robin on a "half day ride" towards Glengariff. When will we ever learn not to trust the blighter !!! The initial hours ride was a fulfilling rolling ascent half way up the River Sheen valley before turning right and picking up the main road ascent over the Baurearagh mountain pass heading towards Glengarriff. This was a slow but manageable climb in the sunshine. Nipping through the summit tunnel presented a fabulous view of Bantry Bay. We enjoyed the long and flowing descent into Glengariff, where we caused an international incident... Well, I'm going to blame Amanda, but who'd have thought coffee ordering could be so contentious. We enquired whether the proprietress provided filter coffee, but it seems not, in fact she "DID NOT MAKE YOUR TYPE OF COFFEE" (with accompanying counter slapping to every word), "you'll be just like the Americans, I'll make you a cup and then you'll complain...." as we backed out of the establishment Raymond asked whether she sold hevva cake but she didn't even deign to answer this.... 

 

We found a much more friendly establishment further down the road and 4 of us had a pint of the black stuff (can you guess who?) whilst 3 of us had a coffee (the foreign Americano to be precise!) sold to us with a courteous smile! At this point Robin realised that his "half day ride" might not result in us being back to join the ladies for lunch (quelle surprise!), so he left us with the map and suggested route and scurried off home to meet them for a late lunch and an afternoon ride (more of this later). 

 I lead our depleted crew on Robins suggested route home over Priests Leap - have I mentioned yet that one should never trust the blighter. The route started off well with a sun drenched slow and steady rolling ascent into the Derrycreigh valley, the sharp left at this point preceded 5 miles almost vertical uphill, we weren't enjoying this very much but the newly laid chippings with tar warmed in the afternoon sun really reduced the fun quotient 3 miles up! The team members with bikes to worry about decided that discretion would protect their steeds best and proceeded to walk up the 1:4 at this point, but Phil, Ian and I burst our lungs up some very unpleasant and steep undulations to the top. Luckily we had regular stops to keep the team together and recover. The chippings ended after a mile and the others rode the last mile to join us enjoying the spectacular views. We mostly enjoyed the 8 mile wrist jarring descent back into the Sheen valley where we met Robin’s afternoon group, exchanged pleasantries and carried on back to Kenmare for lunch and much needed R&R. (43 hard miles). 

 The afternoon group (Gill, Sonya, Paula, Liz, Don, Steve and Martyn), were lead out late by Robin up this morning’s valley hoping to meet up with us at some point. They made good progress along the Beara way and indeed met us about 5 miles in, Steve turned round at this point and rode back with his wife to enjoy the Black liquid delights of Kenmare. The group stuck together up the valley until Martyn (riding Steve's single speed and therefore having to ride faster up the hills) didn't notice the turn off and he went on his own little adventure up the other side of the afore mentioned Priests Leap - he enjoyed the views (and saw a Hare) whilst recovering from his inadvertent and unplanned steep ascent (good job he's fit and resourceful!). After Robin had phoned in his missing member to Margaret in HQ (she received the news unconcernedly), he carried on with his afternoon group. Their circuit of the Beara was full of adventure too with one chain off (Paula), one broken chain (Gill), and one puncture (Liz) . They enjoyed their 20 miles up and down. The sun shone on them and they enjoyed the scenery. They had a few stretches where discretion suggested they walk up and down the most steep parts of their route but on the whole they rode a steady pace and were pleased they had brought their resident mechanic to keep them on the road. The end of ride drink in the sunshine finished their ride perfectly. 

 

Sue M wants me to add that she enjoyed her 3 Km 'marathon' along the road and back... 

 Another delicious supper provided by Jill, Sonya, Margaret and Sue finished off a fulfilling day for all. 

 Susan

 

 Day 5
 Some say that the Dingle peninsula is some of the best cycling in the world... I guess they've never been to Allehies (on the Beara peninsula)!!!

  Another day of riding together (after some clever logistics) provided a fabulous days ride - Ian was heard to exclaim that he had had "the best days cycling of his life"!

  The 'nine o'clockers' Ian, Robin, Shane, Raymond, and I were led out by M&M straight from Kenmare for 15 miles to meet the 'ten o'clockers' Gill, Sonjia, Liz, Paula, and Don joined by Amanda at the base of the Healy Pass. They'd been dropped off by Phil and Steve, who then went on further with the trailer and 2 cars to shorten the back end of the ride.

 

 The sun was shining, the breeze gentle and a general feeling of calm hung over the group who enjoyed a slow but steady, and stunningly beautiful, climb up the Healy Pass. The classic cars that passed us added an air of anticipation to the climb, and we were rewarded by some sublime views at the top both back where we had come and onwards to Castletownbearhaven.

  The group, buoyed by this first ascent, flowed swiftly down the other side - well most of them did... Raymond came to a shuddering halt following the 'ping' of a spoke snapping which provided him an opportunity to show off his problem solving skills. He eventually got his wheel to wobble only slightly and with sufficient tolerance to roll and allow forward progress.

  A brief loo and lolly stop in Adrigol prepared us for the next 15K to Castletownbearhaven where we stopped at Breens Lobster Bar for a lunch, at which predominated Crab Sandwiches and Guinness (delicious). Steve and Phil joined us here, Steve made a magnificent effort pulling away from Phil on the uphill (no one knows which of the 2 was most surprised!), Steve had to wait for ages for Phil to catch up, and then they had time to kill waiting for us in Castletownbearhaven, nice to know the old man has something left in his legs (a personal triumph - 10 points to him, 0 points to Mr Parkinson's!). 

 Robin (who should never be trusted!), then promised us an easy loop with stunning scenery around the peninsular to Allihies and Eyries. He was only economical with half the truth - the scenery was indeed stunning! The profile, however, was not entirely easy. Luckily the scenery more than made up for the pain and we forgave him as we first sat in a woman's front garden drinking copious amounts of tea and then flogged up 2 short sharp hills to enjoy the amazing views over the Kerry Bay. 

 At Eyries the group split with M&M, Robin, Ian, Raymond and Shane carrying on for another 25 miles at an amazing pace (ave 22 mph) in no large part thanks to M&M steaming ahead. Raymond surprised himself by enjoying the ride afforded by my borrowed Bianchi (apparently I'm not having it back!). The more sensible portion of the group (including me) returned by car, relaxed in the jacuzzi and pool awaiting the wanderers return.

  I'm trying to finish this report after a delicious supper supplied by Amanda and too much beer and wine supplied by Phil - you'll have to forgive me if it doesn't make sense.  

(84 / 55 / 40 / 25 miles respectively) 

 Susan 



Day 6
Due to an alcoholic episode Susan mislaid the report for Day 6 (Ed.) 

 

Day 7 
What a wonderful final full day...  16 sunny coastal miles as a full gang to a pub on a pier, where a number of the team settled in for a few glasses of the black stuff, a picnic lunch, and a sea swim in the sun. 

  4 nutters (me, Ian, Raymond and Phil) powered the 12 miles round trip up the Healy Pass and back because Phil had missed out on Thursday. We enjoyed the swift and sweeping downhill back to the pier for a late picnic lunch.  

 Robin hadn't joined us because he hadn't been feeling so well today. However his mettle was piqued by our swift ascent (34 minutes) and spurred on by Ian accidentally leaving his bottle at the top, (or was it the 4 pints of Guinness...) he decided to summit the pass alone (in 27 minutes).

  The 10 o'clockers returned by the same coastal route as this morning, with another cafe stop on route.  But we had a glass or 2 of the black stuff waiting for Robin, and returned with him over a medium sized hill and then road trained home to Kenmare. 10 miles at 23mph (I was shattered!).

  The whole team joined in dribs and drabs at Foley's bar on the high street for a social post prandial drink.

  We're now having final drinks in the setting sun, before supper in the hotel restaurant.

  What a great day,

  Susan 

 

 

Day 8
A quiet day started with an early breakfast and a fond goodbye to M&M (who were going to head off on their return tandem adventure) and Sue and Don (who are taking their time coming home in their camper).

 We packed quickly and headed off towards Rosslare in convoy. Our first stop was at a curious pub com-sheltered housing establishment 'the Spinning Wheel' in Castletownroche, where some had coffee and other had ice lollies. Then on towards Kilmacthomas for another culinary adventure (called lunch). Here the group split with the 10 o'clockers, driven by Shane and Amanda heading off to explore Waterford before rolling on to Rosslare.

 5 of us (me, Ian, Raymond, Robin and Phil) set off on our bikes towards Carrick on Sur to climb Shiskin Hill (one of the hills that Sean Kelly cut his teeth on). It was a fast and furious ride with lots of road train and not many rests, but great fun (apart from the bad road surface which we noticed more because of our speed). 25 miles at an average of 14mph! We were glad of the blast out but 5 sweaty bodies squeezed into the car for the next hour to Rosslare made for an interesting olfactory treat....

 The B&B (St Martins) was large, welcoming and comfortable, and we ate a delicious supper in the Lakes Restaurant (10 mins taxi away). A small and dedicated party of drinkers finished the evening at the social club near the B&B drinking our final pints of the black stuff before bed.

 

Day 9
An early start and uneventful journey brought the 12 remaining happy travellers safely home.  We have had a wonderful holiday, full of laughter and camaraderie.  We have had lots of fantastic cycling and some amazing cycling achievements.  Thanks go to Robin from us all for organising a super week. 

Susan

 



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