With just under 80 miles to do today to finish our epic ride, we knew that it was going to be quite a tough day. We had an early start at 08:30, off we set northwards with the initial hour being a lovely ride through the mountains and peat bogs, with even the sun peeking at us from time to time.
Unfortunately we all managed to miss Shaun at the 25 mile stop so we ended up having the first stop after 40 miles in a very glamorous car park behind a Eurospar. This was actually quite good psychology, because we’d done half the day’s miles by then. Roger and Davy were able to replace a gear cable on Janet’s bike (THANK YOU!), which had lost all but 2 of its gears over the first leg of the journey, and she was able to set off with a full complement of working cogs.
We cycled on and some of the more juvenile among us were amused at the name of one of the towns we cycled through.
As we drew closer to our lunch stop at Carndonough the weather closed in, as we’d been warned, and everyone was absolutely soaking by the time we got there. Shaun had brilliantly cooked up some bacon on the stove for bacon rolls and we all huddled under the green gazebo feeling rather soggy, but knowing there were only 15 miles left to go for the final push.
It did actually brighten for the last few miles and everyone made Malin Point within 10 minutes of each other – the last 100 yards being the toughest climb of the entire tour! We had made it to the very windy top end of Ireland – almost exactly 500 miles over the course of a week.
With a team photo and a quick slosh of champagne for everyone, it was time for a 15-minute cycle back in the other direction to our B&B to get warm and dry – ready for a celebratory dinner together at the Seaview Tavern.
What got us through the hard bits?
Janet – singing along to my favourite tracks at top volume along the way
Ian – Stopping for a biscuit or jelly babies every 10 miles
Roger – the thought of a steak and kidney pie (unfortunately imaginary) at every stop
Kate – the funny names of the roads coming up on the Garmin – favourite being “Scrabble”
Richard – A Guinness at the end of the ride and the company every evening.
Peter – Richard egging me on
John (on the tandem) – Turbo-charged Anne, my “stoker”, sitting behind me and encouraging me
Anne (on the tandem) – The thought of a big glass of red wine at the end of the day, and what we’ll have for dinner
Kim – the thought of how proud my Dad, whom I lost 17 years ago, would have been that I’d cycled 500 miles
Shaun – knowing you guys are all going to need me at the next stop
Colin – “What hard bits?”
Thank you to the ACT Team for a fantastic week and a great adventure!