M2M 2016 - Day 3 - Donie's Diary, Brendan's Blog
It's a long way from Clare to here....
I know this is beginning to sound a bit monotonous but another silent night Patrick - Mrs Burke prefers him to be called that - slept like a baby in a manger, not a decibel out of him. So two great sleeps in room 416
Today is the big one and everyone is a little bit uneasy down in the dining room. Mark and Kevin are sitting at separate tables, Mark looks well rested but young Bannon is a broken man. Massive black bags under his eyes, the circle has blended in with the sunburn but there's still a small bit of porridge on the side of his left nostril....they say that gluten free stuff lasts for ever!!
On to more important things. Nearly everybody is going to cycle further today than they ever did before and to do it after 2 days in the saddle already is massive. Plan today was for all the groups to do the 50km to Kinvara at their own pace and we'd all meet in a pub there, which Bomber had organised, at 11 o clock for coffee. We were also meeting up with Kevin Foley the club chairman, who is joining us for the last two days. Complete disaster.....some people decided to go to a different coffee shop and ignore Bombers arrangements but what was worse was when he went to pay for the lovely food he realised that the treasurer was one of the renegades. Bomber is normally a very calm individual but he went absolutely mental, he wanted to call a committee meeting on the main street in the village but as it turned out he didn't have a quorum as the treasurer wasn't the only committee member that went offside. In the end he calmed down when Kevin (the Cavanman) Mulligan said that he'd look after the bill, much to everyone’s amazement. Unfortunately his card was rejected and Bomber went ape again!! Thankfully the club chairman stepped in and negotiated a great deal and sorted it all.
We cycled to the outskirts of Galway from here and that’s where 4 of us parted company with the rest of the group, I was kind of glad to get away because tensions were riding very high after the renegades had rejoined us and Bomber wouldn't even take his turn in the cycling rotation!!
So myself Fionnan, Mick Culligan and Ronan (the goat) Conway headed off on our own to do a few extra kms. We headed out to Maam’s cross for lunch and on through spectacular countryside to Conn village, now when you're in Conn you have to go to Ashford castle, at least for a photo. We pulled up at the castle gate and these two goons in black ties came out to us, I thought they were going to turf us out but when they saw the Breast cancer symbols on our jerseys and heard what we were doing the invited us in to go up as far as the castle for a photo and even radioed ahead for their colleague up there to take the photo of us all. we carried on from here to Castlebar through Foxford and into Ballina for the night. 235km,most I've ever done, great craic and better still great company.
All the other cyclists had assembled in Castlebar at 5 o clock for a reception hosted by Bank of Ireland, one of our generous sponsors. The Bank were delighted to see the fabulous turnout by everyone and the relatively healthy state of them all considering how far they had cycled. By the end of today all the gang had done 187km, super achievement for all, especially as some of these had only taken up cycling 6 months ago.
Tomorrow will be another tough one, I think it's 157km up to Ballybofey.......unless there's a detour!!
By the way Anthony Collins gave Kevin some ear plugs tonight, Kev honestly thinks he's going to get some sleep, I tried all that on the last two M2Ms,he'd have been better off putting them up his nose yesterday morning before he fell into that bowl !!
Ok, we are here now at 7.45pm after a 7.30am departure. Well I tell a lie a 7.40am departure. Even though I am always known for my precise timeliness it was me who was late, but we are amongst friends and time is a great healer.
Turn out the gate sometime from the Falls Hotel turn left up the hill out of Ennistimon on a long slow drag over corkscrew hill into Lisdoonvarna. Memories of that great night I had there once with my great friend Paul Higgins. Onto Ballyvaughan, Kinvara sweep around to the Galway road, Headford onto Castlebar and Ballina.
Add in Gerry McGrath on your tail urging you to give your best at all times you should try it sometime it is great craic.
We are a nation of Mrs Doyle's, ham sandwiches, tea and buns. Go on you'll need it for the journey. A big welcome from the Mullan family in Headford.
And it got better, 7km out from Castlebar met by John Maughan and bomber friends. A Garda escort into Castlebar and what a welcome in the town. The highlight of the day; thanks to all.
We have a large contingent from Mayo in the group, Mick Durcan, Wally Hunt, Mick Carolan, Pat Conlan, Michael McNiochlas and how they enjoyed coming home.
My Dad was at both 50 & 51 finals. I have a hunch this year. Kevin Foley doesn’t agree but I think Mayo have a massive opportunity. Depends on themselves. I will be shouting for the Dubs but who will begrudge Mayo their long coveted All Ireland.
The star performers in our Group today the girls, Anne, Joan, Frances, Linda and last but not least Wendy. We know that women are more resilient than men but today for sure we saw the evidence of same.
So while still smiling for sure today was a challenge. I won't go into all medical aspects and lotions used but you can guess, and again so so hot, still not complaining though.
I have to mention on a personal level my uncle Michael in my Dads homeland Quigabar, Enniscrone where we will closely pass early in the morning through Culleens. Michael not too well of late is a true inspiration within our family, you are so much in our thoughts.
So three days done and two to go.
I often remember that great Kerry footballer Darragh O'Shea writing in the Irish Times about big games. You are unlikely to ever win a big championship game in the first half but can go a long way to losing it. So we are not there yet but in good shape to get this done for Sunday.
Really looking forward to our visit into Sligo and then on to Donegal.
Oh I am hurting a little, good night!
Day 1 and 2
Have you seen the previous blogs, diaries and great photos from Days 1 and 2? No? Well just click here and all will be revealed!!