Day 6 - Strabane to Donegal via Killeter Forest
It was a sunny and hot day, with a beautiful blue sky, for the first four hours of my ride on day 6. I managed to go the "long way" as per my usual plan winding through country roads with no more traffic than the occasional tractor or farm dog chasing me. A few times I had to walk my bicycle through impassable muddy roadways as it had been raining heavily all week, which slowed me down but gave me a chance to take in the scenery.
The second half, closer to the Atlantic coast, was intense with about three hours of constant 30-50km/h wind, intermittent heavy rain and hail. During this time I was riding a very remote section of these parts through the Killeter forest and surrounding open bog lands, and I didn't see anybody for two hours. It was a truly awakening experience to realize "the weather sucks, nobody is coming if something happens, I am not prepared to camp, ride as fast as possible to get out of here before dark." It was a moment I've experienced before in the crazy/stupid moments back home when I would go snowshoeing alone when it was -30C. After after these moments, you feel most alive and spectacular when drinking that first Guinness at the end of the day.
- The most challenging day physically and mentally
- The world is extra peaceful and quiet after experiencing intense winds for hours on end
Day 7 - Donegal to Sligo
This day, my goal was just making it to the train station in Sligo! This meant approximately five hours on the highway riding directly into a headwind the entire time. This was a busy road and riding in the shoulder of a highway was not my first choice, but it had to be done.
Bicycle touring Ireland is like being in an action movie at times! I made it to the train with five minutes to spare, but not before:
Having a driver (also a cyclist who understood the headwind in the rain issue with a heavy bike) let me draft off of his van for a while. Then bought me a coffee, doughnut and water at a gas station.
Getting intensely rained on
Slowed and sped up by wind
Flat tire with 4 km to go
Eating an entire bag of Big League Chew
Swearing at cars, swearing at the weather, riding hard and enjoying life!
The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are amazing places with amazing friendly people. The Guinness IS better here also! Cheers!
- Repairing a flat tire in less than 5 minutes while rage chewing bubble gum
- Kindness of the Irish people
- I will miss this place, it felt like home!
Sincere thanks for following my adventure in Ireland! Look forward to your comments or questions!
"Dance your way through life with happiness" was my mother's lesson. I think I managed to do this in Ireland, only on my bike.