08 July 2012
Breakfast: orange juice, tea, fried eggs, bacon, tomato. I'll probably have an apple as soon as I start rolling as well. Having a hot breakfast is nice and all, but my food-intolerance-induced paranoia won't let me feel completely comfortable with food coming out of someone else's kitchen. Even if it is all just fried stuff that really shouldn't have touched bread or milk. (one thing I do like: I don't have to ask about what kind of oil things were fried in, 'cause you can't really get soybean oil here; it's all sunflower or rapeseed oil.) Been okay so far at least. I would prefer hostels if I could find them, tho. Should be a few in Killarney actually, if I can make it that far tonight.
Still overcast this morning, but not raining right now. I'll be prepared for it at any rate. It's funny tho, how my instinct is to get out of the rain immediately, even if I have all the proper gear on and am not cold. Back in the mountains on day three, when it really started coming down, I sat under some pine trees on an embankment for a while, out of the worst of it but slowly getting colder from lack of movement. There was no real reason to stop other than some unconscious aversion to heavy rain. Do you guys think this is something everyone has in common? Some sort of human instinct developed as soon as we invented/discovered watertight shelters? Or is it just me?
(Andy, to answer your question on my last post: the rain is still typically Irish in its frequency, but it was worse in the mountains for sure.)
Mist and light rain all morning. I know the ring of Beara is supposed to be amazing and all, but I actually think the coast road from Lauragh to Tuosist is nicer. Flatter, too. Nice views of the sea and opposite coast, and a bit of lush forest as well.
Sun broke thru the clouds just before Kenmare, where I stopped for a delicious quinoa and egg salad, along with gluten-free biscuits and an organic banana from a health food store. Kenmare--in fact, this whole peninsula--was full of cyclists doing the Ring of Kerry charity cycle. It's a 180 kilometre cycle starting and ending in Killarney. I'm going to do roughly the same route myself, but over three days instead of one.
Today however I met them all in Kenmare--thousands of them. The N71 north to Killarney was closed to traffic just for them, which was brilliant. I joined in on the last 30 kms of their route. From Kenmare there's a long, steady uphill of 10 km thru Moll's gap, which of course I did very slowly and was passed by just about everyone. Those I did pass, I had to remind myself they'd just done 150 kms and I'm nothing special after only 50 :P
The real fun began at the downhill all the way to Killarney. I strapped my ROAM to my handlebars and tried to film some of it; we'll see if it turns out. I felt like I was on my own little tour de Ireland, haha, passing everyone, zooming along due to how heavy my loaded bike is compared to theirs. It was like 20 kms of almost pure downhill and I was reaching 45 kph for a lot of it. Doing that road car-free was such a blessing. And being around all those cyclists gave me tons of refreshing energy, too. They'll talk to you for a spell, encourage you, cheer for you. One guy I met, talked to, and passed, later passed me resting and shouted, GO COLORADO!
We reached Killarney in style and I was shunted to the finish line with all the others even tho' I hadn't started at the start. Felt a bit silly going with them on my bike loaded down with gear etc. Of course a lot of people tho't I'd gone the whole way with it... I explained to people when I could, but again, we're talking thousands of cyclists. I did feel a bit of a hero. Sprinting finish. My total mileage today was only about 80 km tho'.
Town is full of cyclists now, resting their weary legs. Three hostels I checked were full up. I'm in Paddy's Palace now, right on the main drag, with my bike shoved up under the bed in a four-bed room. Other girls here are American too. Friendly.
Tomorrow will be a rest day so I'm booked in for two nights. Means tomorrow is sleeping in! I'll still post a little something tho'. Not sure how I'll spend my rest day yet.