22 July 2012
I didn't stretch last night. Bad idea. Now all my muscles are complaining. Without breakfast (I only had a banana), I hardly made it 3 km uphill without having to stop. So I filled my back pocket with trail mix--a good one, with coconut and cinnamon, yum--and kept on truckin' while eating it. Got passed by several racing cyclists whilst on that hill. Hobby cycling seems to be pretty popular in Ireland. It's a good country for any kind of cycling, imho.
Long glorious downhill into County Sligo thru the beginning of the Ox Mountains. The cycle around north shore of Lough Talt stunning. Racing cyclist passed me, gave me a thumbs up, and shouted "keep the faith!" Saw goslings in the lake. This is m favourite type of countryside: wooded mountains, running water.
After about 20 km I decided it was time for a break and stopped, getting out of the wind in the detached garage of a house under construction. There I roasted some sausages on the near-invisible flame of my camp stove (burnt the outsides of course, but I'm pretty sure the insides weren't raw) and boiled some water for tea. Didn't spill any boiling water on myself this time, yay! Which is good because like all the skin on the front of my ankle fell off a few days ago and I slathered it in ultrabalm and put a gauze on it and haven't looked at it since. ...Dx
I know I said I fell in love with North Mayo but Sligo is my favourite cycling so far. Went left at the fork at Mullany's Cross onto a quiet local road thru wonderful green farmland; we're talkin' dandylions and buttercups and wild strawberries. Traffic was practically nothing. The smell of the sun-drenched grasses... The houses are all really nice too, extensive gardens, homes of the well-to-do. Town after tiny town, Cloonacool, Carroweden, Coolaney, Collooney. Top notch cycling. From Collooney under the disused railway bridge to Ballysadare, a trip which seemed to take like 30 seconds. From there I took a detour around a small peninsula thru Strandhill before touching down in Sligo town. The extra 20+ kms were rewarded with beautiful coastal scenery, cliffs dotted with precarious sheep, lots of hobby/racing cyclists, and an actual cycling lane down an enormous wonderful downhill into the city proper.
Tried to stay at the Railway Hostel but it was full up so I went on to the White House hostel further into town. Right when I rolled up to the door another touring cyclist, whom I'll call Mike, arrived as well. He'd gone more than twice as far as I had today. We got to talking and I think he was a bit sweet on me 'cause we went out for a few pints in our cycling gear and he bought mine for me. Then I had to make supper so back to the hostel. Met a Japanese girl I'll call Aiko in my room. Tried to speak some Japanese with her, but it's been so long... I said silly things like I lived in Japan six hours instead of six years. Her English was fluent tho', thankfully, 'cause my Japanese is nowhere near!
More cool people in the hostel. Cute bearded French guy I'll call Jay. Dude from California with a huge sleeve tattoo of the Flash. We went out for drinks all together that night. Mini pub crawl. I had some cider and a gin 'n' tonic for my birthday after midnight. Some live music, some pints by the river at night. Sligo seems like a decent place.
Aiko, California and I got tired at about one a.m. so we peeled off to the hostel whilst Jay and Mike partied on. On the way back we went to a 24 hour Tesco and I got a gluten-free chocolate cake and some rashers for the morning. Ate half the cake that night while winding down before bed (I don't usually go straight to sleep after drinks).
Happy birthday to me. Couldn't think of a cooler trip to have it on.