It looks like another misleadingly beautiful morning out there.
I’m staying in The Fiddlestone Pub and B&B in the village of Beleek on the border of Co. Fermanagh, UK, and Co. Donegal, IE. Raymond has been a fantastic host here, helping us get wet cycling clothes and shoes dried out, all while running a busy bar at the same time – thank you!
It’s 7.30am so I have an hour to dress, eat & pack before we get a lift with Angela the 20ish miles back to Enniskillen.
Yesterday was a crappy kind of a day. Constant rain from even before we got on the bike, until the final 10 minutes of our spin into Enniskillen. The rain makes everything more difficult – everyone in the group has to be more alert for a wet shoe slipping off a pedal ahead, make sure brakes are dry and try to stay positive while getting progressively colder and the whole group slowing and speeding up with the undulations of the countryside. Your hands, arms and shoulders start to go numb & lock up from the tension of clutching the brake levers for hours.
It wasn’t a particularly difficult day in terms of distance or massive climbing, but the cumulative effective of 3 days of rain and headwinds is noticeable.
Personally I was feeling the pain yesterday morning after my extra-curricular activity the previous day – a spin up to Malin Head and an extra 32km on the day’s regular cycle. So in the morning session I stuck in behind a wheel at the front and tried to refill my reserve tank which was completely empty. It took a long time.
We had a fabulous pasta lunch in South West College in Omagh after a route change because of an accident on the road way ahead of us (nothing to do with our group).
After the lunch break I planned on being up front again, but one of my pedals decided enough was enough and parted company with the bike (not the first time with this model of pedal). I removed the spindle while waiting for the peloton to pass and the support van to stop. Mark from City Cycles had a spare platform pedal on the bike within 60 seconds and I was back on the bike with a cycling marshall helping to pace me back up to the group. Awesome teamwork from everyone and I was back on within 2km.
That was enough exertion for a while so I hung out at the back, having a chat with many folks.
The final spin from Dromore in to Enniskillen was very pleasant despite the rain, I had a great chat with a lady called Donna who lives in Dromore and was able to reassure me that the final few miles were not too hilly!
Feeling better this morning, let’s see how it goes.