Thursday, 28 April 2016

Day 5 Stranorlar to Donegal town

Woke this morning to heavy rain. Had a lovely breakfast of fresh scrambled eggs, from their own chickens, delicious. Nice chat over breakfast then off to the start in Stranorlar.
Somehow the weather isn't bothering me as its not as cold as it was. A north west wind is still blowing away but we will deal with that later.
There is a real buzz about the college this is is a massive college and there is all sorts of stuff going. I find a quiet spot to sort myself , get all my gear sorted. My focus is riding the bike so everything is geared to that. Making sure I have the right stuff in the right bag. Make sure I can change into dry clothes at the lunch break. Chargers , cables, food , water. All has to be right before I hand over my bags to the drop lorries. Mistakes can be costly. Gotta keep my runners cause the schools don't allow cleats in the assembly hall. They are no good for dancing in anyway. There are so many students here that they have to relay the presentation to a different hall.
Heading to the bikes for the off, it's now threatening rain. I think we will have all sorts today.
We get a magnificent send off with all the students lining the road. And right through the town of Stranorlar and Ballybofey a huge number of locals are out to send us off.
Told by some Donegal cyclists that road to Glenties is flat but road from Glenties to Donegal has a few nasty hills. Liar liar, pants on fire!
Soon into a fierce head wind and it's all like "Sally gap type  "mountain top, open road.
Then we are hit by our first hail shower of the day. Group is together so there is an amount of shelter. But then the road rises and snow comes next. Heavy enough to make it nasty. Group is splitting now . Gail is full on . And suddenly everyone is struggling.
20 km before we get a break at the sos beag. They have laid on tea and coffee and cakes for us. I am so glad to get under cover and recoup the energy. Not looking forward to the rest of the day.
Found out later that they were on the verge of abandoning the trip when suddenly there was an improvement.
Glenties to Donegal was a great trip. We changed direction to south and wind came behind us. Blew us all the way to Donegal.
Arriving in Donegal we heard a teenager had taken his own life in the town only yesterday. And as a mark of respect we were quiet entering the town . No whistles or horns or cheering and we walked the last 100 meters to the college.
This was always going to be a difficult time for us arriving in Donegal cause last time we left here it was under the cloud of Bredan's death.
First person I met was Mary who had hosted me last time. I was sooo glad to see her. She is a granny now. We had a lovely few minutes together.
Found one of my friends who was caught up in the emotion of being here and I sat a while with him.
Hosted now out in Charlestown and glad to get in and showered. After a nice hot dinner, a few glasses of red and a nice chat over the dinner table. It's bed for me.
Heading south tomorrow to Sligo. So if God is good we should have that South Westerly to take us there.
Head down now for sleep time.

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