Sunday, 8 May 2016

Day 14 Arklow to Dublin

Arriving into Arklow at the end of a tiring day. It's time for a quick cup of tea and a cake before making contact with my Homestay, Colm.
I met Colm at the main gate and he has been having a few Friday night pints before heading home with me in tow. He doesn't live too far away so we have a good bit of craic walking home.
Heading into Day 14 I'm feeling surprisingly well. No real aches and the cold I have been talking to is being compliant and staying back. But I know he is just biding his time till he gets an opening.
Nice dinner and a chat about cycling (Colm is a keen biker) and the soon it's time for bed. Im really tired tonight. A wonderful flame red sky bodes well to the morrow. Sleep comes quickly.

Red sky at night is normally a shepherds delight . But the shepherds in Wicklow must prefer the rain because it a damp miserable morning.
Forming up at the college for the presentation, which usually gets me going for the day, is not doing it today. I'm subdued and morose today and nothing can shift the gloom I feel. Unusually I sit through the presentation and any attempt to get me bouncing is pushed aside. I somehow leave putting my bags on the truck to the last minute and find one is full and locked up and ready to go and the other won't take both my bags. After some persuading I'm sorted and get bike ready for the final run in to Dublin.
Nollig and his wife appear at the start and have decided to come down to cycle the final day. We will pick up Liam later in the morning who is also going a distance with us. It's great to see a club face again before heading off. It's a roller coaster ride through Wicklow and my legs are in good shape and taking the inclines with ease.
There are various stops along the way cause we are on the clock today. RTE dictates our arrival into Royal Hospital Kilmainham.
Rolling down the roads heading into Dublin we have impressive Garda escorts of squad cars and motorbike outriders who take charge of traffic issues for us together with our own very competent motorbike marshals. It's a sight to see the huge peleton snake it's way through the city. We have right of way everywhere.
Finally we arrive at our our finish line that is the magnificent grounds of Kilmainham. I have never been in here before and it is a truly beautiful massive gardens in the heart of the city. Very impressive.
Welcome tea and sandwiches are provided here for us as I meet all my new friends and old ones, who have come the journey with me. Some I never knew before this but have made friends with as the days went on. I meet up Kathleen Tobin (super gran) who , along with me has now completed 4 two week full trips on CAS. An exclusive club.
Sad leaving everyone after the trip.
It's been a great trip. One with lots of memories. Good and bad. A lot has happened since we left Dublin 2 weeks ago. Hail rain and snow, sub zero temperatures and high headwinds. But spirits were never dampened to the point of giving up. Knee pain on day 2 threatened. But thankfully didn't materialise. Put on a few pounds with the great food we were treated to in home stays and schools but sure that will go.
 Met some wonderful people , both on the road and in home stays. People struggling with inner demons, with sadness and grief. Gillian ( not her real name) who was grieving for her dad.
Mary, for her brother. Pain that won't go. Grief that raises it head and will always. The whys! The how's! Spontaneous tears sparked by others personal sharings. And here we all were riding Shoulder to Shoulder to try to get the message over that it OK NOT TO FEEL OK. AND ITS ABSOLUTELY OK TO ASK FOR HELP.
The strongest message I got was that it's not our generation that will change this. We are setting the seed. But it's all those thousands of teenagers that we presented to , who will affect the change. It's their generation who will remove the stigma around mental health issues.
Most startling thing that happened?
28 people took their lives in Ireland since we left Dublin 2 weeks ago!!
Shoulder to Shoulder we will change this.
Thanks everyone for your support along the way.

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