It's a BLEEP BLEEP to Tipperary!
Today's route was to take us from Tallaght in South West Dublin, to Tipperary towards the South West of Ireland. Conscious of not wanting the famous song on repeat in our heads all day, Rob and I issued and Anti-social Behaviour Order law, banning any singing of it.
It turned out that it is a long way!
On leaving our very comfortable Glashaus Hotel after a good breakfast but well behind schedule at 9:10am, our route first took us up and over the Western part of the Wicklow Mountains. This was a beautiful start to the day and the highlight was passing, the Poulaphouca Reservoir - try saying that after a pint or two of Guinness. It is fed by the Liffey and flows on as the Liffey into Dublin.
After the climb out of Dublin, it was more or less down hill all the way to our first cafe stop in Athy (pronounced A-t-eye) in County Kildare. J-One cafe turned out to be the popular morning coffee spot of the town. We were lucky to get a table and very much enjoyed our stop there. The scone I had was delicious...definitely a strong 8/10 if I were reviewing it. The trouble was, we got rather too comfortable and were well behind schedule when we finally got back on the bikes. I wouldn't want to say that my brother was slightly reluctant to get going today, however he did confess to a degree of procrastination. I think this photo says it all!
Just before we left Athy, there was time for a photo in front of the Ernest Shackleton memorial. I presume he was born here but we had no time to visit the museum to find out...it was head down, rouleur-style, for a high average speed 40 mile leg to the next stop in Templemore, County Tipperary. Rob had no choice but to get on my back wheel and stay there - we had time to make up!
It is interesting the little games you play with yourself in your head as you peddle hard on a long ride. Calculating milestones along the way: do I tell Rob that we have just past 56miles, the half-way point? No, too depressing!; OK, how about mentioning hitting 60miles? Hmm, possibly; I know, I'll tell him that flapjack break is in a couple of miles and then peddle on for 6 because there isn't anywhere suitable to stop, but at least that gets us to less than 50 miles left for the day. Perfect!
All the power riding was too much for the valve on Rob's back wheel. A loud hiss told us that it was time for a new tube. Gave me time to photograph the rural scene at the top of this entry. We saw plenty of views like this.
We finally reached our lunch stop in Templemore at 4pm. Mum and Dad had arrived ahead of us to scope out the menu and when Mum announced that they could do lasagne and salad, we both said 'Perfect!' in unison. Just what we needed. What a great place 'Cafe on Main' is in Templemore. Super friendly service and delicious, wholesome and healthy food.
After that plateful, you might think we wouldn't manage anything else. However, Strava (the cycling app we use to measure our progress and plot our statistics) has told us that we are burning around 9000 calories a day so we felt that a piece of Mum's fruit cake would be just the ticket.
Cake review: Mum's Fruit Cake
Light, but with substance and depth of flavours. The right balance of well-distributed fruit. Neither dry nor claggy...just perfectly moist. I think it would only be fair to award it 11/10!
On powering out of Templemore (I still had the bit between my teeth and was determined to push for our top average speed of the trip) we had only got 2 miles when with a pop and a loud hiss Rob's back tyre was flat again. This time it was a tyre burst so I was straight on the phone to the support vehicle and, within minutes, Mum and Dad were on the scene getting a new tyre, manning the track pump, re-stocking our spare tube supply...brilliant!
We decided that the culprit behind the burst tyre was the bane of cyclists near and far...the top-dressed road: a nightmare when first laid because of the loose chippings; lethal for tyres (as happened today) when in its first year because the sharp chippings aren't properly bedded in to the road surface; absolutely grim once they have seen a winter or two and are scarred and scuffed...it's like cycling over cobbles. Ireland so far has had either perfect roads (including the amazing new cycle path network across Dublin) or bone-shaking nightmares. We will see how the remoter West is tomorrow!
Now I know the song was banned, but we really started to wonder if the local road sign painter was teasing us as we approached Tipperary. One sign clearly said 25km to go. Then, 300m down the road, the next sign said 28km to go! 4km later, the next sign said 26km and we saw two further 25km signs! It was as if the chap who measures the roads sometimes used a metre rule and on other days picked up the yardstick by mistake. Whatever, it really did start to feel like a long way to Tipperary!
Safely installed in our lovely BnB - Ach Na Sheen, we are a little weary but satisfied that today we completed our fourth ride in excess of 100 miles, we only have a day left to our goal and, more importantly, our Justgiving total got over £6000. Thank you so much for all your support. If you haven't had a chance to add to our total yet, go on...you know you want to! www.justgiving.com/c2c2c2c
Stats for the day
Average speed: 16.6mph
Percentage of perfect road surface: 65%
Percentage of cheese-grater deteriorated top dressed roads: 35%
Number of cows passed: 2468
Read the other posts about the ride here: