We woke to a BEAUTIFUL day and it would remain so for our last day of riding from Derry to Malinhead . . .
. . . lots of old bikes used for store front advertising in Ireland . . . Derry was no exception . . .
. . . so I wonder if this is for Irish driving down the roads . . . or driving off the tee . . . good advice for both!!!
. . . nice riding today as we rode out to Malinhead along the Atlantic . . . PERFECT conditions
. . . we were on an R road (Regional) which are similar to our county highways. This one had a nice shoulder too.
. . . at this point we turned off the R road, onto a series of L roads (similar to our town roads) that would take us the remainder of the way to Malinhead.
. . . a typical L road. Paved and no shoulder . . . but VERY light traffic, just as they had been for the whole trip. A car passing you every 15 minutes was pretty much the norm. The routes we took on this trip had no tour buses!!!
We were on our big climb for the day, mostly 11% with some 14-16% thrown in for good measure and I figured we had to be close to the top . . . the gps tells the story . . .
. . . this looked like the top . . .
. . . further evidence by Tom’s message written in chalk . . . ‘BAC 39,000 feet of climbing’
. . . and here was the lookout that welcomed us to the most northern tip of Ireland. You can see the Atlantic on both sided of the peninsula . . . a very dramatic moment.
. . . up ahead was Malin which would be our meet up point. Not knowing how the weather was going to be today, Tom and Tony suggested we do a staggered start, with slower riders going first from Derry, so we would all assemble about the same time at a café in Malin. We would then all ride the remaining distance to Malinhead, together, assembling all at once for our group photo. This was a good plan and insured if the weather was bad, like it was at Mizenhead three weeks ago, no one would be left standing and shivering in the cold while waiting for other riders to arrive. But the weather ended up being . . . PERFECT!!!!
. . . the only thatched roof I have seen along the way that has ‘gone to seed’!!!
. . . only five miles to go on the epic adventure . . .
. . . this had to be the ‘most northern’ church and graveyard in Ireland. Not much around!!!
. . . but of course there were sheep, just as we have seen along the roads the whole trip.
. . . finally is was time to ride along the coast . . .
. . . with a few more farms along the way . . .
. . . and of course a final climb up to the Malinhead monument.
. . . we all assembled for the group photo using letters that Tom and Tony had printed to describe our adventure. GREAT IDEA!!!!
It was the end of the ride. I turned off the gps and the satellite tracker to preserve the final days data. From the monument, we biked about three miles back to the bus that would transport us to Derry. Local traffic jam for Peter and Charlie!!!!
No time to lift a pint . . . we would celebrate later!!!!
We took the pedals of our bikes, turned the handlebars so Tony and John, who had reappeared with the second Iron Donkey van, could haul the bikes back to Derry . . . and we loaded onto the bus.
. . . it was all done now, but the packing. Traci TREK went back into her new case emJay had bought me for my birthday, every one cleaned up, packed up . . .
. . . and soon it was time for one last meeting. Tom reviewed the highlights of the trip . . .
. . . and so did Tony. There are probably three main routes to bike ‘end to end’, some shorter than others. Tom and Tony had devised this route to take us up the east side, across the middle and then up the west cost. The trip had never been done this way . . . we had broke new ground and made riding history!!!
Then it was time for happy hour where the drink of choice was gin and tonics . . .
. . . or custom latte’s such as the one Peter had (DV for DaVinci’s, our hotel) . . .
. . . but for me it was a celebratory martini . . . first one in three weeks!!! A great end to a great trip. The next martini will be with my Smoochie . . . I miss her.
Final thoughts to come . . .