3 months, 1 hurricane, 2 plane rides and a train ride later, I arrived at the Southwest Coast of Ireland ready for an epic adventure!
Cheeky Backs it up: I had planned my trip back in June, but when my departure date came I was watching Hurricane Harvey unfold around Houston. I was very lucky and came away with very little damage to my house. But there was some impact to my trip which would be cut 2 days short of the original plan. I had planned for 9 days of riding, but it was now cut to 7. Honestly, with the tragedies others suffered I can’t complain.
The tour company that planned the routes worked with me to help modify my new shorter schedule and we decided the best approach for my self-guided tour would be to combine two days of our routes into one longer day, and cut another day entirely. No problem! I was up for a little extra challenge. After all, I was feeling MEGA confident after my training for the AIDS Lifecycle just 3 months earlier, and I was excited to see as much of this incredible country as my legs would allow.
Okay! Now time for epic adventure!
I picked up my rented Fuji road bike in Killarney, changed out the saddle and pedals I had brought from my own bike at home, made a few more quick adjustments for size and fit and pedaled out the door. The sun was shining (awesome!) and the following day I would set off for an epic adventure riding the Irish coast, and a nice portion of the Ring of Kerry, through some gorgeous forests and up many mountains.
Quick view of the Itinerary, route, mileage, and expected climbing.
|Day||Route||~ Miles ridden / Elevation Climbed|
|Day 1||Killarney to Gougane Barra + an additional ride around Lough Allua||49 miles / + 3070 feet|
|Day 2||Combined two days into one —>||56 miles / + 3172 feet|
|Part 1: Gougane Barra to Glengarriff||20 miles / + 1010 feet|
|Part 2: Glengarriff to Kenmare||36 miles / + 2162 feet|
|Day 3||Kenmare to Waterville||38 miles / + 2454 feet|
|Day 4||Waterville to Killorglin||36 miles / + 2047 feet|
|Day 5||Killorglin to Dingle||35 miles / + 1624 feet|
|Day 6||Dingle Loop||0 miles, a rest day for my legs that felt like raw hamburger.|
|Day 7||Dingle to Tralee
Tralee to Dingle: happily took the train
|30 miles / +1250 feet
Bikes on a train!
When it was all said and done, the route map looked like this:
Wait, did you see that average speed?! I was clocking it in at a blazing 6.4 miles per hour average! When it was all said and done, the route map looked like this:
Honestly, I’m not a fast rider (after all, one of Cheeky’s core values is: If you can’t be fast, you still can look fast. So precautions were made and I wore my fastest looking socks throughout the trip). But 6.4 mph is significantly slower than my normal pace.
In fact 6.4 mph is darn-near fall off your bike slow!
There were a few occasions where I forgot to turn my Garmin computer off while stopped, so my little computer logged a chunk of 0.0 mph speed while I was eating lunch, but it really doesn’t matter that much. I intended to take a slow pace on this trip. Why rush through this gorgeous landscape or pass up opportunities to meet some amazing Irish people along the way?!
Well all of that is true, but what I haven’t told you is this: because of my quick planning and because I’m a little bit of an idiot, there was A LOT more climbing than I expected.
Which brings us to our story for next time about a little phenomenon I like to call “Irish Flat.”