Ireland Coast 2 Coast Charity Cycle Ride Challenge 2004
Firstly thanks to all those kind and generous people that sponsored me - much appreciated. I managed to raise approx £270 for the Diabetes Federation of Ireland and the British Heart Foundation - so give yourselves a pat on the back ;-)
OK I am not a super fit mega athlete but I can ride a bike... and that's always a good start when attempting a charity bike ride! The charity bike ride in question is the 'Ireland Coast 2 Coast Charity Cycle Challenge 2004' on the 10th and 11th July 2004, from Dublin to Gallway on the Saturday along the Esker-Riada cycling route and back the same way on the Sunday. This was a hefty 240 mile challenge done over 2 days and that was twice the furthest distance that I had ever cycled in that time. This was no walk in the park for me and in fact it hurt. Quite a lot.
Summary: 240 miles in 2 Days...
Roads: gravel in parts... quite often on corners :-/ Significant sections of the roads were of poor quality i.e. bumby, pot holes and even with grass growing in the middle! That said though the roads were very quiet in the main and therefore well suited to cycling (on a mountain bike!).
Organisation: Despite the fact that the info packs were only printed very late in the day the organisation was very good, the staff were friendly and supportive and the signposts marking the way were very clear. The support crew were never far away, were well co-ordinated and were keen to help... which is just as welll as their services were called on quite a bit!
Refreshments: At the drink stops there were plenty of energy drinks, bananas and chocolate bars so fuel was never really a problem however I would have liked to have been supplied with free water as sometimes I was just plain thirsty rather than in need of refuelling. The lunch both ways went down well but soup and sandwiches wouldn't have been my first choice!
Scenery: Very lush and gently rolling in general... it looked much nicer in the sunlight than it did in the rain! The route wasn't very hilly so we never gained any real height to get stunning panoramas but it was very quiet and tranquil with the exception of a couple of spirited dogs that gave good chase.
Social: The riders seemed to be keen cyclists (of varying abilities) and at all the rests there seemed to be a plentiful supply of interesting and interested people to talk to. Even if only about 'group sets' and the Tour de France! A good bunch of men and women.
Difficulty: Let's be clear, this was not a leisure ride. Some people hopped in the support van every 10 miles for a breather, others cycled only one way but most did the full distance, some with apparently little effort. However for me I found it a real physical and mental challenge with each press of the pedal I found myself asking the same question: "why am I doing this?". Which after about 8-9hours can become a bit monotonous. So yes, it was (for me) very hard and I didn't really enjoy it at all but then that wasn't why I was doing it was it!
Next Time...?: Yes I would do it again. However I would make sure that I had trained more and I would consider doing it on a mountain bike or an audax / hybrid. Also I would make sure that I stayed in a pack for as long as I was comfortable and would then travel at my own pace!
In One Word: Gruelling..
If you sponsored me - much appreciated - and even if you didn't you can still show your support for the Diabetes Federation of Ireland and the British Heart Foundation by posting your cheque payable to 'Austen Jones' to 1 Oban Close, Tingley, Wakefield, WF3 1JU I - thank you! As I said before I should be collecting approx £270 which is pretty good (even if only just over £1 per mile!!)
Page updated: March 2007 by Austen Jones