Sunday, June 12, 2016

Donegal to Malin Head June 12, 2016

It poured buckets all last night. Several times during the night I was woken by the rain pounding against the window.  So I was hoping that it would have rained itself out. However that was not to be.  There was still a light rain coming down by time we were ready to push off at 9:10 am.

I had changed rain clothes twice before we finally left.  The final outfit was booties, leggings, bib shorts, short sleeve jersey and rain coat.  This proved to be a good combination as the temperature was around 18 C but there was a lot of water coming up from the road.

As we rolled out of Donegal we started up the Barnesmore Gap which is  a15 kms 5% grade up to the summit.  Like a lot of other summits I have been on the heavy cloud ceiling was at ground level. So it was cycling through a heavy mist. Fortunately there was almost no wind.  Although there may have been a very slight tail wind at times.

After coming off the summit at around 17 km into the ride the light rain abated and we had a very good run of almost 65 kms without any rain. The road was almost dry.
Jos wanted to stop at the 60 km mark so we had a quick 10 minute break in a gas station. I wanted to push on as there was a diner where I was planning lunch at the 67 kms mark and is still wasn’t raining. 

When we got to diner the consensus was to push on as no rain and a cyclist coming the other way said there was another place about 10 kms up the road. We got about 5 km further and then the sky opened up.  It was just hammering down. I pulled over to pull on rain pants and Jos and Patrick rode on. Ken and I wheeled on through the driving rain to the next town to next town where Jos and Patrick were foraging out of a grocery store. Ken ran in and got a bar and chocolate milk.  I knew if I stopped I would freeze in the down pour. There was still 39 kms to go and the temperature is down to 13C.  I rode on and Ken caught me about 15 kms down the road.

There was still a major climb of 230 meters up a 6% grade to cross the peninsula. .  At the top the rain was coming in almost horizontally and was stinging my face.  Glasses are in my pocket and I can hardly see the road.  The starkness of the surrounding hills was quite astounding and the heavy clouds and gray sky are in sharp contrast to the green fields.
More hills and more rain, around a bunch of corners past a huge tidal mud flat, up a bunch of really narrow road and finally there is a sign for the B&B.  I don’t know when I have been more glad to be finished. 

After a hot shower, I am sitting in the breakfast room the host brings in a big pot of hot tea and cookies. They were great.  I look out the window and the clouds have broken and the sun is out. WOW you can see the tower out on Malin Head!  The scene stretched out below us is unbelievable.

Agnes loads everybody into the car and ferries us up to take pictures up at Malin Head. You have to see it while the sun is out.  Tomorrow we will ride up there but the forecast is for more rain.

What an incredible day.  We covered 120 kms and climbed 1250 meters. Got rained on, froze, saw Malin Head in the sun and finished the day with an incredible supper in a local restaurant with fish right off the local boats.  It kind of makes Indiana Jones look like a piker.



Cynthia Bergland said...

Looks like you have made it to Malin Head..congrats!! I am looking forward to all the great scenery!

Riona Freeman said...

Terry, what is the Start/Finish line for?