We rolled out of Kenmare this morning after an excellent breakfast of buttermilk pancakes bacon sausages and eggs. Having a good breakfast might slow you down a little bit right out of the chute but it sure gives you the staying power. Two or three hours later you are still strong.
The weather was a very nice 15c with a cloudless blue sky. However nobody is suggesting that we take the full set of rain gear off the bikes. We all have huge trunks on the bikes filled with rain gear which fortunately has stayed packed away.
We were headed west from Kenmare following the Ring of Kerry. This is a famous route which takes you out on the Kerry Peninsula along the south side of the peninsula to Portmagee at the end and then along the north shore to Killorglin and then south to Kenmare. Today we did the south side of the peninsula.
We were following the main N70 road from Kenmare to Kenneigh where we turned off and headed west on to the R566 which is more of a secondary road. However both roads had very nice smooth pavement so we made good time. It was beautiful with the sun shining down and reflecting off the ocean, the green hills and highly weathered rocks highlighting the hills. There is a big grade just as you leave Beenarouke which is about 10 kms of around 3-5%. Then at the summit they have been paving and there is a 10 kms section of the nicest smoothest pavement all the way in to Waterville. Flying down this section of road was so much fun. At the end of the peninsula is the Coomanaspic Pass. It is the highest pass in all of Ireland at over 230 meters. We were just a few kms out of Portmagee but there was the pass. Coming from the south there is a big long run up of about 2 kms of 5-8%, and then there are two switchbacks with three sections. Each of these sections are about 1 km and are 12-18%. Then the last section of approximately 200 meters is 22%. I managed to get to the end of the first section before I had to get off my bike and walk. It was a really long and hot walk. By the time I got to the last 200 meters I didn’t know if I could even push my bike. Jos rode all the way to the top. Congratulations on a huge accomplishment.
This is a bank holiday here in Ireland or long weekend. So the roads have a lot of extra traffic on them. Even the secondary roads have a lot more cars.
One thing we were commenting on today as we were riding along is how beautifully painted houses and shops are painted, There will be a row of small houses and each one a different colour but all bright which an offsetting trim. There isn’t a speck of graffiti anywhere. There are a lot of old or ancient sites which are out in the middle of a field and not a speck of graffiti on them. In Canada and the United States you cannot find a rock or bridge abutment which has not been covered. It sure makes the entire country look and feel great.