Another bad night’s sleep, due to being too warm, and listening to the lashing rain outside made me steel myself for the day ahead. At breakfast I was glad to see that Tuam, unlike parts of Cork city, was not under two feet of water.
I was away by 8.45 am, and soon dispensed with my waterproof, which I had donned as it had been spitting when I started. The scenery was unremarkable for the most part, but with fields under water testament to the amount of rain that had fallen recently.
The miles went in quickly, and thirty miles passed before the first spot of rain as I cycled through one of county Roscommon’s peat bogs, with piles of cut turf by the side of the road. Kevin insisted that this didn’t count as rain, and it petered out a few miles later, so I must have been riding right on the edge of a shower.
Kevin was staying close by, but I took the wrong turn in Boyle, and we were separated for the next five or so miles. When we did meet up again, I had donned my armwarmers, windproof gilet and waterproof trousers, as I thought it was raining. Apparently not, according to Kevin. I was beginning to think that any precipitation short of diluvian didn’t pass muster with him.
With a quiet road and reasonable road surface we tried something that we had talked about since day one, namely drafting. This involves cycling close behind a car, so as to eliminate wind resistance, making high speeds relatively easy to achieve. It took me a while to realise that close meant really close, about 2 feet away from the bumper. Once there, it was relatively easy to achieve speeds of 35 mph, although 30 was more comfortable. The tiring thing was the concentration required not to get that bit too close and touch the bumper!
As we were going so well, I decided to try for Manorhamilton for lunch. Kevin went on ahead, but not before I had made the wrong decision not to replenish my water bottles. The sun was shining more strongly, and I ran out of water with about 10 miles to go. I saw a sign for a holy well, but when I stopped to investigate, I saw that it, too, had stopped. I was very relieved to see Kevin arrive back with supplies a few miles short of the town.
After rehydrating, we got to Manorhamilton, and had lunch in the car while hearing thunder rolling around. With 80 miles done by 2 pm, and only 20 to go to Ballyshannon, it was not a hard decision to continue on to Donegal town to overnight.
We went to Ballyshannon via Garrison, thereby calling in on Co. Fermanagh. I then had a lovely cycle along Lough Melvin, taking the opportunity to phone Denise, as I had UK cellphone coverage. I had a call from Kevin, asking where I was, and if I had just got a soaking. The shower he was in missed me, and I was topping up my tan at the time!
The miles from Ballyshannon were straightforward enough, but with great views of the Blue Stack mountains past Donegal town. Kevin secured accommodation in a B&B overlooking Lough Eske, and after I had a long, hot shower, we headed into Donegal town for dinner in bright sunshine. It is hard to believe how bad the weather has been elsewhere in Ireland. Someone is looking after me 🙂
Statistics for day 3
Distance: 112 miles
No. of dry miles: 90 +
No. of dry miles more than I was expecting: 90+
Feet climbed: 5150
No. of dogs chased by: 0
No. of times got lost: 0 (I’ve started asking people!)
No. of times Kevin got lost: 1 (but he said it lasted all day!)