Mizen to Malin Day 5: Claremorris to Ballyshannon
On paper a long day, and this was made a lot longer by a headwind that was present for about 60 miles. Understandably after the previous night there was a slow start in the morning, but unfortunately a very heavy shower (10 minutes of absolutely torrential rain), made this a struggle. we didn’t even have time to get the raingear on when the downpour started, and had to head towards a cluster of trees for shelter. But we were soaked to the bone, and it took hours to dry out
We stopped at Charleston (after only 20 miles), in a nice little deli just off the main square, and had fine lunch (outside unfortunately, because we soaked and didn’t want to wreck the place inside). Because of the northerly wind the pace was slow, and we were wet can cold, so morale was fairly low, but we pushed on to Sligo, and despite another few showers we began to make some gains in speed, due to a slight downhill trend to the coast.
We got to Sligo just after 4, and stopped off at a petrol station just on the other side of town. At this stage morale was improving, and with the weather picking up and an end in sight we set for a bit of a pull out of Sligo. However we were still into the wind, and again we climbing for what felt like an hour (although it was in reality about 15 minutes!). Finally with about an hour to go the wind finally shifted to our favour, and because everyone just wanted to get to the B&B (Elm Brook) the lads started to lift the pace. For the last few miles from Bundoran to Ballyshannon the wind was fully at our backs and it was a relief to be able to just spin away in the big ring for once.
To be honest the day on the road was probably the least enjoyable, due to a lack of scenery and the weather, but as it happens because of the tailwinds at the end, combined with an urge to finish we actually finished the day with our highest average speed, of just over 15mph.
Karen, the owner of the B&B, was very friendly and obliging, and once again we were blessed to enjoy the hospitality of a great host. She very kindly put on a wash of our kit, and stowed the bikes away for the night. She also advised us to go to the Nirvana restaurant, but unfortunately it appeared we arrived on an off night. The food was average, and the 2 waiting staff were under pressure, and not overly-friendly (indeed the young waitress was making faces at another member of staff). Given the tiredness of everyone we just had a couple of pints and then headed home.