Tonight a hodgepodge of items.
Firstly thanks. Yes I know we have to cycle again tomorrow but today was a very long day. 100 miles. And Leo has to go to work tomorrow so we need to give him a huge thanks for anticipating all our needs and keeping our spirits up. Thanks also to Natalie who is doing tomorrow for us. She has already however undone all our good work over the last three days, ‘forgetting’ what was on Philips itinerary for the day and persuading him that no one bothered reading it. (Actually some of us didn’t but will remain nameless). Natalie has taken his itinerary home to study and use to draw up a visual map of the days trip, so I would suggest that anyone who wants a hassle free trip tomorrow should think of doing the same.
Today had the first and hopefully only puncture but it was swiftly dealt with.
The Cuan put up a lovely meal for us when we arrived back and we kept them waiting because of the warmth of the welcome form friends and family when we arrived back in Strangford. So thanks to Caroline and Peter for that. Best meal we had since we started.
The morning coffee was at Alchemy in Greyabbey. The service and welcome was amazing with bottomless coffee, 20% discount and personal attenti9n form the owner. All good publicity for Mainstay.
We were delighted to be joined by Jim’s friends (Joe and James) and Lisa. They added to the craic and Joe didn’t even complain when Patrick rode over his foot. They had been travelling from comber along the bypass, which was being te-tarmaced but the workmen let them continue on rather than do a big detour. Nice men.
I didn’t get my sausages this morning for breakfast because we were leaving the hotel too early for a cooked breakfast. Instead we had a basic cold cereal and toast . But, clever idea, Leo stayed behind and when the hot food came out gathered a load of sausages and bead and w all had cold sausage sarnie at the first stop. We note that while Leo was waiting for the sausages he wisely availed of a full irish fry himself with all the trimmings.
At Daft eddies the sustenance came out of the van and here I should also mention that several cycle shops have been very generous to the riders. Lisa got discount and free energy bars in Chain reaction and Philip got loads of stuff from Decathlon.
Although Philip forgot to tell everyone that there were three hills up from Sketrick to the main road, really turn left at the top doesn’t really cut it, he was forgiven because the route he chose had lovely scenery and they bypassed most of the very problematic drumlins from comber to killyleagh that I knew intimately because I struggled on a training run a week previously. Can I have a copy of your itinerary please Philip for the next time I cycle around the Lough?
Just a few more oddities. At dinner we learnt something. Did you all know why we say by Hook or by crook? Well, according to Kevin it is because there is a place in Wexford with a headland called Hook head on one side and one called, you guessed it, Crook head on the other. A ship gets into Wexford by Hook or by Crook. This has nothing to do with anything else in this blog, anything else that the group were discussing , in fact just nothing else but don’t blame me.
If anyone wants to have desert in the Cuan they could do worse than imitate Leos choice -butternut squash sundae for desert, Yum. That’s what he ordered and the waitress brought a delicious concoction. The waitress was a little more agitated when Lisa wondered if her panna cotta would be hot and I suspect may need a day off to recover from serving us this evening.
Everyone here has faded and gone to bed. Ready to be back in the saddle at 8.00, or was it 8.30? Oh Hell, where did I put that itinerary?