Thursday, September 1, 2011

The amazing cyclist did a new record in long distance cycling!

Tuesday, 30th of August. I did a new record in long distance cycling: 167.5 kilometres – this maybe could be not only a long distance record for this tour but also in my cycling history, but I'm not sure about that. The first 50 kilometres I cycled the N 25 road up to Cork, not that much interesting because of the street's character, but I did extremely fast cycling! I had an average of 23.6 km/h (that's most likely also my personal record in general related to long(er) distance average). And even at the end of the day I still had an average of 19 km/h. I don't want to boast, but this is nearly unbelievable to me, too. Altogether it took me 8 hours and 45 minutes pure cycling.

I had a nice break in Cork, sitting in a pub, drinking some cappuccino and eating yesterday's roll while discovering a new favourite band – Fleet Foxes – by listening to their Album Helplessness Blues. And I had also a nice talk with two man sitting next to me who were interested in my cycling (one of them is a journalist, so maybe I become popular now…)

When leaving Cork I lost my way, bound to the N 25, which cost me 10 extra kilometres at all. And the periodic hooting of the car drivers on this motorway like three lane road doesn't made it better. (We disagreed about how much space I was allowed to take.) When I finally found the R 600 the first five kilometres were heavy uphill, so it took me 65 kilometres until the landscape was enjoyable. This also meant it went to be hilly and I had advertise winds – which curiously affected only me. The plants, bushes and trees held it was windless.

Nearly the whole day it was cloudy (and thereby cool), and it looks surely funny when nevertheless I am wearing sun glasses because of wind protection – "It's dark twilight… and we're wearing sunglasses". This day it constantly happened that I thought to be slow and automatically changed down, to use the smallest of the three front sprocket, but was still ten km/h to fast for doing so.

After 112 kilometres I had and definitely needed a long break and some salty, warm things to eat. This exhausted feeling came all of a sudden over me. I found Grainne's Bar in Timoleague, which was quite the right choice (even though there hasn't been an alternative since the last ten kilometres…). This pub had been the Award Winner of Best Irish Traditional Pub as the Dining Pub of the Year 2001, 2004 and 2005. And Grainne is a really nice woman.

Back on my bike the sun came out. From Clonakity I called Marek, my host for this night (and also the next days). A nice butcher lady lent me her mobile phone (she offered it by herself, when I asked for a public phone – it's really not easy to find public telephones, but there are so much lovely people in this world…). Then it became dark outside.

Among Clonakity and Skippereen I cycled through some very dark areas. No lamps, no civilization, just my little bike light. Dark road, much darker trees and bushes surrounding me on both sides, the idea of a blurred light blue far away over the horizon. I felt I was cycling uphill, and later that I was in some height, but had no orientation at all (so I was unable to see signs, too). Kind of borderline experience. Very intensive, especially when you stop and listen to the silence and look at the stars. – So much stars! So bright! It kind of frightened me to stand in this absolute darkness.

There were also cars who passed respectively came towards me from time to time – and about 50 percent of them didn't turn off their driving beam … But it was nice how the lights of the cars behind me made the street's cat sights (placed in the road) reflecting, so you could see how the road turns. Among Skippereen and Baltimore it was once again just dark, but had another character. Smaller road, more winding, close to the sea (which I couldn't really see but feel), also some cold from the bottom and ground fog, that one could only see when a car was passing. And once again this unbelievable starry sky. So bright I could see the milky way, and all the stars appeared in three dimension – and I could also see the lines between the stars which make the constellations.

When I reached the border of Baltimore (without noticing) someone called my name, and out of the dark Marek appeared, who has waited for me after coming back from a meeting. It was 10:30 P.M. Walking through the night on a small path up to the little scruffy boat where Marek is living at a few months ago together with Anne, who is staying at this place for years. Food, warmth, harbour.

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