Dingle Loop

TEAM CRAZY BIRD scrambled this morning to be out of our rental apartment in Killarney IE by 10 AM. Thanks to teammate Trent's good but wildly optimistic intentions in making us all homemade breakfast, we didn't vacate until 11. Our bus driver, Joe, however, arrived at 10 and we fed him some breakfast while he waited for our disorganized team to get ready.

Joe was an easy going person when it came to TCB shenanigans, although we were fairly well behaved today.

The bus, pulling a trailer full of rented bikes, drove us from Killarney to Dingle on the frighteningly narrow Irish roadways. I occasionally had to close my eyes and breathe deeply when an oncoming large tour bus would hurtle towards us, a bit over the center line. Bus driving in Ireland is not a job I would ever want. But Joe knew what he was doing and we made it to Dingle safely, after a brief detour to Kerry IE Airport to pick up teammate Kevin Eike, who had been horribly delayed and rerouted in his travels, thanks to American Airlines and their failed business model of canceling non-full flights. Sorry for the run on sentence.

Dingle is a small rural town on the westernmost part of Ireland (and indeed Europe). We biked a loop that, on paper, started and ended in Dingle. Being this was TCB though, we didn't make it the whole way and bus driver Joe retrieved us at a pub called Murphy's (the infamous!) in some nearby town, Ballyferriter IE, I think...I can never remember small towns I pass through on bike rides unless I write them down. This was actually good though, because had we finished the loop we would have had to pedal uphill in a serious headwind and cold rain (claimed Jason). Up until the last pub stop, it had been a tailwind with not many hills. In fact, the wind was so strong it actually literally blew us up some of the smaller hills. At one point when we briefly turned into the wind, it nearly stopped us in our tracks and it was chilly, coming off the North Atlantic Ocean and all.

The scenery was beautiful. Cliffs everywhere. Fog on the hillside. Actually, the fog was caused by the cold sea breeze pushing up onto the steeply sloped land. As it hit the warmer, moister air over land, water vapor condensed as fog. This was best visualized when we saw some islands off the coast. You could literally see the fog clouds trailing out like smoke from the upwind end of the islands as the wind slammed into the sloping cliffs and rocketed up the sides. It is hard to explain, but it was cool.

We stopped a lot, for both scenery and pubs, which is part of why we failed to complete the loop. The other part was the delay caused by the Kerry Airport detour.

Just about 200 meters before that last pub, in Ballyferriter (I think), team captain Jason had a fairly significant wipeout on his bike when he hit a raised curb at high speed. He was right in front of me and I saw it all unfold in slow motion. He properly rolled when he fell to avoid serious injury but he got a decent road rash and was shaken up. That is also part of why we stopped when we did, but so was the cold rain that pushed in while we played Left, Right, Center at Murphy's before getting picked up (I won €15!).

We didn't end up getting back to Dingle in the van until after 9 PM and we had to hustle to find food before all the restaurants closed. We ended up eating at a place called the Canteen. I had a hake filet that was quite good. Price wise, it was no Bud's of Dingle, but the portion size satisfied.

After dinner, most of the team went out to party at more pubs, but Jason and I retired to our shared room because he was tired and shaken up by his crash. I also wanted to have some time for a blog post, but I also feel a cold coming on and want to rest.

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