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bike waw 2017

The crossroad. Day 4

Unfortunately today came the day when we had to part ways. Louis continues north, then back east along the northern coast towards Belfast. He’s planning to be home next Saturday. It’a amazing that after 4 days and over 1700km he’s not half way through the trip yet. A real long way round.

I know he was planning on taking a handy day today – just some 200km – and luckily he got the weather – a nice sunny day:

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Ballyconeely beach. Lone rider continues his trip!

Dave and I had to go back to Dublin. We live 10 mins away from each other but returned separately.

I opted in for early start. Got up at  7 and by 8.30 was already on the M6 back to Dublin. The goal was to be home before major traffic hit the roads. It’s a very long weekend in Ireland. A lot of people will be coming home today.

It took around 2 hours. The motorway is great for fast travel, but it’s suuuper boring. Nothing to remember really. I did a quick stop in Athlone to put on another layer, as it was pretty cold today. Probably the coldest I’ve been during that trip.

The first thing I did upon arrival home was to unload the contents of the panniers and hit my local service station for a proper scrub.

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I tried to ring up some of the local bike shops to see if they’d be opened today (I had almost all of the day ahead of me free, perfect for an oil and tires change), but It’s Easter Monday – everything is closed. I’ll have to make a visit tomorrow.

Dave in the mean time was making nice progress home,  with a pit stop at his auntie’s in Roscommon (it’s a slightly different route, hence we didn’t go together). I got a message from him later that he also made home safe.

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In The Burren yesterday.

I will remember these 4 days for a long time. It was a great adventure with a great company and some special moments. I’ve learned a lot (I’ll write about it more soon) and will definitely come to do the other half. Hopefully it will be later on this year!

Total traveled today: 230km – but it doesn’t really count, as it was all motorway 😉

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bike my travels waw 2017

Rubber required. Day 3

Another long day on the bikes. We left Dingle early enough, which is surprising as last night we went for a bite and couple of pint.

First leg of today’s journey was along the coast toward the ferry in Tarbert.

Honestly there are way to many nice places and viewing points to stop at all of them, but one of my favourites must have been Conor Pass. It’s the highest elevation mountain pass on the Wild Atlantic Way. Absolutely breathtaking.

As for moutain pass the visibility was very poor.

We boarded the ferry at 11.30. It’s 9euro per bike and takes around 30 mins to get u to Co. Clare.

From there we turned West and kept following the coast visiting Loop head

and eventually  into the Burren.

The Burren is one of my favourite places in Ireland so I was extra happy to visit on a bike.

Ailladie

We tried to avoid obvious tourist traps (such as Cliffs of Moher) but couldnt resist stopping at Alleide ( place I often visit for its climbing).

The Burren’ s roads are so narrow that its very common to get stuck behind a bus for 1h without an option to overtake. But we we  we headed towards total side roads where no buses go (nor anyone else). Another Louis special 😉

Side roads. Did many kilometres on these!

From there straight to Galway for city camping.

Experience tough me to pitch away from Dave’s tent aka snorting covern.

As for the bikes: they are holding very well! My tires are completely gone though.  I just have to power through on the motorway to Dublin tomorrow.

Distance travelled today: 352km

Total distance travelled so far: 1522km

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bike my travels waw 2017

Mind the gap! Day 2

I’m not going to go into turn by turn detail of out todays route as its almost imossible. There was a lot of twiesties and tournies. I’ll just say that we stretched the 44 km direct route from Cacherdaniel to Dingle into a 390 km mega marathon via places like:

Ring of Kerry

Lady’s view
Gap of dunloe
Slea head drive (above and below)

We missed a lot of photo opportunities/stops but if were to stop at all of them it would take us 16h to get to Dingle.

One thing i got to say though – no matter how good or bad  the weather is this entire area is just amazing. If you ever decide to come here remember to leave your accomodation early as there is nothing worst than being stuck behind a lime of cars. We were lucky enough that there weren’t to many cars out today.  Definitely a win.

Distance travelled today: 390km

Total distance travelled so far 1170km

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bike my travels waw 2017

Not if, but when. Day 1

Obviously it was raining almost all day. Obviously we got wet. Not a big deal. It was always a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’. Especially true in the west of Ireland.

The day started with a little unfortunate bike dropping incident. Dave’s VFR tipped over. No major damage. Just some cracked fairing. All good.

We started of via scenic route to Baltimore. Full Irish breakfast is the way to go for another long day. We made a quick stop by the Beacon and moved towards Mizen Head.

When I say towards I don’t mean the most direct route. It is usually the most obscure road. The one with a patch of grass in the middle. You know what I am talking about.

We also called in to Crook Heaven? Home of the most southerly pub in Ireland.

Moving along the northern tip of that peninsula we went on but due to fuel contraints we continued to Bantry to refuel.

From there went towards Dursey island, but on the way we diverted that to go up and down Healy Pass. One of the most awesome road in the country.

Moving on, next stop was Kenmare. It was raining on and off even though u cant see that on the photos.

Quick shopping and fuel stop there and we were on the world famous Ring of Kerry.

We decided to stop at Caherdaniel for a camping by the beach. Can’t beat that setup.

This was another very long day with some 8h on the bikes. This is takings its tall on everyone’s backs. Totally worth it though!

Distance today: 383km

Total distance so far: 780km

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bike my travels waw 2017

All systems operational. WAW Day 0

Each one of us had their own mechanical or electrial issues but its all behind now. Bike are packed up and we are all ready to go!

Overnight transformation: from a track bike to a tourer.
Louis’ KTM handsome as ever!
Dave’s VFR first big trip.

It is time to start the trip – destination – wild atlantic way. Or at least part of it. Dave and I willl have to call it quits on Monday, (due to tight work schedule). By then we should be in Galway, roughly half way thru. Louis will press on until Saturday week. The whole way.

The planned route.

Dave and I started the journey  together  roughly 1h ahead of Louis and decided to skip the motorway in favour of going via back roads. The first leg of the trip to West Corm  taken longer but spared the boredom of cruise control travel (that neither of us have).

We were very late reaching Cork and when Louis called us from Kinsale we were 1.5 behind him. We decided then to change direction west and meet at the camp site in Skibereen.  That meant not getting to the coast but it was ok. We still seen nice places! Places thay nobody ever stop by in. Not exactly WAW, but theybhad their charm.

Quick stop just outside Cashel with the Castle in the background

After travelling 400km we reached The Hidaway campsite in Skibbereen around 7.30pm. Louis wasnt long to join us shortly after.

Tomorrow we keep going west and hoping to finish around Ring Of Kerry (Caherdaniel). The plan is simple from now: “if the ocean isnt on our left, we are doing it wrong”.

Total distance day zero = 396km

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bike

At the track

Those who know me in person know that mu 2nd biggest hobby is my motorcycle. I’ve been riding for 7 or 8 years now, but it mostly is my daily commute or occasional day trip around Wicklow Mountains.

On recommendation of one of my friends (who also shares moto as well as climbing passions) I signed up for a track day traing in nearby Mondello Park.

The main straight that isn’t really a straight;)

It’s by far the biggest and most modern. track in Ireland, so definetly a place to be for any petrol head (2 or 4 wheels).

The training day is a prerequisite to actual track days, for which season is just starting. The course itself is split in 2 parts. Am is mostly classroom theory and slow speed manouvers practice (braking, circle, figure of eight, slalom). These were done in groups of 10 (there were some 30 people present today).

queuing for the brake exercise

The afternoon is all about applying gained knowledge on the track (in the National Configuration, which is 2km long of mostly right hand side turns).

3x 15min sessions (in 3 trainees to 1 instructor ratio) are meant to give a chance of dicovering potential of ones bike as well as a chance to taste what a normal track day looks like.

The instructors are  very experienced and obviously qualified and have no problem answering any questions. They try to match people with similar skillsets and pace together, for everyones enjoyment.

My bike patiently waiting for session nr 3

Short one on one sessions are also a thing (for those who struggle a bit) at no extra cost.

I got to say that in those few hours Ive learned more than I thought I would.

 Those are couple of things I discovered today:

  • I don’t need gears 4 5 6. 3rd gets me to 160km/h in no time.
  • Even as tall bike as mine (MT09) leans sooo much more that I thought I would ever be able to take it (even in the wet!)
  • Braking hard is fun and important, but only on a straight!
At the paddock. My yamaha and her new bff.

Would I go back to an actul track day? Probably not. Mainly because MT09 is just not made for it (you can do it, but its just a wrong tool for the job). The problem with track days is that they are additive, can be expensive  (dropping your machine contributes to that greatly) and to fully enjoy it you need specialized equipment (for instance I must have been the only bike with a centre stand!)

Most of the people I spoke to today either have dedicated track bike or dont  rely on the ones they race on for their daily commute. 

Random rider during S2

Either way, I recommend that training to all riders, even if you’d never go back to do a track day.

 Track is a different riding experience than road riding, but all the skills learned there translate directly to your day to day riding.

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A successful failure

NASA used that phrase to describe  their Apollo 13 mission (the one on which the movie was based, the one with Tom Hanks). It is one of my favourite terms to call seemingly glass half empty situation a glass full one. 

That is exactly what our climbing yesterday was (minus the, you know, all the space stuff).

We (Monika, Diarmuid and I) were planning on  going to Glendalough, but ended up in Dalkey. The weather wasn’t really there for a long day in the valley. Since it was Monika’s first outing in a long time we were aiming to have a pleasent, casual day.

Dalkey at 9am isnt particularly nice. Its usually still wet from morning dew. The rock also tends to seep with many places in the shade.

No one at the horizon in Dalkey at 9am

This means however that few places are hit with the lazy sun (if there is any).

We decided on thr East Valley sector and Diarmuid set out to do the wall’s  classic – Fang 15m (HVS 5a).  Apparently it used yo be VS and only upgraded some time ago. Even on 2nd it Didn’t feel particulary VS’y. I blame the early morning and wet shoes.

Monika approaching the crux. Fang, HVS 5a

After that we quickly moved across to the West Valley that would be normally in the shade. Early morning was the time to go there. 

We settled on Binglestein 24m VS 4b. It was my lead so I racked and moved out. That route didn’t see much traffic lately. It was overgrown and dirty wiyh whatever grew out there over the winter.

I Didn’t get too far… Binglestein VS. 4b

Unfortunately after just few moves I cut my right hand over some razor sharp edge. In a matter of seconds my entire was covered in blood. I had to bail. I actually never had to abandon a trad route below or at VS…. I guess there is a first time for everything.

It was relatively small cut… Almost nothing.

After I got down and cleaned myself up i decided to call it a day. With upcoming big motorcye trip I didn’t want to risk any further injuries.

Diarmuid went back up if its safe to at leaat finish the route but it was so dirty that he just cleaned up the gear and that was it.

Gear rescue operation

 1.5 routes doesn’t seem like a lot of climbing but it was a sucesfull failure.  We all had a good time. The weather was reasonable and Diarmuid could make it to Croke Park for 3pm GAELIC FOOTBALL league final.