So there I was on Monday sitting in work innocently tapping away at my keyboard and I get a text from a friend of mine; ''I'm off to sell a car in Portlaoise on Wednesday how do you fancy cycling back?"  I did what any self-respecting man would do in this situation and answered in the affirmative, you can't back down in such a situation.  This led to me sitting in the front of a Hiace van en route to Portlaoise on Wednesday morning after a quick meeting in Galway.  With our jerseys packed full of food and gorgeous weather in front of us we were off on an adventure. Coming from Connemara you expect to have the wind in your face as on almost every cycle it is almost guaranteed.  Imagine our surprise when not only was there not a breath of wind but not a cloud in the sky.

Setting off from Rathdowney we headed to Roscrea - Birr - Portumna - Oranmore - Galway - Oughterard - Maum - Home, a journey of some 200km.  Setting off we had two major worries - chafe and eating enough.  We made sure to put on anti-chafing cream and we were laden down with bananas, raw food balls and water.  Trying to use natural ingredients as much as possible, everything went really well until just after Oughtarard where my legs started complaining about this unneeded attempt to cycle so far after very little training.  I will say though, you cyclists in the middle of the country have it easy, lovely flat roads and great surfaces meant that until we hit Galway we were well up on our desired average of 25km an hour.  I don't think we saw a hill for the first 125km just gentle rolls.  Then the fun started after we got west of Galway. I have always debated whether it is better to know the route or not on such a long spin, the road descends into a series of up and downs plus a poor surface leads to much more rolling resistance and therefore less speed.

Coming into Maum Cross we decided to split while Mark headed on down the Inagh valley and home I took the harder route over into Maum.  Driving this road for the last 15 years I know it like the back of my hand so I found myself breaking it down into manageable 200m chunks just telling myself to get to the next stage.  Seeing as we had only started at 12 o'clock in the morning it was now pitch black but a beautiful evening meant all the stars were out.   I was struggling so decided to go from my real food diet and try a gel, great for about 20 minutes then my stomach started revolting and I had to make an unscheduled pit stop to relieve the pressure.  Not sure I'll be having them again!!

In other news only 2 1/2 weeks until the Devises to Westminister race so final preparations are being made and the fat lady is clearing her voice.  We are trying to pick a song to get in our head for the race . Suggestions on  a postcard please, we have already discounted a few of the old favourites such as  Row Row Row your boat, and 99 bottles on the wall.

Also just so there is proof is a link to the ride.