It was an early start this morning for 7am breakfast. We must compliment the Sligo Park Hotel for their superb hospitality, and it is certainly a hostelry that everyone on the cycle would recommend. The cyclists split into three groups and there was controversy from the start with Niamh Fleming deserting Donal's darlings for Deccies disciples. Investigations are ongoing into what promises were made. Declan Brady's group had a fantastic start to the cycle, reaching the first roundabout after 1 km without getting lost. However, things went downhill after that.There are rumours about that Clodagh Finn and Joanne McHugh are going to stage a coup tomorrow and take over the group. Clodagh was overheard saying,"we will have half of Ireland cycled if we keep following these lads".
Tom O'Sullivan took control of proceedings and drove on the group at a relentless pace. This struck fear into Brendan's group, the self styled "wolfpack". They decided that their only chance of saving face was to stop in Knock and pray for a miracle. Lead by Martin "butter wouldn't melt in his mouth" Buckley, the lads prayed for divine intervention. After leaving Knock, the lads thought they saw an apparition when Donal passed them at high speed as he reeled in his group.
Tuam was the destination for lunch stop after 100kms. There was a stand off of sorts as Donal was not too pleased with Deccie poaching Conor MacAree. It came to a head when Donal asked, "do you want me to cycle on my own?" We left Tuam and headed for Claregalway. Brendan decided to take his group for a short spin up the motorway, before turning and walking back.
A few kilometers out of Tuam, the heavens opened and all cyclists had to pull off thee road, such was the intensity of the down pour. While the first two groups on the road took "shelter" under some trees, Brendan's group were lucky enough to encounter Richie White with the club van. The lads piled in the back and waited for the worst of the rain to pass. Richie had to produce Dave Revin's big stick to get the lads back out of the van.
The rain did ease but persisted all the way to Ballyvaughan. The prayers in Knock did not help the "wolfpack" as Tommy Sull lead Deccie's group into Ballyvaughan first and showed them who's the boss. As he says himself, you can't beat the old dog for the hard road.