Here's the thing. We packed for the trip. Then we had to pack for Inishmore separately, leaving our suitcases behind and taking a pack for two days. From that, we pack for our daily rides. At this point, I've packed and repacked so often I have no idea where anything is. It's a miracle if I get through this trip without losing my passport (and my mind).
But the ride is so glorious, I kind of don't mind. So different from The Burren. So green. And surrounded by the natural beauty of antiquity:
Back on the docks of Rossaveel, we rejoin our bags and reshuffle our gear once again (don't need those hiking shoes). And we're off for a 10 mile ride to a family restaurant.
As we begin our ride to Connemara, we enter a highway with sparse but fast-moving traffic. And a steady stream of ascents.
And everything looks good. Until we turn off the main road - and that's when things start to go south. We find ourselves on an open stretch, buffeted by a relentless headwind (hey, where did that come from?).
And oh look, the grass really is greener!
We've been warned that these bogs are very easy to sink into, and the reason we've been warned is because of the Green Door. At first I thought this had something to do with Ireland, this being the Emerald Isle and all. But no, it's a euphemism for outdoor rest stops (a euphemism in itself), which sometimes become necessary on long rides. I've used the Green Door once but the thing is, if you choose to use it in a peat bog, you could become a statistic.
We slog along, the miles seeming interminable. But then suddenly, a final right turn, and it all seems worthwhile.
First stop: the bar where I order a shot of Red Breast (12-year-old whiskey). That's just what's needed to warm these cockles. This is not a habit I will continue in New York, alas. Alcohol and breast cancer don't mix. But I'm in Ireland now.
We head off to a sumptuous dinner after which we get a demonstration on the art of making an authentic Irish Coffee. More whiskey! I demur - not because of the whiskey, but because of the caffeine. Now that I finally have a decent sleep schedule, I'd like to hold onto it. Tomorrow's ride is 31 miles with a longer option. Normally that would be nothing for me. But now I'm a little wiser. Headwinds and rain will determine extra miles.