I mean, I can log endless miles in New York - I don't have to come to Ireland to do that. So even though we only have 21 miles on today's agenda - a morning's ride if I were with Back Roads - I'm beginning to wonder how important that is; to let go of the miles and appreciate the local color. Like whiskey on my porridge. And come to think of it, our guides.
For example, I never saw any guides do this before.
Meanwhile at the route talk, our guides actually use the word "Miserable" to describe the weather that's headed our way. When an Irish guide uses that word, you can take it to the bank. We lose no time getting underway, hoping for some decent miles before the skies open up. But as we ride over a series of rolling hills…
Then suddenly, our eyes are back on the road - because we have a hill coming up. And not just any hill. The Hill. Every trip has one of these: the make or break hill that defines the riding on the tour, that shows who has (and hasn't got) the Right Stuff, returning in recurring dreams long after the tour is over. This one additionally has a killer descent that precedes it.
I make it past the downhill with no problem and begin my ascent. My camera records my progress.
Oh, well then.
But at least it makes succeeding hills seem easy.
While we tour the Abbey, Catherine and Brian load our bikes for transport to Galway (no rest for guides).