A very chilled and pleasant evening was had by all the group last night – we stayed in the bar in the hotel and sampled the local beer and wine. With some very tired people, exhausted legs and stiff shoulders people took it very easy and drifted off to bed early enough. They are saving themselves for the wrap up dinner on thursday night, although some felt it important to have one or two glasses of wine to help them sleep. A few of us chatted about previous cycle challenges and we want to send our best wishes and a speedy recovery to Eugene O’Leary who can’t be with us this year. See you next year Eugene.
Day 3 started a little bit earlier for some of our cyclists as 6 hardy soles met on the steps of the hotel at 7am and went for a quick refreshing, wash away the cobwebs, swim in the magnificent Adriatic. Pauline Hannon, Thomas Clancy, Eamonn Nicholas, Pat Kennedy, Padraic Benson and Charlie Hosty. The word is spreading about the early morning swim and I reckon that this group will grow over the remaining days.
I forgot to mention yesterday that our own Tom Hickey (the Overseas Events Manager for CMRF) has been cycling with group 3 all week and is thoroughly enjoying taking on the challenge – his quote is “never ask someone to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself”.
Today’s cycle was spectacular. Bellissimo! All of the groups headed south toward the town of Pesaro – a beautiful seaside resort. From Pesaro each of the groups took on the gruelling 5 KM steady climb up cork screw corners to the top of the “Panoramica”. What an achievement. It was absolutely amazing to see each and every person take on that challenge at their own pace and the fantastic way that those who made it to the top first, cheered and clapped their team mates over the finish line.
It was a display of fantastic cycling and a joy to see Paddy Kinsella, Arthur Ebbs and Alan Hinchy powering up that mountain. How Harry Hoare got time to sing a song while cycling up that 5km climb is beyond me! Donal Sweeney, Michael Kelly and Niall Mulrine (the Donegal team) all conquered that hill too.
Tom Hickey was telling me later that group 3 really enjoyed the challenge of the long climb. Eddie, who is their guide then led them all back down the corkscrew hills and onto the coast road toward home. Michael Flynn, Jim McCawl and the whole group had a wonderful day. A huge congratulations to all on group 3 for a fantastic achievement today!
Groups 1 and 2 headed for home on the high road, rolling hills were the order of the day. I know by now after three long days and challenging routes – our team are feeling it in their legs and backs, but remarkably there is not one complaint or groan. Our team Nurse Josephine Mulligan is on hand to help with any problems and the in-house team sports massage guru, John Newell is on hand to offer advice on stretches and exercises to help prevent and alleviate the cramps and stiffness.
I have completely and utterly fallen in love with this part of the world, the people are wonderful and friendly, the food, the beautiful language and the shoes! We have been blessed with the weather, as we had another lovely warm and sunny day today. Here’s hoping it lasts until Friday.
Spirits are high, craic is great and personal goals are being fulfilled….. what more could you ask for.