Morning came around soon enough, and everyone who had booked accommodation at Trinity College got a breakfast at the campus cafeteria. Remembering the wise words a colleague once told me when going off-site, “Have a big breakfast, you never know when your next meal is going to be”, I loaded up. During breakfast I met Ciaran, who it transpired lived just a few miles from me and had worked in my Local Bike Shop, the brilliant Bike Boutique (unfortunately now closed due to rent increase). Small wheeled world.
From breakfast I decided to take an extra scone and banana for the journey. I was to find a stale weighty scone at the bottom of my bike bag a few days later.
After breakfast, I packed up, chucked my bag with jeans and top into the transit van that would carry it to the finish and using Google Maps for navigation, cycled with another participant the 8 miles across Dublin to the TransAtlanticWay Race starting point.
Day one went well. No aches or pains. Quite a few hills. I felt sick and had a severe headache from 2-4 pm because of the sun and heat(!) but felt better as soon as it cooled down. Fell over the bike whilst reversing it to take a photo of a cow. Bike and rider ok, but the cow scarpered; no photo. I met lots of nice riders on the way. And as the day progressed I assumed my position neat the back of the pack. I think we’re the cool kids at the back of the bus. Already regretting my decision not to bring deodorant. Checked into hotel at planned time and had a dinner of beer and crisps. This hotel is as far as my planning went. From now on I’ll be ad-libbing it. Tomorrow to Derry and then onto the transatlantic way. Not looking at the weather forecast as there isn’t any point!
From Dublin we had to navigate our own way up to Derry. A suggested route was provided. I looked at plotting my own route but it didn't offer significant savings of distance or elevation, so I chose to follow the suggested route to avoid any 'private land' or 'sustransy' issues.
The rules for navigation to Derry were to avoid all Motorways, all main "A" roads in Northern Ireland, all main "N" roads in Southern Ireland, with the exception of being able to cross over or pass through an "A" or "N" road to continue a journey or re-supply in a town.
Here is a map from trackleaders.com that shows all the routes ridden by the riders this year: