Friday, May 09, 2008

Day 6 of The Ulster Way

Portrush to Belfast City Hall, via Ballycastle, The Moyle Way, The Antrim Hills Way, Ballyboley, Woodburn, Belfast.

98 miles of torture, 2,850 metres of vertical climbing, in a mere 17 hours!

Just finished the Ulster Way, back outside Belfast City HallWell, we finished, at 1:00am, having started the day at 8am with a photo for RNLI in Portrush. That was pretty much the last time we smiled until we finished.

Phil was our cheerful companion for 65 miles or so, into Glenarm, before heading for home, having run out of Minstrels!

In the morning, round the coast towards Ballycastle, my front cog exploded into 50 bits and I fell off as a result, which gave us a problem for an hour or so, as single speed bikes only have one cog! Flipping the bike over to change the cog also wiped our GPS data for that morning, as the reset button was held down, so that was further joy!

The generous Ivan Park, who had joined us for the morning at Dunseverick, allowed us to strip his bike for parts, and we left the poor lad with a useless bike and kept moving, stopping briefly for EXCELLENT fish and chips in Ballycastle.

The Moyle Way, from Ballycastle to Glenariff, was unspeakably unpleasant with the bike, albeit the scenery was lovely. We had to walk and drag and carry and haul our bikes for mile upon mile of soft, muddy, tussocky, heathery ground, and we hit our mental lowpoint half-way down Trostan, having thought that nothing could have been worse than coming off Slieveanorra.

By the time we reached Waterfoot, it was nearly 8pm, we were utterly depressed, and we still had an hour's pedal to Glenarm, and the entire Antrim Hills Way to do, before a 30-odd mile pedal back to Belfast. Our GPS conked out half way to Glenarm, but we took photos to document things instead.

Lynda Foy from Larne Borough Council met us in Carnlough with loads of provisions, including sweets, bananas, waterm orange juice, a torch, maps, etc etc, in anticipation of us tackling the Antrim Hills, and it was great to have the additional support.

We left the valiant Phil in Glenarm, and set off up the long 20%(!) road climb before we were to strike for the open hills. After much debate, and enormous regret, given how far we had come, we took what we think was the right decision NOT to go onto the open mountain in the dark, as we did not know those hills, the ground was rough, we had bikes to carry, there were cliffs (I could give another 20 reasons!).

So we effectively missed the open sections of the Antrim Hills Way, sticking to the high road instead, and headed for Ballyboley on the roads. This was particularly disappointing given how Lynda Foy has supported and encouraged us, but was the right move.

Tim Holmes, who started out with us last Saturday to see us off, and who has been a constant source of encouragement on text messages over the past 6 days, met us in Ballyboley to see us back to Belfast, and, given that it was 10:45 by the time we met him, we were VERY glad that he could take over some of the navigation to get us along the rest of the Ulster Way, through the likes of Woodburn (which he knows well) and back to Belfast.

Bugsy (my bro) met us outside the City Hall. The goths had all gone home, and there were just a few drunk girls to welcome us back, after our 600 mile round trip, but they were understandably stand-offish, given our condition.

Fillet steak and roast chicken, supplied by Bugsy, was ready for us in the car, and we devoured it with great gusto.

A big thanks to Tim for getting us back from Ballyboley- I honestly don't think we would have made it back without him.

We learnt loads on the trip, and will share a few conclusions and comments when we get our heads back together. Thanks for all your support over the last week.

(Terry, does that still count for a half-pint?...)

Davy & Rick
Tango & Cash


Mark W said...

Well done boys, You made it. Quite an achievement and another story to tell on our days out cycling (thank goodness, I was getting bored of the Transalp story)I just hope it hasn't put you off biking for good! It makes Malin Head to Maizen point seem like a silly girls ride.

See you on the trails.

Paul McArthur said...

That was a super human effort lads and even I'm impressed. You have set a very high standard of completed nutterism which should go down in a new chapter of the Annals of Ulster. Will it ever be beaten .....well Rowan was talking about doing it non stop the next time ;)

Well done. Enjoy your rest and your glory.

Aaron said...

Well done chaps - have been following your progress and am really looking forward to your recommendations of the best bits to have a crack at them myself over 6 months not six days!

Would have loved to have joined you but having read the reports not sure I would have been able to hack any of it at the pace you did it!

Shirley said...

VERY VERY well done lads 17hrs on your last day unreal!! hope you both recover fast take it easy for a few weeks ps. think you made the right choice not going out onto the open hills in the dark god knows what sort of looney bins you might of bumped into ;)

aquaasho said...

Well done! Great achievement, hope you're enjoying a well earned rest!

Dave McCann said...

Well done guys, what a feat and for a good cause. What's next apart from some cream on the posterior ?

Anonymous said...

You have achieved the impossible. Never thought anybody could get beyond day-2 of your schedule.
Am amazed you finished it.

Waited at the City Hall until about 12:55am - then gave you up for dead, drank both cans of Guinness and went home.

Might see you next week.
Big T.

PK said...

Absolutely fabulous achievement. Inspirational. I doubt if ANYONE will repeat this – or even be crazy enough to contemplate it. Thank you for keeping the blog up to date and allowing us to follow the proceedings. Great effort.

Anonymous said...

Lads that was amazing! You two will have to marry each other now! You are more than just See you soon.

Anonymous said...

more than just good friends!!!!!

Tango and Cash said...

Eddie, after what we have been through in the last week, we are barely even speaking to each other!! :-D

Anonymous said...

Well done boys,suppose we'll forgive you's 4 the antrim hills bit,dont honestly know how you's have managed to pull it off but I reckon meself and dec may buy those bikes and we gonna take up a serious junk food diet just in preparation for this silly alps thing you keep harpering on about.CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Anonymous said...

dammit, there's me sitting up in the Antrim hills with me trusty axe, sharp as ye like and ready fer murderin, and you boys cant even keep a date!

Seriously though, this was an awesome achievement, my tifter has been doffed, sirs!


rach said...

lol, yes i would believe that you two were hardly speakin by the end look at daveys face, he is WELL unimpressed! love it!

Tango and Cash said...

Doffing your tifter? I wondered what you were doing in that gorse bush, Andy!!!

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