Thursday, June 19, 2008

Our Ulster Way Booky-Wook

On foot and single-speed mountain bike
David Creighton & Rick McKee
3rd – 8th May 2008

The Ulster Way is a 600-mile meandering loop of Northern Ireland, covering minor roads, paths, tracks, open mountain and bog-land, and taking in many of Northern Ireland’s Way-marked Ways.

On 3rd May 2008, Rick McKee and David Creighton embarked upon an adventure that had never before been attempted; the completion of the entire Ulster Way on foot and by bike in only 6 consecutive days. To add further spice to the challenge, the journey was undertaken on mountain bikes without any gears.


The Ulster Way
Why did we attempt The Ulster Way in Six Days? We did it to see if we could do it, to have fun with something different, to have an adventure, to see more of Ulster, and because nobody else (to our knowledge) had done it in that timeframe.

We knew it would be hard work covering six hundred miles in six days over all kinds of terrain, but we were sure it was doable. Six days was just too tight a time-frame to fully enjoy it, though. As it was, we were arriving every night late, completely wasted, just collapsing and waking up too few hours later to do the same again – we just had no time to relax.

The single-speed bikes were a mistake, in hindsight. It was fine for the first day or two, but it soon started to take its toll on our knees and upper bodies, as there was only one way up the hills unless we wanted to walk, and that was to get out of the saddle and just haul up. After a couple of days of it, we were getting pretty tired and lethargic, which is no mood to be in on a single-speed if you want to make any progress.

We completely underestimated the amount we would need to eat during each day, and the time it would take us to eat it. We tended to take a long lunch break and stuff ourselves with chips, beans, chicken and a tall coke plus chocolate and crisps, and the days were further punctuated with plenty of other shop stops and eating breaks.

We wanted to take our time, take pictures, enjoy the route and enjoy the trip, and other than meeting our six-day target (which was all we had booked away from work and families), we were in no rush each day - we would just finish when we finished!

The Ulster Way in Six Days is a trip we will never forget, but we have no immediate plans to repeat it, as it nearly killed us!


aquaasho said...

There. I read it all. Now you have to read my 7 page inetrview with Lizzy Hawker.

Seriously it's a great account, looking forward to the next installment!

Tango and Cash said...

I have already read your interview with Lizzy Hawker, but have yet to read the inetrview. I am really looking forward to it, though. :-)

aquaasho said...

Well if you're biking is as good as my spelling you'll do really well next week in Donegal....

Tango and Cash said...

I hope it's better than YOUR punctuation anyway! :-D

aquaasho said...

I did that on purpose....I swear...

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