Thursday July 24, 2008, 92 km (57 miles) – Total so far: 967 km (601 miles)
We have two days to cross Ireland back to Dublin and today’s plan was to get as far as Mulligar, some 130km away. We were packed up and on the road by 9.30am and heading out of Galway when it became apparent that a nasty headwind was going to seriously hinder our plans. The headwind was relentless: the kind westerly wind that had been pushing us to Galway had swung around 180 degrees overnight and was determined to hamper our progress.
Darren suffered his first puncture at around 1pm – back wheel again. Closer inspection showed it was now well worn. It did have several thousand miles on it. We decided to switch the tyres around and discovered a split in the side too. We bodged a repair using a small piece of plastic and some electrical tape and carried on.
We stopped for some lunch in Ballyforan and continued our journey east. 5km down the road and Darren’s tyre is flat again. The puncture is easier to fix this time since we swapped the tyres. We patch the tube and the tyre and carry on carefully – parts of the tyre are almost threadbare.
We get to Athlone at 4.30pm and seek out a bicycle shop, where we locate and purchase a new tyre and tube for €25. We decide to camp here for the night as Mulligar is still 45km away. We pick up some food for dinner in a small Spar supermarket and head out of town to find the campsite.
Athlone’s campsite is a few km north of the town on the shores of Lough Ree. It is run by an interesting character who just wouldn’t stop talking, he was a lovely guy but he didn’t appreciate that tired cyclists just want to pitch their tents and head off for a shower. After dinner, we spent some time by the lough (lake) taking photographs before nipping down to the nearby Dog and Duck pub for a few beers before bed.