"It's a new day, it's a new dawn, it's a new life for me, and I'm feeling good." sang Nina Simone.
It's not a new life for me. It's business as usual. But after the Maracycle, I can say things are a bit better than last week.
The bad news, let's get it out of the way: we couldn't complete the bike ride. We got past the 100 kilometres mark (just before Drogheda, in Castlebelingham, see map below), and the sweeper bus came in a told us at that rate we wouldn't make it to the end in time, and they had to take us in. Frustrating, but considering neither of us had ever taken a bike ride that long in so little time (7h), we were happy that at least we got to cross the border!
Good news is: I'm sure that, if I was using my own bike, I'd have gone all the way. The bike I rented was great so that I could participate, but it was too big for me, which resulted in some serious back pain (I had a hard time reaching gears and brakes). It also had a lot less gears than my own, so I couldn't climb most hills. I'm sure E would have continued and made it to the end; he's way faster than I am! But he's a gentleman and waited for me most of the way.
We saw some incredible people along the way. We were the stragglers, having no fancy cycling gear, cycling jerseys, CO2 pumps, or triathlon bikes. Everyone looked a bit funny at us, but they were all supportive. At one point I had to push my bike uphill and everyone who passed me by said "don't get discouraged, you can do it." and so on. We were all trying to do something fun and good.
An old lady, who should be at least 70, was way ahead most people, and surprised the Red Cross workers on the sweeper bus, who were sure they'd have to take her on too. She was at the finish line waiting for us with a beer in her hand.
I also learned that you only need a mac-in-a-sac, water and a few bananas to get it done. Well, a lot of bananas.
I stil am hoping my bike will show up. I keep searching on every classified ads site, looking at Garda's page for stolen bikes, etc. Nothing yet, but I'm hopeful. As much as I could get another bike in the future, that bike had a sentimental value, even if I only had it for a short while. I know eventually I'll have to let go, but I'm keeping my hopes up for now.
By this time next year I'll be even in better shape, and will definitely complete the Maracycle in time. And I'll be feeling even better.