August 25, 2011
Being on the road as a trio was starting to get to us. We were mentally preparing for our participation in the SSWC 2011 but were distracted by generally un-fun issues with traveling in a foreign country. Phunner and I needed a break from Boozy and having several days of not so great sleep I was feeling sensitive and irritated.
We slept in and walked around Limerick looking for breakfast. We had gone to a cafe when we first arrived to Ireland in a very cool area of town and I wanted to head back that way. A misunderstanding and 7 days of traveling together ended up in us not knowing where to go and being angry and hungry. I proceeded to spend 15 minutes in meltdown on a bench right around the corner from where I wanted to be (unknowingly). Phunner and I are really not good at being upset at each other and we both came back to center and re-grouped. Even when you are a seasoned traveler and great travel companions together – things can’t always go smoothly. This was a disappointing revelation for me.
(Ya, no photos of this one…)
I picked myself up and we nixed the wandering around by walking into the first cafe we found. We ordered breakfast sandwiches which have to be the worst dining option in Ireland. What were these Irish people thinking?? Ketchup, sausage and ham smashed together in sandwich bread is really gross. Top that off, our coffee was worse. It tasted like toilet water. Not that I know what that tastes like but I’ve hugged enough toilets in my unlucky drinking nights to know what it probably would taste like.We couldn’t help but laugh…and pick apart our ketchup smothered sandwiches to find something of nutritional value and sustenance to take on the rest of our day.
We headed back to hotel to check out and grab cars then headed to Kilfinane for SSWC. Kilfinane is a really small Irish town that has a couple pubs, a “Mr. Kabobs” and a restaurant. It consists of one small main street and a few side streets, a soccer field (our new camping village) and a cafe.
It was apparent from the start that the event coordination and organization was…lacking coordination and organization. We drove right in to the camping area (without any reservation confirmation) and set up our camp.
We then built up our Bronto Bikes. We are big fans of the Brontos. Custom made with couplers, mine fits me perfectly. The couplers are awesome because we can fit our bikes into a smaller bike bag and not have to pay for traveling with a bike. We just check it like any other bag.
Next course of action was to continue to try and find someone (ANYONE?!?!) who could help in changing out my tougher gear for an easier one (ah, the downsides of singlespeeding….) Unicycles (Uni meaning University…not those weird one wheeled biker-types) from Limerick had a bike maintenance area set up but wanted 40e for an 18 cog gear. Expensive. I offered to trade my 16 and Chris, the owner of the shop, offered to let me borrow his 18. I love Irish people and their darned hospitality! Problem finally solved! (Thanks Chris!)
We (meaning Phunner) put the new gear on my bike then went into town for food. Not a whole lot of choices but I got excited when I saw that Mr. Kabobs had doners! I had became a big fan of doners during my stay in Germany last summer (Thanks, Mirko!) and was super excited to see a place in Ireland that had them! Unfortunately, it was not a GERMAN DONER at all. It was not good and cost me 8e. What. A. Shame.
I was still pretty cranky and tired from the traveling and lack of good food we had in Limerick. I was also fighting a cold. Ah, those a-hole French coughing dudes were finally making me sick! I went back to our tent and took a nap. It was raining when I woke up. Ugh…motivation to ride bikes was low before the rain (tired and COLD!) and now it was close to none. Everyone left to go biking…and I chose to rest. Call me anti-social or un-fun…I needed some ME TIME. And I enjoyed it. I read my Kindle…slept…daydreamed…and just enjoyed SILENCE. The dudes came back a bit later and they demanded I come out of the tent and go have some fun in town. A fair demand, indeed. I bundled up in every piece of clothing I brought and we headed to town.
We could have gone here – where all the other bikers were hanging out…
Or we could go into a non-descript door and see what’s on the other side…
We, of course, went through door #2 and found an awesome bar inside. I sipped on my Jameson and ginger ale fireside in a cozy living room that has been around since 1870. The owner is an incredibly friendly guy from the area and used to work for Giro helmets (explains the helmet in the window…). We were STILL hungry and asked if we could just…bring some food in since this was yet another pub in Ireland that did not serve food. He said we were welcome to bring our own food in and even joked he would serve it to us. I love this place. We had a blazing fire and good drinks on a cozy couch…and it was the first time I was able to take my jacket off in Ireland and comfortably sit in a t-shirt and jeans. All that cranky irritability just melted away…