With our 32 county cycling challenge now complete we can now reminisce about our peddle powered journey around Ireland and the warm welcome we received in every town, no doubt we'll be regaling stories of 'daring do' for years to come to those prepared to listen...; God love them! The welcome we received when we rode the final few miles into Kilrea and onwards toward home was absolutely over whelming. The support we got from our families and friends who cycled out to meet us on route, some coming as far as Ballyshannon for the full final leg; 100 miles of rain and hills; well done lads, an absolute credit to you all. A huge thanks to all the children, friends and everyone who met us on bikes along the route; the conditions were so poor it was a huge tribute to everyone that would have even considered making this massive effort in such terrible weather.
And to those who couldn't make it into town to be part of the welcoming party, they were warming the tea pots and preparing a feast of sandwiches and cakes at home; we can't thank you enough, without this much needed sustenance I think all the soaked cyclists would have been hypothermic within minutes of stepping off their bikes.
Many thanks to everyone for the interest they have shown in our challenge and for the kindness and empathy everyone have shown us as a family to the inspiration behind our fundraising and this challange 'Anna', our daughter, sister and friend who passed away three years ago this month from a brain tumour, Anna was a very driven girl and would have been very much in support of what we were doing knowing it would help other children suffering from cancer.
To everyone who followed our route on line, for reading these blogs every day, to everyone who has donated their hard earned cash to the charities we're supporting and to our sponsors who helped make this event possible. Thanks to the charities themselves who provided the much needed assistance whilst helping us promote the event and for showing such a personal interest in what we were doing. To all the lads and ladies who helped us off the line; marshalling the first few hours of the event and keeping everyone absolutely safe. To the folks we met on route who made our over night stays so comfortable, those who fed and tea'd us, washed our damp clothes... ekk! To all those wonderful people whom we met along the way and took the time to talk to us about our adventure.
Having had a day to recover from the 700 odd miles on the road over the last week and having had some time to reflect, I take great pleasure in paying tribute to the great men who took part in this challenge with me 'Mr Paul Donnelly & Brian Calvert', for their dogged determination and stamina to complete this challenge in such horrendous weather, they broke the mould when they made you guys. And finally to the man who supported us on route, who came to our assistance when we got lost, fed and watered us, oiled our bikes, drove the van, provided moral support and counselling... managed the kitty, kept the beer stocks replenished and cool box cool, the list goes on, 'Mr Paul Marshall' you are one in a million.
Thank you one and all, suffice is to say good night and god bless, until the next time amigos!!!