Though it wasn’t a race, or any sort of competition whatsoever, I thought I’d share my most recent cycling adventure. My partner and I spent seven amazing days on bikes touring western Ireland. I’ll start by saying we had to meet in the middle. I love coordinating rides and figuring out the logistics and camping, etc. However, my partner didn’t want me to spend every waking moment researching and was enthusiastic for the affair only if there was a real bed at the end of every day…so we went with the REI tour. And I’ll say, I’d highly recommend it. The cycling wasn’t taxing (minus the nearly 30mph headwind with sideways rain one day) and the guides were absolutely amazing. There was only nine in our tour but only three of us determined to ride with fervor, so it actually made for a pretty intimate trip. And I’ll admit, having coffee waiting for me 15k into the ride, I’ll take that any day of the week. All in all, we rode from 30-70k a day. The weather was…well…Ireland…but it didn’t dampen our spirits at all and the views more than made up for it. From the rocky burren…to the gorgeous coastline…to Father Ted’s house (TV show, look it up, it’s hilarious)….to the Aran Islands (the Black Fort on Inish More is breathtaking and rivals the Cliffs of Moher but with zero people to deal with)…to the Roundstone fishing village…to quaint Clifden and the Sky Loop road…to castles and abbeys and riding amongst the 12 Bens (mountain peaks)…every day was absolutely perfect. Our guides were knowledgable, friendly, hilarious, and I’d meet up with them to ride again anytime (Duncan, Warner, and Jeremy…I think they are the only few who run this tour and are well worth riding with)! We used REI’s bikes for the trip so we didn’t have to encounter any fees, and much to my shagrin, that was the right way to go. At the end of day seven, we turned in our gear, packed up, and passed hugs all around. We caught a bus to Galway to see the university city for a day before catching the train to Dublin to see the big city and catch the Ireland vs. Wales rugby match. Heading back to the States was hard. It seems like there are few places left in the world where you’re not given a room key at your B&B because one isn’t needed. This trip has me geared up and ready to go again though…hopefully soon!