I did my best to get the tent dry this morning. The tent remains waterproof, but packing the tent wet lends to the dampness spreading to the interior. Fortunately a good breeze this evening helped dry everything out. Once the tent fly dried out I unpacked my bike to the tent.
Weather continues to challenge me. While I repeatedly put rain gear on only to take it back off, I managed to get through the day without soaking my shoes. For a while I chased a storm; I could tell when I crossed the threshold because the temperature would drop, the winds would change, and, of course, rain would follow, but light enough that I could wait out the rain by ducking under a tree or into a gas station. Weather should improve slightly tomorrow, so the ride to Galway should be similar or better than today.
I spent most of the day on major roads, making the trip slightly longer distance-wise than the GPS predicted, but providing the ability to predict how long things would take, and requiring fewer navigation checks (harder in the rain). The major roads generally have a shoulder to cycle on. The next two tiers of roads not only do not have a shoulder, but on smaller roads the hedges have grown into the roadway, providing even less room.
I first visited the the Rock of Dunamase, which lays crumpled, like giants ripped the walls asunder. Large blocks of former walls litter the ground inside and outside of the keep. Dunamase stood on a rock promontory, with three sides being steep drops. As the campground host pointed out, Dunamase can’t compare to Cashel, but i could still pick out the former structure.
After Dunamase, I had a 30 km cycle to Tullamore, designated as my abort stop should I be soaking wet. While I first started encountering rain just outside of Tullamore, careful time and space management let me make the final run up to Athlone dry, with no further rain this evening.
I think I have visited Athlone before, but plan on heading to the castle in the morning before the ride to Galway.