Archive for July 31, 2010

The COA2010 Launch Party

On Saturday 31st of July, Irish pub F. X. McRory’s in downtown Seattle hosted the Cycle of America 2010 launch party.  It was a fantastic night full of music and craic, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely .  Many thanks to all who attended, and to Fidelma McGinn for making the whole event happen!  Here’s a short video of the night’s festivities:

Watch the video of the Launch Party

A Massive Thank you!

A massive thank you to our hosts here in Seattle, Fidelma McGinn of the Artist’s Trust and her husband, Randy. They’ve been accommodating the team this week, picking people up from the airport at unsociable hours, organising our Launch Party and are helping out in numerous other ways!

The cycle would be starting with a whimper rather than a bang if it wasn’t for this generous pair.

Thanks Fidelma and Randy!

Arrival of William and Mark

Date: 31st July
From Dublin to Seattle
Time 06.30 Irish Time – 05.30 Irish Time 1st Aug

1st day was a little bit of a disaster! We arrived at Dublin airport nice and early on the Saturday morning ( 6.30) in anticipation of the a busy bank holiday weekend! Well it was packed and we may aswell of stayed in bed! Our flight was delayed 3 hours so myself and Mark cruised around Dublin airport posing for pictures and signing autographs!

With the flight being delayed 3 hours it meant we missed our connecting flight to Seattle from Chicago. We had to wait another 5 hours in Chicago International to get the flight to Seattle! We arrived at 11pm local time, 6 am Irish time. This meant we missed the fundraiser organised in Seattle! Eoin, Rob and Donal flew the flag for COA at this event. But that didn’t stop young Mark AKA the Terminator hitting the town, this man survives on little or no beauty sleep! Although its badly needed.

So hopefully tomorrow will run a little more smoothly – we have to pick up the bikes at 10 o’clock, dip the wheels in the Pacific Ocean and then our Journey begins.

Its going to be some challenge for the lads but its no fun when its easy!

Getting there

So my first day of travel in Cycle of America 2010 started early at 6am on Thursday 29 July. My reliable alarm clock (my Mam) ensured I was only half-asleep when we grabbed the taxi to Dublin airport. My main worry for the day was getting my bike safely through two flights. The bike had been kindly boxed up by 2wheels bike shop in Sandymount but it was awkward to lug around – about the size of a wall radiator!

However the whole day went fine which was a huge relief. I checked in my bike box through excess baggage in Dublin; it appeared in NYC; I then checked it in through excess baggage in NYC; and it appeared in Seattle. I even got away with not paying the $80 bike charge in JFK airport!

The flights themselves also went fine. Dublin to NYC was about 7 hours, most of which I spent reading Tony Griffin’s ‘Screaming at the Sky’. Tony is a Clare hurler who cycled 7,000kms across Canada a few years back. But the book covers much more than that, including the ups and downs in his hurling career, and how losing his father to cancer affected his life. It was an honest, open and inspiring read. Tony also sent the COA team an email today simply saying ‘Enjoy the journey, that is the reward.’

Near the end of my first flight I got talking to a girl sitting beside me from El Salvador who was heading to see her parents in Orlando. She described El Salvador as a scary place with corruption and killings getting increasingly common. Cycle of El Salvador 2011 will have to wait.

Reaching NYC I had a six-hour stopover in JFK airport, which I mistakenly thought would have plenty to keep me occupied. However my stopover consisted of watching baseball on a TV with no volume and wandering around the terminal gates. Although the free wifi did keep things bearable. JFK airport also provided the excitement of ordering a burger through a touch-screen computer at Cheeburger Cheeburger (not a misspelling). I approached the counter, and said to the guy in uniform “Can I get….”, only to be interupted by “Order through the computer Sir.” Technology gone mad.

NYC to Seattle was another 6hr flight, added to by 50mins sitting on the runway because of bad weather in the area. The one bonus was when we were taxi-ing to take off, I looked around to see the vast skyline of NYC (including the Empire State Building) against the backdrop of a deep red sunset. It looked brilliant, and i’ll be glad to get back there in 7 weeks time to take a bite from the Big Apple.

Flying with JetBlue was ‘interesting’ – JB don’t take cash on flights, and they also don’t sell hot food, so I was glad for that tube of Smarties I had stocked away. I did manage to sleep a couple of hours though, and in hindsight I think that was a saviour.

I landed in Seattle just before midnight local time and was greeted by Donal (one of our support drivers) and Fidelma – a friend of Donal’s family from Leixlip who moved to the U.S. 18 years ago. Fidelma drove myself, my suitcase, and my bike box to her house in the Ravenna area of Seattle and provided a comfy bed for this bloodshot-eyed Irishman. By the time I hit the pillow I had travelled nearly 24hours, 2hours of which had been sleep. Fidelma you are a Godsend.

Tomorrow brings shopping for supplies, calls to newspapers, and maybe a trip to town that night for a Lucozade or two.

Random pictures:

First Days in Seattle

Here’s a short video of some of Seattle’s finest sights, including Pike Place Market and the Seattle Aquarium.  We also pass by the Safeco Field, home of the Mariners baseball team.

The song is White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes, one of Seattle’s finest bands.

Jet Lag

Well, myself (Dónal) and Rob arrived in Seattle at about midnight last night, local time. No idea what that is in euros.  We woke in the morning feeling quite refreshed and spent a lovely day wandering around Seattle, seeing the sights and getting some gear together for the cycle.

We are now suffering from some kind of delayed jet lag which is causing our brains to liquefy, hence the rambling blog posts. However, we are delighted to be here on the first step of the Cycle of America 2010. Seattlites are very friendly and welcoming, so we’re looking forward to our Launch Party at 8.30pm this Saturday in FX McRory’s pub.

A massive thank you to our kind hostess, Fidelma McGinn of the Artist’s Trust here in Seattle!

Tom Dunne interviews Donal on Newstalk

Listen to Donal and his nudie escapades:

The Terrible Aftermath…

The charity shaves took place last night in Ireland and the US. Between the shave night and associated collections, €780 was raised in Tallaght, a whopping amount. A huge thank you to Lisa Cosgrove, Ann Brennan and Wayne Harte of Tallaght for organising the night, rallying support and collecting loads of money for the Irish Cancer Society!

And thanks again to Frankie, Ed and Sarah in the USA!

See below for the shocking results…

Celebrity Fans and Exclusive Training Footage

The weekend of 17/18 July was a busy one for the Cycle of America Team!

Saturday morning saw our final day of public fundraising in Ireland, with a collection on Grafton Street on a rainy day. Despite the gloomy weather, the passing public generously donated nearly 450 euro to our charities. Amongst the crowds to walk by was Irish Rubgy Superstar Gordon D’Arcy who wished the Team well and was delighted to pose for a picture.

From left to right: Eoin (cyclist), Mark (cyclist), Gordon D’Arcy and Donal (driver)

From left to right: Mark, Donal and Team friend Ciaran shaking buckets in the rain

On Sunday morning, the Team went for a quick 100km spin through their training ground – the Wicklow Mountains. The wet weather again rolled in, but spirits remained high and the lads enjoyed one of their last spins together before departing for Stateside.

You can view exclusive behind the scenes footage of the training session here:

Wicklow Mountains Spin – 18 July 2010

Charity Single Launched: “You, Disassembled” by Brazen Lungs

The cover of "You, Disassembed" by Brazen Lungs. Designed by Stephen McGuinness

Last Sunday saw the launch of the Cycle of America 2010 charity single.  “You, Disassembled” was written and recorded by Dublin indie-pop band Brazen Lungs and is availabe online for only a euro!

If you’re in Ireland, simply text “music 6129” (without the quotation marks) to 57501.  Then, simply go to http://www.downloadmusic.ie/ to claim your copy.

If you’re outside Ireland, you’ll need a credit card. Simply go here: http://tat.mu/6129 and add it to your cart.

Thank you! All money made from the single will go straight to the Irish Cancer Society and the Livestrong Foundation.  Plus, if you buy before Thursday this week it will count towards the Irish charts!

In case you’re wondering, the song is about destroying something you love and the ensuing regret.  Also, robots.

Hello! Me and the Brazen Lungs lads have released a charity single, “You, Disassembled”. It’s for the Cycle of America 2010. We’d all really appreciate if you downloaded it this week. It’s only a euro.

If you’re in Ireland, simply text “music 6129″ (without the quotation marks) to 57501. They’ll send you a PIN. Enter the PIN and your phone number on http://www.downloadmusic.ie/ and the song is yours.

If you’re outside Ireland, you’ll need a credit card. Simply go here: http://www.downloadmusic.ie/brazenlungs/you,-disassembled and add it to your cart.

Thank you! All money we make from the single will go straight to the Irish Cancer Society and the Livestrong Foundation.

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