21
Sat, Sep
21 New Articles

MUSINGS Carb loads and country roads

Living

Diary of a home bird
Ciara Galvin

AS you read this I will be recovering from the 64km Western Lakes Ladies Sportif. Right now, as I write this, some days before the cycle, I’m eating everything in sight.
I’ve really taken to the cycling mantra, ‘You can pretty much eat what you want’. In hindsight, the people saying it were probably talking about eating all the fruit, protein bars and spinach you want, and not cheese cake and pizza. Heck, I’m preparing so well that I’ve been carb loading since the age of about 12.
Before Sunday’s cycle I got out for one last long spin with some of the ladies from the club. A 50k spin. A daunting 50k spin. That morning I was prepared as ever: Two depleted tyres, no pump and running late.
In a blind panic I packed the bike into the car and rushed down to Marrey Bikes. I explained my predicament, that I couldn’t find a pump and the cycling group was about to take off. I failed to admit that even if I could locate a pump I wouldn’t have had the foggiest of how to use it.
My mind was put at ease explaining my morning to the group of experienced cyclists, when one of them admitted that after cycling for a number of years, she had first pumped her tyres herself only days previously.
The 50k prep cycle was really enjoyable. The small group made sure I was never under too much pressure and explained how to best get over those horrible hills.
I’ve been cycling now since mid August, which seems like only last week. I’ve gone from not being able to even put on a cycling helmet properly (thanks Noel Gibbons for rectifying that) to pelting down hills overlooking Lough Mask.
Still, I’m far from knowledgable. Despite going out on a number of spins, it seems I still lack an understanding of the basics. Gears, bloody gears.
I spend the majority of my time flicking each side of the handlebars in an attempt to find the ultimate cruising mode, if there is such a thing.
I imagine I’m the annoying one in the group, the bike making an irritating clicking noise when I’m not in gear, and then me, staring blankly, not knowing how to remedy the clicking. My fellow cyclists have the patience of saints.
For the majority of the 50k cycle last week I apparently cycled in the hardest gear I could have – just for the craic like! The final 20k was a breeze compared to what I had endured, and of course the coffee stop on the way home did help, even if I did resemble Bridget Jones getting off an exercise bike.
The following day I woke to the sounds of torrential rain. Ah, a Sunday morning listening to the rain outside, lovely. Not so lovely when you remember you signed up for a 5k run in Clarinbridge.
I got through it, just about, and was delighted to find out I had come third. The elation of finishing was soon replaced with aches and pains though. I’m now hobbling around the office.
Hopefully, in two weeks time, I’ll let be able to you all know how I got on. If, however, there’s no column, the likelihood is that I’m somewhere between Tourmakeady and Finney, somewhere between fourth and fifth gear.

> In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old trying to get used to living away from her parents.