FINISH LINE ‘It was easy smile after finishing the Louisburgh cycle but Grady’s Hill, at the very end, nearly killed me.’
‘Sign up for the Westportif’, they said. ‘It’ll be good craic’, they said. ‘No bother to ya’, they said. I was not quite as pleasant to myself as I struggled on in the Covey Wheelers peloton through Lecanvey on my first jaunt out with the leisure group’s Wednesday evening cycle to Louisburgh.
Keen to pull my weight, I shuffled up the outside in turn, speaking to the encouraging and friendly members as I came alongside each of them. Being an absolute novice they called out from the back that I didn’t have to take the lead (and the wind) but eager to find out what I was facing into, and with that stubborn gene kicking in, up I went…
The road between Lecanvey and Kilsallagh is hillier than I thought, and being the furthest I have ever been from home on a bike, and with a dozen cyclists behind me moving to my pace, I quickly realised I was in over my head. But I had to keep moving.
With each revolution of the pedals I could feel myself wilting like a handful of fresh spinach in a hot wok, but I persevered. I awaited a rest stop in Louisburgh and clicked out as we reached the Square. To the uninitiated, as I was, you don’t stop, so off I went again, questioning my sanity in a big way. I made it home, I couldn’t keep up with the group all the way, but I was acceptably behind, and we all made it back home safely within a minute or two of each other, which was the main goal.
I missed last week’s spin to Louisburgh. I was a few minutes late. Punctuality is a big thing I have learnt with these cyclists. They’re like Irish Rail; when they’re motoring they don’t hang around. As penance, I signed up for the 50 kilometre Pink Ribbon Cycle, which was on last weekend, with work colleague Kevin Loftus (more on this next time).
I also picked up a new Stephen Roche wannabe to cycle with two weeks ago. It makes all the difference having somebody to head out with. For one it stops me constantly telling myself to turn back. Fresh from flogging another condominium in Carrowholly or somewhere, Andrew Crowley (aka Andy the Auctioneer) is back in the saddle after many a year’s absence – and you should see that lad go! Like a duck finding water after waddling out of the Sahara, he hasn’t looked back since gripping the handlebars.
He won’t commit to the Westportif, but we’re working on him.
He needs to watch his tyres, though; he destroyed more rubber than Nigel Mansell two weeks ago. The first day we went out he was late, as he had a puncture in the car, and the second time we saddled up, he had to wait in Belclare until Kipper cycled home to get his van and come pick him up after doing a job on his bike tyre.
So, with just over two weeks to go until D Day, I’m still on track for getting lost somewhere in the wilds of the Sheeffry Hills, with severe cramps, a lot of regret and a likely sudden onset coronary event. Cant wait.