Everything Except A Newborn Baby

Monday, August 18th. Endurance Challenge 2068 Tour of Munster Day 2.

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We ENDURED for Breakthrough Cancer Research

It’s all about people, isn’t it? The people working at Breakthrough Cancer Research are there to help people. Those of us cycling today were there to support Endurance Challenge 2068, in turn helping others.
A slow re-run of my mental slideshow of the week brings people into focus, and brings with it a clear view of each person’s intent to be there for others. Yes, we love our bikes and our cycling egos. Yes, we will betimes do our dammdest to outclock one another on a carefully-targeted Strava segment. Yes, we can seem to think more about our bikes than anything else!
But here’s the punchline…we do it all to be social. To be with people whose bike-passion is similar; to have the craic over coffee, sometimes to claim little bragging rights or to at least offer stiff excuses to negate the tiny victories of good friends!
The real reason we biked the 106 miles through three counties today was to support one another on a life-journey. Actually, seeing that in print sounds a bit corny, but I’ll not withdraw it! I spoke with Eddie on the final roll to the finish, and he commented on how much the ten days had meant to him. “It had everything except a new-born baby!”, was his summing up. He’s just about right, I’d say, as my memories of five of the days will prove to me.
The details of where I went, and how much I enjoyed the cycling must wait until the latter end of this article, as I attempt to do my summing up of the most important part of the week…the wonderful people who I met with, spoke with briefly or at length, and shared with me a small portion of their story.
As I mentioned earlier, the memories are a slow-motion slideshow on my mind, and I am grateful for each and every slide! Some are slightly blurred as I remember certain conversations but not the name of the biker, while others are crystal clear. As in life, some central characters made strong impression, while others played a supporting role. All are part of the show, as we rolled on from Limerick, to O’Brien’s Bridge, Birdhill, Cappamore, Bansha, Tipperary, Cahir, Clogheen, Lismore, Tallow and Dungourney before arriving to a rapturous welcome in Midleton.

He knows he's nearly there!

Taken in Dungourney, Sean knows he’s nearly there!

So, my attempt to bring some slides into focus includes the following (in no particular order):

  • Oonagh, who is off doing a half-ironman in two weeks
  • Ger, a teacher from Farranfore who was in his younger days teaching near Dungarvan, and renting in Fitzgeralds Terrace, my childhood homeplace. We swapped lovely stories of a wonderful Stradbally man, Sean Ahearne.
  • Leonard is married to a lady from Seapark, Abbeyside
  • Peter brings music to Dungarvan, working in the piano business
  • Two proud Tipperary men (Johnny & ???) , quietly savouring the match result, yet knowing that it was the strength of the Rebel boys (and girls too!) that brought them safely to the finish line. Perhaps, the Premier boys will cross next month’s finish line just a little bit ahead?
  • Donie…jeepers lad, you had a lot to put up with from me, but the cycling was massive. Thank you
  • Johnny, you too had a restless night, and yet the support on the road was top notch!
  • Tony, thanks for the chats, the fist-thumping and your gentle leadership along the way. You won’t forget we have a little cycle trip in the planning for the Autumn?
  • Brendan, I’d love to be as mad as ya, and as sound as ya at the same time! Brendan paid me the ULTIMATE compliment when he said in a strong Cork brogue: “You know, the other fella is the road captain…but you are the general!” (Ego now downsizing again after that out-of-characher blip…)
  • Nessa, I’m gonna get my head chopped off for this, but…if I were a woman, I’d be a Nessa!
  • Eoin, working the Dungarvan circuit, unknowingly tried to destabilise me with High5 Zero electrolytes
  • Catherine for the hidden stash of Bassett sweets and your extraordinary care for us throughout
  • Tommy, Kieran, Jim and Brian…the long road is shortened with good stories. I’m still wondering who sponsored the shorts?
  • Niall, what can I say? I caught a sideways glance at the finish. You were so proud of us, and of the entire event. Rightly so too, captain, my captain! Were it not for you I might not have been at the start line. This entire event was an immense accomplishment on your part!
  • Bernie, you looked a wee bit shocked as I pointed out the run section of our local Waterford Adventure Race atop the Vee
  • Nick, you grew rapidly into your role as road-captain, thrust upon you by circumstances. You will surely never ckimb the Vee again with such satisfaction, keeping a group of 31 together all the way to the summit!
  • Eugene…it was a huge privilege to be with you. Your reaction to the views near the Vee hairpin made me even more aware of the beauty on my Waterford / Tipperary doorstep!
  • Mike, back from a fundraising cycle for the Hospice Foundation in Spain, content to fund it yourself, and repeat the dose again around most of Ireland. You’re the main man!
  • James & Sean… are getting used to all the kudos for this mammoth event? I learned a lot from listening to bits of your life-story, and like many many others, I was inspired to go the extra mile, not just on this event, but along life’s twisty road ahead.
  • The huge contingent from Midleton CTC…ye made this tour EPIC.
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James Colbert: helluva determined man!

After that ramble, the details of the cycling seem less important. To offer a brief summary, we cycled the 106 miles with a tailwind, stopped briefly at 11.59am and offered a silent prayer, pushed on through the Premier County to lunch in Cahir, before approaching Clogheen with caution. Many in the group had developed myths about the Vee. There were worried questions that needed answering. Here’s the lowdown: the group were of one mind. We decided to keep all 31 together going up, and it is a tribute to Barry & Nick that this plan was executed to perfection. Downwards then through the Déise, the final county on the Endurance Challenge on magnificent roads, before heading on to Tallow and over the border into Midleton.

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Please support Breakthrough cancer Research

I learned a new word today : stravatise. It’s a verb. The act of logging a journey on strava. Well holy God!

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On the open road

The Irish Examiner has a great article today about the event. Not the same little quirky bits you see on blogs, but important nevertheless. Final word to James: It is only when cancer “touches someone close to you” that all your trust and hope goes into treatments, which stem from cancer research. “We really hope our challenge will raise much needed awareness and funds for Breakthrough Cancer Research,” he said.. Here’s the full story.

I've never been more proud of two medals!

I’ve never been more proud of two medals!

Hope lives here.   Website: Hope Lives Here

138 Epic Miles: Midleton to Limerick

Sunday, August 17th. Tour of Munster Day 1.

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Chief bottle-washer Niall & myself

I was rested, and raring to go once again. The three days in Ulster at the beginning of the week merely whetted my appetite for more, and because the organisers are from the east-Cork town of Midleton this was definitely classed as the spin of the year! The cyclists’ mecca on this All-Ireland semi-final Sunday. Oops, sorry…don’t mention the hurling.
Today’s jaunt through Counties Cork, Kerry and Limerick was an epic day in the saddle. The stats are massive. 138 miles @ 16.7mph in 8h15m. Stats do not tell the real story, though.
Here’s the real story: 38 seriously fit cyclists watching out for one another, helping out always and keeping a happy bunch rolling along nicely, thank you very much. This was critically important during the first four hour journey via Cork, Macroom, Killarney to the lunch stop in Castleisland, as we faced a very fresh headwind.
As we turned north-east towards our destination, the wind became our friend. However, when one door opens another slams you in the face! In this case, despite a more favourable wind, there’s a five-mile section of “dead road” heading up out of Castleisland, and it became very important to drop the pace and keep the strong group together.
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Cycling in a group is estimated to be up to 30% more efficient, so there’s a big onus on all in the group to ensure that everyone benefits from this saving of energy. On three occasions, following my turn at the front, my mind began playing tricks with me. It’s a long way to Limerick. Maybe you’ll get there, maybe you won’t. Are you sure you’re strong enough? These thoughts need to be killed off without mercy.
There’s no better way to ensure that happens than to ride within the umbrella of a group that is intent on maintaining pace, rhythm and all its’ members.
That’s exactly what happened, and we thrived on hard work to Newcastlewest and Patrickswell, and finally knocked it back a few notches as we entered the Limerick city limits.

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GIANT coffee-stop

Verdict: epic.

My highlights included:
1. Meeting James Colbert’s mam as she joined with us to Cork City
2. Lunch at the Country Market in Castleisland, and their innovative coffee-serving technique.
3. A full 15 miles beyond my previous longest spin
4. Catherine’s Basset sweets once again.
So, it’s early to bed and early to rise…you know…it’s the attempt to build up a store of wisdom! There’s a stiff note of caution, however: tomorrow’s another day, and the bike won’t cycle itself. Night night from the Strand Hotel in the Treaty city. Night John Boy.
Postscript: I missed having Mike Collins alingside today. Get well soon mate, and hopefully we’ll meet in Dungarvan next Sunday…
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Drung DRUNG

Tour of Ulster. Enniskillen to Armagh. Wednesday, August 13th

It is done. This big target was set back in late March, and today it has been ticked off the list.
After a most delicious breakfast at the Enniskillen Hotel served by the most professional & friendly staff I’ve ever come across, Brian, our resident mechanic, was keen that to put some oil on the chains, after horriffic rain yesterday.
An earlier 9am start to coincide with a rising westerly wind, pushed us along briskly lo lunch in Castleblaney and our final destination back to Armagh City Hotel. We took it easy today. It was a day to savour after two tough ones. Marion and her cousin Marguerite were waiting for us, and after photographs and a very short chat among the Ulster Warriors we went our separate ways. We intended staying longer, but the cavalcade was moving on to Dublin for the next phase, and they looked like some beauty-sleep was badly needed…

Thanks
I want to thank many people. In no particular order: Niall the head honcho, Tommy & Kieran on lead van, Catherine for the food stops (especially the Bassett sweets!) and Brian our mechanic. They watched over us. They organised our bike-day from top to bottom, and were fantastic.
I’d like to thank all who donated to my charity page or gave me cash, and finally I want to record my appreciation to my ten bike buddies for good safe cycling over the three days. Unfortunately all ten were were no craic at all. As dry as sticks, they were…but, sure, isn’t it the fundraising that’s most important?

I am back with these no-craic-at-all-at-all cyclists for the Tour of Munster on Sunday and Monday next. Report to follow.
Highlights:
The staff at the Enniskillen Hotel
Sun &  tailwind
Rolling countryside of Cavan & Monaghan
A little extra excursion around some lonely unmarked roads
Tailwind. Did I mention tailwind?
And last but not least…the staff at the hotel
The village of Drung. I noticed that the Irish and English spelling is exactly the same. One in italics the other in CAPITALS. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to figure out which was which. Does anybody know of any other placenames with this feature?

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Catherine prwsents Kieran with pretty pink carnations.

No craic? Well, I hope you weren’t fooled by that!

So, that’s it from me, and that’s it from Ulster. I need to go watch the Irish ladies rugby world cup semi-final against England.
You’ve had an overload of Spring Forwarding, and it’s important for you to wait a wee while for the next wee story.

Páraig / Pat (whatever)

Black And White Cows

Tour of Ulster Day 2 Derry to Enniskillen. Tuesday, August 12th
A second tough day with heavy rain and a fresh headwind for almost 60 miles. But suddenly, after lunch in Ballyshannon, the sun came out, the wind was to our back, and we scorched the tarmac home. This was our just reward for hard graft and minding one another all morning.
Coming through heavy rain and strong wind I thought to myself that the Irish proverb “May the wind be always at your back…” definitely did not originate in the North West.
Highlights:

  • the fantastic hard shoulder road from Lifford to Ballyshannon
  • the race to Enniskillen
  • mighty craic on the road
  • and a great friendly hotel in the town.

On a personal level, as I was hurting along several sections of the journey, I remembered my brother-in-law Jim Shine. I am grateful to be alive and able to cycle. I am grateful for buddies to pull me through the dark spots along life’s road. Just for the present moment, I am grateful that I can combine my love of the rothar with the stunning landscape by Lough Erne in Fermanagh.

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Happy birthday, Mick

Unconnected with cycling and the Endurance Challenge 2068 event, please read this final bit under strict advisement…(That worked, I’d say…now you are curious!)
I did also have a further strange thought. Be assured it is only because I have come to understand that my audience appreciate honesty and integrity that I even dare to put it in writing. This blog has developed from merely recording the factual, to seeking out my slant on life’s little treasures. You see, each one of us has a little strange thought or two from time to time, and these strange thoughts must be acknowledged. They must be loved by their owner! Here it is: I wondered if black and white cows might like to compare birthmarks! Along tbe lines of Dairy Tinder.

Harking back to last night’s quote from Robin we are given a little dose of madness and must not let it go to waste. Surely, though, someone has had such a similar thought… but may have not shared it.

I’d say two pints might go down well! But, first…a recovery drink-shake and some vitamin C. Now there’s another….

The Derry Air. Moving Air is Called Wind

Tonight the update will be short and sweet, unlike the spin today with Endurance Challenge. A whopping 107 miles from Armagh to Derry through five of the Ulster Counties.
If Heineken did wind, t’would be the best wind, and always at your back. I think today’s wind was supplied by Murphy’s stout. Granted we had tailwind for an hour. After that, we didn’t.

Highlights:

  • group spirit, despite the conditions
  • lunch in Randalstown together with impromptu entertainment by young Irish world dancing champion
  • the view from Barnsmore Gap
  • the great people of Northern Ireland. They are so friendly and they are do delighted to welcome us here.
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Barnsmore Gap, County Tyrone.

Did you notice the GoPro speed camera on Sean Buckley’s helmet? Penalty points for some of us today!
The leaba is now calling, and I’ll not be found wanting. Tomorrow we head south to Enniskillen. I’ll be dreaming of a tailwind. Just hope it doesn’t turn into a nightmare.
Just heard the sad news that Robin Williams has died. I just had to google him and came up with… “You’re only given one little spark of madness. Don’t lose it”.
There’s a few Cork lads here who seemed to have been given a double dose, and they sure know how to use it!

 

All Within for Cahir, Come Out

Tour de Suir 160k, Sunday August 3rd, 2014
When I was very young , my grandmother told me the story about the stationmaster in Cahir, County Tipperary. Unfortunately he had a speech impediment and the town of Cahir became “Here”. As the train would approach, he was heard to call out: “Here ye are for where ye’re goin. All within for Here come out”
This childhood memory came back to me as I sat outside The Galtee Inn, in Cahir during the week, but it suddenly dawned on my that there isn’t a train station in Cahir. Maybe there’s part-truth there somewhere, though. It returned to my thoughts once again as we departed Clonmel Park Hotel at 8am for the 160k Tour de Suir 2014. Here we are, for where we’ re going…

I had been very fortunate to get breakfast! No milk in the fridge earlier, and coffee and bread is not exactly bike-fodder. No milk either for my usual scrambled eggs on sportive mornings. Nothing for it but to bring my bowl, spoon and muesli with me, and I thanked heaven when I found a shop open early in Clonmel. Chatting and munching prior to the start, I knew that my day was saved.

 

Stage 1 to Aherlow: While the general feeling was that the low turnout was a bit disappointing, we did not let it affect us as the 45 headed out towards Cahir at a very lively pace. The stiff westerly breeze made it all the more important to stay within the protection of the peloton. Time to Cahir was 27 mins @ 18.6pmh
The lead car pulled aside after Cahir and we were left to our own devices. I think the wise heads at the front made the correct decision to not be tempted into race mode, because of the long journey ahead. They were surely tiring from being in the wind and soon the group got a good up-and-over rhythm going well, bringing us speedily to Tipperary and on towards the first big Tour de Suir challenge. Average pace to Aherlow was 19.6pmh. That’s fast for me!
I was in the top four at the foot of the climb. Some veterans had given me a quick summary of the profile. It rises 475 feet in 1.4 miles @ 7%. This is deceptive, as there is a short almost-flat section before half-way. Up to 15% early on and a hurting 18& near the top. Time: 9m 10s.  At the front I kept a strong tempo over the first steep kilometre and eased back into a flatter section. However, the last kilometre near the top put me in the red, and I had no choice but to back off. Once I recovered and got over, I enjoyed the downhill and waited for my group at the bottom.
Descending is a bike skill in itself, a skill I am beginning to master only recently. It involves three components (that I can think of): positioning on the bike, bike handling and confidence; and it is generally accepted that confidence is the key. On this descent, the road surface is not great, but I was glad that it was dry. The group ahead were out of sight and I was alone. This meant that I was more easily able to pick my line through the bends and be safer.
Onwards then on very undulating and unforgiving roads to a very welcome banana-stop in Galbally, where we assembled a larger possee to see us through to the next phase of the battle. Distance covered 33 miles. Exactly one third of the way.
Stage 2 to Ballyporeen. A group of 10, mostly Dungarvan-based, brought a good steady pace to the proceedings: Vincent Feeney, Frank Browne, Dave Byrne, Louie Dowley, Francis Walsh and mé féin, together with other strong and equally sensible group members. Before you could say “Are we there yet?” there we were, in Ballyporeen for more bananas! We timed it well too, as we enjoyed watching a heavy shower outside with warm coffee inside! Distance covered 51 miles. Still a long way to go!

Raining outside? Ah good....sure, the grass needs a bit of rain!

(These athletes are slightly blurred after 100k on the bikes) Raining outside? Ah good….sure, the grass needs a bit of rain!

My mother grew up a few short mikes from here in a place called Kilcaroon, on mountain farmland. It is a place in the Premier County that brings back fond memories of boyhood summers. But, as the “Airplane” script goes…that’s not important now.
Stage 3: The final 49 miles was the Big Challenge, bringing us over the Vee, and on to Lismore and Cappoquin at a fierce rate of tailwind knots. The long drag up Millstreet to the Clonmel road was tough, and it was here that we began to look around to make sure that our buddies were ok. In reality, it’s not a drag. It’s a long hill. But because its only a little hill in comparison to the three big ones, it can be overlooked. Dangerous mistake! All hills are hard, and we hit this one after 130k. Safely up, we pushed on to Ballymacarbery and stopped to breathe deeply, eat, drink and sympathise with one another in advance. We knew what was ahead! Powers the Pot rises more than 900 feet over 3.5 miles @ 5%, but it has the advantage that it’s a constant incline, rather than varied steepness as was the case with Aherlow. However, after nearly 90 miles of cranking it along it must be given lots of respect. “Multo respecto”, the Romans would say about this. Twenty-two minutes later I crested the top, unable to shake off Francis, despite trying hard! When w all regrouped at a junction on the descent, it was with a huge sigh of relief. Finally, the windy descent (as in twisted, not with wind) on good surface to Clonmel was thrilling, and we arrived safely and without mechanical mishaps to the finish line, to be presented with our unexpected medals.
Miles: 100.7
Time: 5:52
Pace 17.7 mph in old money
Verdict: A joy to be in a good working group all day!

Man of the Match: Louie Dowley, off the bike for nearly three weeks. When he needed to find an extra gear, he got it from somewhere deep! Chapeau, old chap!

Tweet-of-the-day:

 

Vinny & Dave...big engines!

Vinny & Dave…big engines need food and coffee!

Breakfast. A car-bootful of muesli

Breakfast. A car-bootful of muesli

The three-day Suir Valley race, finished on the very same Power’s the Pot the following day and was won impressively by Mark Dowling. Well done, young man! Here’s a StickyBottle. report. As we crested the summit on our version of the race, there were no supporters to cheer us on. Just ourselves and some lonely sheep!

Mark Dowling. Winner, all right! (Photo: Dave Coleman DC Images)

Interestingly, in order to add a touch of race reality to the event, we were chip-timed, and I received this text shortly afterwards. I was tempted to reply indicating that it did not take account of our time eating bananas and drinking coffee, but it was a no-reply number. All is well!

Chip-time for bananas & coffee was 44:46. Must improve...

Chip-time for bananas & coffee was 44:46. Must improve…

Finally, to round off one of my rather long event reports, I mentioned the story to Vinny Feeney about the day myself and Philip Cleary met a bull standing in the middle of the road just before Ballyporeen. Back about ten years ago, I’d say. We had been cycling from Limerick, and were suddenly stopped in our tracks. The bull looked dazed, and we ventured carefully past, hugging the ditch, walking inside the bikes for protection! Vinny laughed back, because I had forgotten one important part of the story…Vinny had been there with us that day too! Just goes to show… I would have remembered it if I’d been blogging back then.

 

Event reaction on the twitter-thingy:

 

Have you any stories of being attacked while cycling? Now’s your chance to share…

Have you an interesting story from childhood? Again, I’d encourage you to write it down! share for my readers, please.

Páraig

Fun in Meath with The Bohermeen Boys: 3 lessons I learned

Tour of Meath, July 27, 2014.

Since early July, I’ve clocked up the miles. Lots and lots of miles, amid glorious sunshine. I’ve done it right, as I increased my long-distance spins bit by bit and decreased my pace to match. Therefore, as I drove to Dublin on Saturday I was very enthusiastic about my first An Post Tour of Meath. I had previewed the route online and there was nothing there that would cause me any huge difficulty. Having cycled the Vee and Knockboy last weekend, this route looked very flat, with only one small hill along the way.

The atmosphere in Trim as I registered on Saturday evening was really good. The finish line was all set up, the PA way singing loudly, and there were many marquee events nearby. Of course, most notable were the many cyclists coming and going…but not a bike in sight! Registration was extremely efficient, and I was back behind the wheel within minutes to overnight in Dublin. Pasta & plenty fluids were the order of the evening, and I got an early night knowing that I needed to be on the stat line with my buddies at 8am.

My buddies for this one were local man Francis Walsh, and Joe Lynch from Naas Cycling Club. As arranged, we met at the startline after several phone calls, ready for road. And at exactly 8am, we were counted down and sent on our way. for the first hour, as in any long 160k event, we simply rode steady pace in a very large group, estimated at 1500. It was impossible to try to move forward, as it just was not safe to do so. It became even trickier after 10k as we moved on to narrower local roads, heading towards Kilmessan and the famous Hill of Tara. The road here was very narrow, and as many ahead of us seemed to slow down, we moved up the bunch carefully.

As the miles sped by, the groups splintered and we tried very hard to get into a groove. However, there was very little of real interest until we hooked up with Cuchulainn CC (Dundalk) They obviously had a plan. eight members in club gear at the head, working well, so we decided to sit in. Unfortunately, as soon as we hit a hard little hill, they did not stay together, and once again we went off in search of a group that might.

We arrived at the 5okm water stop, and rested up, filled up and headed on again quickly. This time, we formed our own group. There were about 12 together, but usually buddies want to cycle beside buddies and no movement in the group means no momentum. Those at the front usually get tired, and those behind are chomping at the bit! Time to crack the whip! I spoke to Francis, and we got it moving. We went to the front, and after about three or four minutes, Francis went up & over, as I urged the guy behind him to move up. That got it rolling, and within minutes the pace was up, people were chatting enthusiastically with strangers, and before we knew it, we arrived together in Nobber (who thought it up?). Onwards than towards the Cavan border, and the road began to rise. I had known that it rose to 600 feet (not much really), over approximately 6 miles. Not a hill to be afraid of. However, Francis & I left the comfort of our friendly group and we pushed on hard. Then we pushed a little bit harder again! When we got to the top, approximately 10 miles from the next food stop, we decided to go steady, and immediately over-ruled ourselves. We got a good strong pace going, but by the time we got noodles & sandwiches, we noticed that the average had dropped from 17.2 to 16.9mph, largely because of the long hill.

Tour of Meath, route and elevation

Tour of Meath, route and elevation

2014 07 tour of meath

Farmers and retired teachers. What’s the world coming to, at all?

Therefore, with full bellies and bottles, we headed onwards for the final 40 mile section. Flat, the stewards advised, and they were right. As soon as we had gotten back into a rhythm, we really opened up a strong pace in order to find that elusive group. The Gods were smiling on us, as we met fourteen Bohermeen CC warriors towing a group of about twenty behind. The Gods were not smiling for long, as the rain came down. Not heavy, but enough to make a bad drizzle, and greasy roads. This was not the time to be sitting at the back of the group, and we moved up when the opportunity arose after several roundabouts on the edge of Kells stretched the elastic. We sat in with the Bohermeen lads, and we did our turns. This group was a joy to be in. Everyone worked hard, everyone looked out for any members who might be struggling, and above all we chatted and had the craic. I spoke at length with Barry who is undertaking the Race Around Ireland in September. What a challenge!

The miles ticked on, the pace stayed high, and the legs were beginning to feel a bit tired. No matter, we pushed on  to Athboy and increasingly we had the tailwind for the first time since leaving Trim hours earlier. At the finish hands were shaken, shoulders slapped, and goodbyes said. The Bohermeen boys are coming down to Waterford in August for the next an Post event, a slightly tougher course through the Comeraghs. Needless to say, they’ll be welcomed, but won’t need much minding!

 

I learned some big lessons from the boys of Bohermeen. Much of this I’ve seen and admired in groups down through the years. They just brought it to a fine art:

  1. The group is stronger than any of its members. Strong cyclists can cause havoc in a group. These lads understood, each and every one of them, that the lad who is very strong today might need a dig-out tomorrow!
  2. Outsiders are welcome. Once they saw that we were not just going to sit on the back, and we worked to keep the cohesiveness of the group intact, they let us in. They chatted, they put us on the front & they urged us on. In fact, at one point I was expecting a reprimanding roar from behind to steady the ship, but they seemed to know that it was ok to reprimand their own, but not the visitor!
  3. These lads were locals. They knew the roads, they’d biked them upside-down and inside-out. This is hugely important on an event like this, away from home and into the unknown. I think it would be a good idea to keep a watchful eye at the start line to find the locals. It worked for us today, even though it wasn’t until the latter end of the spin.

 

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Food, friends & flat miles.

Bohermeen Boys....they minded us!

Bohermeen Boys….they minded us!

First Tour of Meath completed.

Distance: 98.4 miles.

Time: 5h 52m

Pace: 17.8 mph (17.2 at 50k, 16.9 at 99k)

Average HR: 123 (easy)

Highlight: The Bohermeen Boys

Verdict: I’ll be back.