Not About the Bike

OK. I’ve done it. The first cycle. My legs, in particular my thighs have settled down but they were like jelly. My arse, possibly my perineum is quite painful but not as bad as I thought. 22.5 miles on the first day out. Not a bad start and I’m pleased that I was able to do it.

McLarnon first raised this as a possibility with me on one of the overnights with the camogie squad. In the back of my mind I probably always knew that reluctantly I would try it. 100 or 50 miles to raise funds for Eoghan Rua. But more than that a challenge to myself to get fit, to lose weight. To do something else that would give me a personal and physical challenge. I ask the players to do the extraordinary. My hope is that this time it will be my turn.

And, at the end of it what? A sense of achievement. I know from winning things the moment of victory is fleeting but the overwhelming satisfaction afterwards lasts an eternity. That moment when the whistle goes, experienced a few times this last year. A drug yes, but after that something else sets in.

Anyway, before I get to that stage I have to get to that stage.

I have wrestled with the matter of buying a bike, To buy or not to buy. Funds are tight with me, I have a tax bill to pay and it is the summer. Children have to be entertained, the usual expenses. I decided to go for it and try and get a bike that would get me thru the summer and beyond. I didn’t want the hassle of someone else’s machine or a reconditioned machine. Something that I can stand or fall with.

I went to Claudy Cycles, on the recommendation of Paddy McColgan. I like Paddy’s world view. Country chic hick, he is grounded, pragmatic and most of all knows that an arsehole in lycra is an arsehole in lycra whatever way you look at him.

So, Brian @ Claudy Cycles successfully sold me a silver bike. I know nothing about the make, model or even the number of gears. It is silver, the Silver Tassie I will call it. The seat he tells me isn’t too bad. “You will not be the judge of that my friend” I thought inloud ‘My arse will.’ I also purchased a puncture repair kit;  helmet; a pair of cycle shorts.

On the latter Brian informed me ‘They are brave and tight round the balls.” Sounded like just the job. He also threw in a bottle of free screenwash and, availing of the 10% discount negotiated by Paddy McColgan the total bill was £270.  With Brian too, we discussed the possibility of further work. Might be worth pursuing there based on my experiences with a  few other small businesses and leveraging the contacts that I have. We’ll see.

Having read a leaflet circulated within the club by Sean McGoldrick and provided by uber nutrition enthusiast Declan Mullan which recommended the right things to eat in advance of a match, I decided to prepare for the following morning’s inaugural outing with a Spanish Sizzler medium pizza from Dominos washed down by a bottle of Wolf Blass Merlot.

Excited at the prospect of the next morning’s outing I fell fast asleep on the sofa after this generous repast and woke on the sofa at quarter past three in the morning, lights on. After climbing into bed I conked out waking again early to prepare for the 8:30 rendezvous at the Orange Hall where the day’s 20 Mile trek was to begin.

The first dilemma of the day was whether to wear underpants under my newly purchased cycling shorts. Chafing was my worry. Having puzzled this for a while I decided not to cycle commando ‘What if they split’ which is a fair enough question considering the size of my arse.  Angela went off to Tesco to buy food for the children while I climbed into the rest of my garb. Trainers, ankle socks, icebreaker top and yellow luminous waterproof, my shades and helmet. When she returned Tesco were out of Vaseline (a canny echo of the article I wrote for Talking Balls last week. Unlike the protagonist in that story I went for Angela’s emulsifying ointment rather than other forms of lubricant.)

Duly lubed up to the max to avoid aforementioned chafing, I stuck a Nature’s Crunch bar in my pocket, sank a half litre of Lucozade Sport Lite and a banana. I also brought my phone in case of a crash, emotional or physical and a puncture repair kit. Having no rack for a water bottle I tucked a carton of juice in a pocket and off I sailed. Angela of course found the whole ensemble hysterical and took pictures of me meandering  off.

Having had a bit of banter, off we went down the Mill Road. The brakes were an early concern and I genuinely felt I would fall off going down the first hill which ended on a corner round a roundabout. I was pleasantly surprised when BMcL informed me we had completed 5 miles or so. The only real problems occurred when we encountered the first hill. My heart, shocked into action was pounding out of my chest and my left leg started to misfire. No pain, just no power. Over a few more hills including Drumslade on the way home I found a severe lack of power in my leg. Its fine when pedalling down hill, even when driving her on uphill when the body screams stop, the heads busting and pounding but you just keep on going. On that occasion there is no place for diplomacy with fellow travellers. They need to move on to let me tackle my own personal demons.  Could I keep in the seat and keep the bike moving no matter how low the gear. The granny gear BMcL called it. I’m some granny in that case. The etiquette appears to be if you are struggling the person doing the blethering moves on. Cunning apparently is bad for this, I will have to tell him not to talk to me in that case.

Aside from Dermot having a few minor technical problems the time passed fairly uneventfully. I struggled up Drumslade Paddy last, but I stayed in the fuckin saddle and I stayed on the fuckin bike which was more than I expected. The padded cycle shorts appeared to have eased the big ass burden but I was till dripping sweat half an hour after a shower and my heartrate took a while to settle. Next time I need to work the bike more, more pedalling less freewheeling and find a few good gears.  At least there is a next time. Bring it on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *