So, 52years old..the milestone missed, distracted by Caoilfhionns grand appendix adventure and a night sitting in James A&E, mixing with Wednesday nights lost boys full of drink and drugs and angry as hell at the entire world..And we the tax payer pickup their angry pieces. 2013 stumbles to a stuttering start., My best laid plans of mice and men etc etc!!! Normally I’d mark my big day, as I have since turning 50 with a long spin into the Wicklow Mountains..but not today, as James Hosp and Caoilo’s keyhole surgery needs me more….But the weekend promises more..a 10k run on Saturday morn out quiet country roads…a 100k spin on Sunday to Athy my old stomping ground where I spent some of my happiest nursing years…..
Sunday 13th 100k Bunclody Athy Bunclody
And so lost days in Dublin had me looking back, as we pull out of the square layers of lycra against early morning frozen mists lifting of frost white stubble fields. The first 100k of the season. It’s a beautiful winter morning sun slips low , close to the pink clouded horizon…Ah its good to be alive, good to be able to pull a bike out, good to have a new year ahead..good to have the first duathlon next week….A good way to celebrate turning 52, with a 10k run yesterday and a 100k spin on this early Sunday morning in January..life is good…
Dublin holder of my child hood memories, my teenage dreams, my first love…when the summers seemed to last for ever, we rose at dawn to walk hand in hand to see the pope, parish hall discos, kings hospital dance nights, nights in white satin, Donegal sand dunes, hotel California, our first date in St louises school dance, my debs, your debs and our last time together..and the big blue teddy that me and Jayo drove all the way to Newry for,,it was our first Christmas…Ah how our lives drifted, never to far apart..Meeting once more thirty years on, on the steps of Croker, catching up, comparing lives and laughing at the thought that we called our daughters by the same name..We laugh..bringing us back to Palmerstown and summer days….And for a while, sitting in James, waiting on Caoilfhionn to come back from surgery, I missed Dublin, and the thought of an impulsive trip into the city, Nesbitts, Donoghues the Palace and an early bird restaurant, The Dubs in Parnell Park…a stroll down Stephens Green..ah Dublin can be heaven…….and then I get stuck in traffic coming to and from the hospital..and think of you and wonder how do you face this every day….. And then I spotted him, the cyclist, all high vizzed up, with aldi lights, in my wing mirror, picking his way through rush hour traffic with the agile confidence of a cheetah ambling through a herd of wildebeests on an African savannah….backpack jammed with office clothing, playing Russian roulette with the traffic lights. I wondered how long will it be before his confidence takes a side swipe from a driver in a bigger hurry then him. (but that’s an age thing with me, I did the very same thing when I cycled in Dublin, slipping through traffic with a false air of live for ever confidence)….And I wondered as I watched his red tail light gain an advantage on us traffic bound commuters, how would he handle the nine stones, or the Charrabut gap on a frosty morning. Does he park up the bike on a Friday evening and leave it there till work on Monday. Is it a joy or a chore, and if at a weekend he took her out for a spin, how far would he have to travel before he broke free of the city and its housing estates and traffic jammed roads, before he found the freedom of clear quiet country roads… .
I was talking to a friend of mines sister at a retirement do, all her life she cycled to work in Dublin, fancied her self of having a good level of fitness, only for her GP to diagnose her with high Blood Pressure….informing her that cycling in the city rush hour traffic was contributing to her raised blood pressure….stress and fumes stopping and starting….
Tired and worn, I travel home, cross the border over Carrigduff hill into the quietness of Bunclody, starry starry night, the plough and Orions belt that always reminds me of Kennedy Lane in Kingsford Sydney..and home sickness…Off in the distance I can hear a fox call its mate, temperatures drop…and I think ah Bunclody my happiest days,.. and tomorrow morn a spin with the boys.
We pick up Mike at WhiteMills and Colm in Ballon, and set of at a serious pace, the two boys soon drop us caught up in their own conversation, me and Liam settle in to our usual steady rhythm…keeping a distanced eye on the two boys. Liam is struggling these days to get up to a pace, a nagging calf injury slowing him down, calls it a day in Carlow and turns back. Leaving me to hunt down the Racing 795 lads who have disappeared from my sight. Only to discover that I missed them on a round about, and had them chasing me, all along the banks of the Barrow, where early morning anglers set up camp (and I thought I was mad.) In Athy we pull in to at the J1 restaurant still operating 12yrs after I left Athy. 50K down and 50k home via Castledermot, the town that the Celtic tiger left behind…..
At 80k through Tullow, the legs get tired, even Mike who set a pace of 25k an hour begins to slow (thanks be to fuck) And so we tip gently home Tullow-Ardattan-where we say goodbye to Colm, and Clonegal where I say good bye to Mike..and tip home the final leg, feeling as good as I’ve ever felt. Chuffed at clocking 103k in the second week of January….Here’s to a week of swimming and Naas next weekend.