Ah Racing795’s season opening annual Duathlon took place on afresh Sunday morning in February. The great thing about a club event is that there’s more to it then the actual race. It’s a meeting up, a catching up, Its about bringing the kids along all wrapped up and distracted, it’s about the cup of tea at the end, the idle chat, the familiar faces. It’s meeting up with people who, before you joined the club you would pass on a Supervalu isle and blank each other, but now, we know, a common bond… “what are you doing this weather…..”
It’s about mountain bikers drifting down from the lofty heights, just to give it a shot, like wild Deer forced down off the peaks due to bad weather..and return at days end, content in their knowledge “Ah Duathlon, I could take it or leave it…”.But most of all its about a club pulling together on Sunday morning in February.
And so it was this Sunday morn, PJ calling the shots, giving out the health and safety rules and reassuring us that “Its not a race!!!!”. Its not a race, me hole, I say as the whistle blows, and the serious competitors take of like antelopes, chasing times in preparation for the long season ahead.
I took off with an air of confidence, improved running stride, chasing the pack, but at my own pace. The transition , and the bike, feeling good, setting of, seeking a rhythm, getting the gear change right chasing down fluorescent jackets in the distance, wind in the face cutting the snot of you, and this turning into one of the toughest 20k duathlon routes you will get anywhere in the country on this false spring day.
And just as I was getting into a rhythm, 10k done, whizzing past the 795 support crew, cheering and hollering and driving you on. (this is not a race…me hole, I smile,) And then it happened, my gear cable snapped, sticking me in a high gear, forcing me to use my granny gear for climbs, managing well on the straight, but losing momentum on the down hill..forced out of the saddle to often for to long, energy sapping…my day was done, fluorescent jackets pulling further off into the distance,,,my day was done, my race was run (this is not a race…me hole..I grumble)
By the time I reach T2 my legs are burning. The second run drained me, and Mick Mahon, who I duelled with all day, waits and paces me home..( PJ’s right its not a race, its about moments like this, me and Mick shooting the breeze, thinking of Jimmy K and Martin J and what they would give to have one more day like this, life is to short, isn’t it.). Still cheers and shouts and 795, as good a day as you could have, and of course the cup of tea and chat and plans for the year ahead..me and Treacy have Naa’s
Mark 2 next week, Joy, Limerick Marathon, Lorraine still on the comeback trail, Yvonne her first 10k under her belt, Martin with plans for an epic charity spin Ferns to Omagh in August, Ross, best of the Club at 1:15:48,… Dena first female clocking an impressive 1:23:34 and I dragged my sorry ass in at a respectable 1:30;36.
And the Mountain Bikers, take one last look before they retreat back up into the Mountains, not to be seen again till next spring, or the winter snows drive them back down, reluctantly to the fringes, of road biking……
FOOTNOTE: I drafted this report on the Sunday evening of the event…on Monday I received a phone call informing me that Martin who was planning an epic fund raising cycle to Omagh, was tragically killed off his bike in a road traffic accident that day. And there’s nothing I can say except he was a kind and generous man with a big heart, and he was everything that is good about Racing795 Tri Club…and he will be so, so missed..