The Fear!! counting down the day’s

378628_10151543919794346_211896732_nOrla is right, sit back enjoy the fear. Distracted now by lists of things to do. There’s no turning back. The romance, of free wheeling through the manicured English country side, stopping of at the Kings Head for a pint of local brew, killing time in coffee docks in small villages. All now take a back seat. As the reality of Edinburgh- London slyly seeps through. Causing a small butterfly in my gut, to tip its frantic wings against the lining of my stomach…

 

There’s such a thing as over planning, over packing, over analysing. I admire Liam my constant cycling buddy, a veteran of long distance challenges, he just gets on his bike and hopes for the best…I, on the other hand, draw up lists, of things to do, things to pack, things that could go wrong, things that should go right..and of course there’s always the nagging guilt, of the selfishness of it all, of doing this for my self, by my self…..

Even now, on this perfect morning, for cycling, The early morning mist lifting as we cross Enniscorthy bridge heading up over the Shannon, in the shadow of Vinegar Hill, tired and worn, under siege since 1798 by Red Coats, and these days by discarded cans of  Dutch Gold and burnt out cars (so much for national monuments)

 

Day 1. Edinburgh –A68- Bellingham..Boat and Farm b&b..what if the weather is crap, what if the winds are in my face..what if..what if…these days my life is full of what ifs…

Ravens drift down from high ground into the Slaney valley, majestic mating displays, twist and turn. The first swallows skim low over the Slaney waters. These are the days of blue skies How easy it is on days like this to lose yourself  to the sound of the countryside, the breeze in your face, the song of the wren, the hum of well oiled bikes, the whispers of idle conversation, lost on the wind left clinging to hedge rows…Ah yes these are special days, where for a moment in time you can escape from the worries of your world, in the company of friends on the saddle of a bike…Ah yes just a perfect day.

Things to do, high vis jacket, bike lock, talk to Dave F about packing a bike, a roll of tape, how do you take pedals off…

 

The Gorey boys are on the road since 6.30 this morning, picking us up on the square in Bunclody at 7.30, 25k under their belts already. Orla is late, her baby sitter sleeping it out, gets dragged out of bed by all accounts. There’s no way Orla is missing this perfect Sunday cycle.

On we pushed the group growing as we pick up Siobhan at Ballycarney, gently easing herself back into the pelathon, averaging 26k an hour, us free wheeling in the middle of the bunch. On through Ballaghkeen home of a thousand all Ireland club and county medals…

Travel light, jeans tea shirt, jumper, no jocks no socks and a smelly pair of runners…

Roll over, laughing and talking or losing yourself in silent thought drift to  the rear shouting “Car up”. The Sun bright, the skies blue, the gentle breeze, the pot holes a distraction…

How easy it is in a Pelathon to become absorbed lost in little conversations, linking in, checking out, and finding a common bond, small friendships develop. And for a while nothing in life matters, but this moment. Free wheeling lost in thought and small talk. On days like this just for a short while all is well in our worlds…all is as it should be.

Ten days to go, no turning back, Edinburgh, Bellingham, Darlington, Selby, Nottingham, Northampton, Oxford, London…if only it was as that straight forward. “Mike what’s the story with my Satnav!”

 

On through Blackwater, Kilmuckerage bracing it self for the holiday season and the influx of “dirty dubs…” But for now we are a bonus for the Café’s day. Our now compulsory coffee break., quickly becoming the highlight of the day. We shed early morning winter layers, Liam even produces sun block. Dave Conway suggests we do a trip Advisor review of all the coffee stops. Some one else suggests that we ditch the cycling all together and just get together once a month for coffee and scones. Barry is told its his last trip, we want Lorraine and her hot chocolate with marshmallows for company next time out.

Yes no turning back, I’m feeling good on the bike today, after all, I only plan  100k with room for two day stop over if it gets to much…ah yes I can do this..

From Kilmuckerage we hug the coast to Courtown and its tired amusement parks, crying out for a lick of paint and the hordes of children from closed up caravan parks. We climb gently inland to the chaos of Goreys main street, shedding the “Gorey boys” their day s cycling done. The back of the trip now broken the pelathons tired legs, begins to fragment, saying good bye to Barry and Siobhan we climb towards Carnew, glad of Traceys home baked energy cakes…onwards towards Bunclody. Where Jim F takes of on a last ditch sprint for home 5k out, opening up a gap with Alan, Orla and Fintan in hot persuit..ah Racing 795 competitive edge  takes over as legs burn , lactic acid builds, and I know that I will pay a price for that last 5k sprint for home….Still a great end to a perfect day….and tonight Yvonne turns 40, and 795 will turn out in numbers to sip pints and talk shite..

And in ten days time I’ll be in Edinburgh, the beginning of my great adventure Roll on roll on..

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