Have you ever said yes to something you were’t quite sure of, a little scared of and very unprepared for?
That’s exactly what I did last January when the company I work for announced a charity cycle in aid of Aware.
The cycle challenge:
Cycle 700km around Ireland in five days. From Dublin, to Kilkenny, Cork, Limerick, Galway and back to Dublin.
Cycle a bike, on the road! Train and get fit enough to cycle 700km in five days. Convince myself I can do it.
First I had to buy a bike. I did this through the bike to work scheme which also included most of the cycle gear I needed.
Once that was sorted I had to get on the bike, and on the road. This was the most difficult part.
I loved being on my bike as a kid but it had been years since I was on one and never on a road. I complain about cyclists everyday I drive though Dublin city and now I was going to be one of them? What was I thinking.
I still don’t know by the way.
For me, training started in on a cycle track in a park. Even for a first timer that got boring after 10 minutes going round and round but it did allow me to get used to the gears.
Next was a cold morning cycle somewhere in the Wicklow mountains and after that a few hours spent cycling the Phoenix park.
From then on I’ll be honest and say I lost what little mojo I had and completely slacked off for weeks. I was doing personal training at the time three days a week so I felt that training was building all the strength I needed in my legs. And it did. But building strength and getting road experience are two different things.
I was aware of this fact but my social life didn’t care and got in the way weekend after weekend. Its just not possible to go on a cycle when your hungover. And even when you feel fine, if the weather is awful, your going to say no then too.
DESPITE EVERYTHING I HAVE JUST SAID
I had an amazing week on my bike. The weather was fabulous all week, the hotels and food were great and everyone kept in good spirits right until the end.
I had two minor falls, the slow motion motion kind when you don’t clip out quick enough but all you can do is laugh and continue on. I also took a few extended breaks in the support van which did me the world of good and got me through to Friday! On average I did 100km a day which is far more than I ever expected to be able to do.
I’m not sure how many of you will enjoy reading about cycling so here’s a photo diary of my week.