The day began like pretty much any other Sunday Morning. On the way down the road towards Carrick I met the group coming up the road with their tails in the air as fresh legs enjoyed the wind at their backs driving them along.
As I drifted towards the back of the friendly group I was happy to see Chainsaw Vinnie back in the fold. Even when he remarked that he thought I was Hulk Hogan due to the additional 10kg that has made its way onto my hind quarters I was still happy to see him. I’ve heard worse. Like the time a guy was struggling on a climb and just as he passed Chainsaw on the way out the back door he was informed that he ‘might as well put his head between his legs and kiss his arse goodbye’ which seemed to have the effect of hastening his departure.
Chainsaw was on a sabbatical for a few months and only returned to the bike with the help of some personal coaching from Chemical Vinnie. Their first spin a few weeks ago was a nice handy twenty miles. The following Sunday they did thirty. Then on the third week Chemical Vinnie brought Chainsaw Vinnie out on a fifty mile spin and half wheeled him for the last thirty so Chainsaw came to the conclusion that it would be easier to just do the normal group spin no matter how high the average speed might be. And so they were both back out with the group today.
At the fingerpost just outside Clonmel half the group went straight for Surehaul whilst the other half veered left for Ballymac. The day was wet and windy. Overcast, with a lingering darkness that was like an all day dusk. A perfect winters day for cycling really as no other outdoor activities could be suggested by the family members waiting at home.
In Dungarvan the coast road was called for and the coast road was visited, just out as far as the five cross roads and the turn off for Kilmacthomas.
The pace was now beginning to rise and when Gizmo Grylls called for a piss stop the answer given was ‘not within the last 50k of the spin’. He stopped anyway, and fought his way back on. As he was doing so, when he was about thirty bike lengths off the back of the group the Magician rolled up along the outside of the group waving frantically whilst speaking softly. ‘Don’t mind me lads I just want Gizmo Grylls to think that I am telling everyone to slow down and wait’
Gizmo Grylls earned his moniker recently on a very bleak and blustery day up the Nire, in the heart of the Comeragh Mountains. Two kilometers from the summit, in a place where neither trees nor truckers could survive his rear derailleur overtook him at speed, having been catapulted after an altercation with a few spokes. His day was over and only a phone call home for a lift remained. As the wind howled all around him and the torrential rain saturated his being, the shivering Gizmo Grylls hunkered down in a dyke and covered himself with moss. A farmer out checking sheep who he feared were lost in the storm happened to pass by and came upon a strange creature. Half man, half sheep, half bicycle. The farmer panicked and in shock floored the Massey 135 and reached speeds of up to twenty mph whilst making his hasty getaway. Gizmo Grylls remained in situ for another hour and half whilst awaiting his rescuer to arrive.
The road from Kilmac drags onwards and upwards in the most unpleasurable manner possible. It is not steep enough to be a hill, but the unresponsive road surface combined with a headwind creates the effect of trying to pedal through quicksand. It was at this moment the The Daddy Bullet Bennett and The Magician hit the front and powered their way, kilometre after kilometre all the way to the top.
Cresting the summit I found myself on the wheel of Gizmo Grylls. What I initially thought was an up and over manoeuvre turned out to be an attack and I struggled to hold his wheel. But, we had a gap. Then I looked around and Woodsie was powering across. Then powering passed, as we struggled to latch onto his wheel. The Magician wasn’t going to see a train leave the station without him and was next aboard. Then came Spinner Dowley who is looking stronger and stronger with each passing week.
The chase was organised behind and by Kellys Gates all was back together once more. Then, after a brief hiatus the attacks started again. Spinner Dowley took a flyer and got a gap. Woodsie did a long turn to keep him in range. I was nestled between The Daddy Bullet and Turkeys O’Donnell. Then, passing the old black pots and flowers house I rolled off after Spinner and managed to get half way across before a reaction came. By the time I closed the gap to Spinner, the group behind had closed upon me and all was back together once again. Then Spinner took off again. The new training program the Martin has him on definitely seems to be working.
This time it was Gizmo Grylls and The magician who took off in pursuit. Then The Daddy Bullet Bennett said to myself and Turkeys O’Donnell ‘Come on lads I’ll try and get ye across’. With a massive turn of power and determination, the man with only one good knee had us almost vomiting on his wheel. The gap was closing and closing and a discussion seemed to be taking place up ahead.
Spinner had gone again leaving Gizmo Grylls and The Magician looking at each other, having a slight ‘discussion’. The Daddy Bullet Bennett managed to latch us on just before Spinner Dowley was first to cross a white line on the road that was used in a race last St. Patricks day. A slight hesitation was all it took for Turkeys O’Donnell to launch an attack and The Daddy Bullet and I were first to react. Leaving a partial chase and partial ‘discussion’ in our wake. Turkeys had a gap that I could not close. Then the Daddy Bullet came through and closed right up onto his back wheel with just forty meters to go to the yellow sign post that has been used as a finish line for the Kilmac spin for the past thirty years.
Without a thought, The Daddy Bullet led out the sprint and I could only look on in admiration as this man with only one good knee powered to the line to take the real victory on the day. No wonder his son is one of the most feared professional sprinters in the World. The apple does not fall far from the tree.
With kindness in their hearts The Magician, Gizmo Grylls, Turkeys O’Donnell and The Daddy Bullet escorted me two thirds of the way back to Clonmel.
Along the way the discussion between The Magician and Gizmo Grylls continued :
‘You were looking around like a rabbit with mixamatosis’ ……… to which the reply came,
‘If you could pedal with your mouth there’d be no-one able to keep in to you’
Luckily the steel bridge arrived with the hill on the other side and thoughts going through my head of which would be Aldo and which would be McGregor were soon dispelled, as fatigue set in and everyone was nice to each other once more.
And they all went home happily after that.
Roll on next Sunday ……