8am on Sunday morning. The rain lashes against the bedroom window as an alarm clock bleats nearby. The kids are already up and about. It is the weekend after all and they have probably been mooching around the house since 7am. Tomorrow is a school day and the normal routine of dragging them out of bed at 8am will resume for the next 5 days.
A howling wind rattles the side gate with every gusting blast of cold air. I can hear it through the walls from 50 feet away. I reach for the iphone and accuweather pronounces the arrival of another storm with a name. This time it’s Clodagh, next time it may be Daphney. I think of schooldays and the Australian soap opera Neighbours, and wonder where the dancer with small costumes is now. An orange weather alert should mean something but is briskly ignored.
Next up comes Facebook. The cyclists of Carrick and Clonmel are subdued and absent. Well, they are not really absent, most are at this very moment checking updates furiously looking for anyone in the area to proclaim that the day is too bad to go training. This is a proclamation rarely if ever found in these parts. Throughout Ireland cycling clubs are taking to Facebook and Twitter announcing that due to the weather conditions training spins are cancelled. These announcements never seem to eminate from Carrick on Suir.
The thought of going back to sleep rises but is quickly slammed back down. In our training group there will always be someone out no matter how bad the weather. As a teenager, on wet and windy days I would ask myself ‘What would Kelly do today?’ and always found myself out on the road.
Nowadays I know that if I don’t go training the phone will ring over the coming hours or sometimes a day or two later. The screen will alight with the image of a cyclist in PDM team kit grimacing as he fights his way up St. Patricks Hill in the rain as a euphoric crowd will him on. The name on the screen will be Sean Kelly, and I already know what one of the first questions will be. Was there many out today? No matter where in the World he is, who he is with or what race he is commentating on, Kelly always wants to hear all about the Sunday spin in Carrick. The thought of telling Kelly that I could not go training because it was a bit wet or a bit windy is not really an option that fills me with pride so I just get up out of bed and put my ONDA gear on.
Time to go and put on the porridge. Next up the coffee, taking great care not to get caught out with that de-caffinated waste that has found its way into the kitchen cupboard. Two slices of wholemeal toast into the toaster and being time efficient the 750ml water bottle is now filled to get a clear run at heading out the door at three minutes to nine.
I have to be out the door three minutes before nine to have enough time to grab the bike from the shed, check the tyres and be out at the main road for nine on the button to meet Anthony. Then it’s off down the by-pass towards Carrick to meet the lads coming up the road.
A dry Sunday may see 50 souls aboard their carbon steeds but a wet and windy one will have that number down to about 15. But they will still be there.
The funny thing about wet and windy days is that it is rarely as bad as you imagine from the comfort of the breakfast table.
The spin is aways the same in terms of mentality. Everyone present is glad that they made the effort. They fight the wind together and soak up the rain without complaint. There is always a mention of those who did not turn up. There is also an awareness that on another day any one of us could have chosen to stay home. Warm and dry, but also a little frustrated at missing the Sunday spin.