It’s 9am on a cold and fresh Wednesday morning. The heat of the past week has dissipated as the group gathers outside The ESB in Carrick on Suir – It’s many a year since this location housed the ESB office for the Town, but everyone still arranges to congregate ‘Down at the ESB’ as Joe Hahessy famously mentioned in his prose of the same name.
This group has a King, but it’s the local Super Value Butcher who suggests the route each week. The King is so called not because of a royal lineage. This isn’t Buckingham Palace after all, but because of his all conquering feats on foreign shores. The name Sean Kelly is known in every corner of the World but in this small corner the Global superstar is just one of the lads, rolling out on a Wednesday with ‘The Dole Gang’ as he calls them.
Passing the place where he was born and grew up in Curraghduff we look ahead at the majestic Comeragh Mountains rising up before us. Mahon bridge is the entry point for Mahon Falls, but today it is the entry point for a piece of foreign matter into the rear tyre of The King.
MacGyver produces a patch of material from the famous Shimano bumbag, to cover the hole from within the tyre and we continue on towards Leamybrien. The bumbag often houses jam sandwiches along with a variety of tools that an entire professional workshop would struggle to match.
A right turn just before the village brings us away from the traffic and towards the hills. The Mama road is offered and declined before we find ourselves descending The Pike. A sharp left now brings us towards the coast road where the focus turns to fashion. Some like to try on shoes others like to try on helmets.
The King and The Magician vere right towards a sheltered cove and everyone folllows.
Shortly after Bonmahon as a nature break is called, Lenny The Champ slows, stops and falls into the ditch, as his shoe and cleat divorce, never to be reconciled.
Now with just a slippy sole on a slippy pedal to propel him home The Champ looks for a remedy. At first a piece of broken truck strap presents itself and does a good job of holding shoe to pedal for all of thirty seconds. The Champ struggles on.
A dog runs from a gate towards the group barking. However, sensing the vocalised thoughts of his collar being the perfect solution to The Champs dilemma he retreats quickly.
A van approaches and is flagged down. A request for tie wraps is unfullfilled but a roll of insulating tape is offered. Whilst this is taking place MacGyver is twenty meters back the road rubbing a pole.
The rubbing must have worked as moments later he rolled up and produced a descent sized tie wrap. The perfect solution to the Champs problem.
MacGyver later told me that he remembered the location of the tie wrap from an evening spent marking out the route for a race a few years back.
The King morphed into a mechanic extraordinaire as The Champ was clamped onto his pedal.
We set off again and the King was soon cruising up the outside of the group, side-saddle pedaling with one leg offering the next solution if the tie wrap failed.
The road now brought us towards Carrols Cross where The Magician pulled one out of the hat by narrowly avoiding a rear on collision with an astra driving radio fiddler. The conversation within the group now turned to life insurance.
Twists turns and T-junctions soon brought us to the route of the St. Patricks day race in Carrick.
The winding road now brought with it questions. Would Gizmo have distanced Nana, would Nana have beaten the Magician in the gallop. Is 400k per week enough to prepare for an A4 race. The questions remained unanswered.
Carrick returned into view as another Wednesday spin wound down. Some did not want the enjoyment to end so headed for the hills of Rathgormack.
The Sunday spin may have more bodies and more speed but it’s the Wednesday spin that is the highlight of the week.