For an outdoor sport cycling is not really weather dependant. A shower of rain will not stop a race and Sunday morning training groups rarely reduce in size due to a drop of water from the sky.
Waking up this morning I looked out to see thunder and rain with some flashes of lightening. I went downstairs and made breakfast, came back upstairs and put on my gear. Thunder never lasts too long so I wasn’t too concerned about missing a training spin.
Having arranged to meet some friends along the way I did not realise that their electricity had been cut due to lightening so found myself left to my own devices on the road. It was a nice autumn morning, save for the rain, but I would be getting wet in the shower afterwards anyway, so that didn’t really bother me.
What did bother me as I approached my intended turnoff for Millvale just before Carrick was a deep rumbling roar from the other side of the ditch.
Looking down I noticed that the field inside was a good six feet below the level of the road and with a four foot ditch there was no way whatever animal was emitting the thunderous barking noise that seemed to vibrate the trees all around could possibly make it out.
However, as I noticed the deafening noise feel closer and closer suddenly there right beside me as I pedalled along, just two feet from my head appeared a hairy grey mouth with teeth ablaze.
What seemed to be a cross between an Irish Wolfhound and a donkey had managed to clear the ditch and was now in hot pursuit of his intended target, me.
I normally don’t mind a dog popping out to say hello and often reply by giving them drink from my water bottle. The drink sometimes sprays into their face and they have to stop on the road before they can thank me but there was no offering this guy a drink, he was more interested in food.
An unintended sprint session followed with me passing my intended turn off point in an effort to evade my pursuer. Luckily, his territory now deemed safe from the marauding figure with two spinny roundy legs he felt safe once more and ceased his pursuit. Or else he just got tired.
Unfortunately I was unable to document my endeavours with either picture or video as I was concentrated on other things.
On I rolled in a more relaxed fashion towards Carrick and my revised route where I passed Keith Barry running from the town. I forgot to mention the prehistoric guard donkey dog animal kind of thing out the road but hopeful he wasn’t going that far anyway.
As today was my first day aboard a Vitus that has been kindly donated to the cause by Chain Reaction Cycles I was drawn to the mystical Seskin Hill.
King Kelly had returned to his Kingdom in a blaze of glory back in the Nissan Classic days and the fearsome Seskin hill was the focal point of much of the drama within the race. I wasn’t feeling very fearsome or King like as I made my way along the lower slopes but managed to find a rhythm approaching the hairpin bend where I stopped to document my efforts aboard a Vitus, just like Kelly. (although I don’t think Kelly ever stopped to take a photo)
A ten minute search of the ditch produced a nice big rock that worked perfectly as a bike stand.
Leaving Seskin hill in my wake the Comeragh Mountains now rose up before me. With the sun now breaking through to reflect on the steep cliffside contours the majestic mountain presented itself in all of its glory.
Rathgormack came next with a busy looking Fitness Freak studio where Tara O’Donnell puts those who like to spin through their paces to great effect.
Just up the road is the National school which contained most of my family. I looked in over the wall as sometimes when I time it just right I get to meet my daughters for a few seconds during their school day. There is a very enjoyable feeling of subterfuge whenever this happens and I always head back out on the road with a smile on my face.
Sky hill now beckoned as a few more drops of rain fell with the Verge DeFend jersey doing its job by keeping the rain out to good effect. The Vitus rolled up nicely once more and I was beginning to really enjoy the bike. A one word description would be ‘Smooth’. So far so good, although my friendship with the shape of the Vitus own brand handlebars has yet to really form.
Boola bridge was next and pushing over the top in the big ring gave another example of smoothness with an effortless transfer of power to the pedals through a good stiff bottom bracket.
Now came Tickincor. Today it was wet and damp. On a bike I was only getting used to I wondered what sort of time was going to stop the clock at the stop sign way down below. It only took me three minutes twenty five seconds to find out, the second fastest of seventy two Strava times. Imagine if it was a dry day 😉
Back home once more I reflected on another nice day to be able to get out there and ride a bike and came to the conclusion that any day you get to ride your bike is a good day !