I am not the only high profile inspirational blogger who is taking part in Haute Route 2016. HR Facebook’s page recently brought this truly inspirational athlete/motivational speaker/ model and blogger to my attention.
Looking at her blog Challenge Sophie I see that following a pivitol life event she decided to give up her job and now travels the world doing endurance events with the endorsement of several key brands. Truly moving and inspirational.
I plan to continue my blog as a independent voice in cycling. I too have a inspirational story of courage.
In the past I had dedicated myself to my career. I found myself working 50 hours per week, drinking to relax, I was overweight and worrying about keeping the show on the road. I was always overdrawn despite the long hours I was working.
Then a friend said something to me that inspired great change in me.
These words changed my life and unlike Sophie’s friend he didn’t rip them off someone else (My apologies to Sophie if her friend is in fact John A. Shred who published that aphorism about ships in the harbour in his book ‘Salt from my attic” in 1928. I digress, my friend said to me
“Peter, you’re so overweight that when you fall asleep the soft tissue in your neck relaxes and blocks your windpipe. You should consider loosing weight”.
Truly inspirational words.
I now cycle 8 hours per week, work 50 hours per week, drink alcohol to relax, worry, I am overweight and very overdrawn because of all the money I spend on stuff for my bike.
Now if only I took a good selfie someone might send me some new Oakleys or a Pinarelo
What about this Rapha cream and Rapha embrocation? (Paid for with my own money). Both great products.The cream protects your bits from chaffing and does smell of Provance (5/5). The embrocation does protect from harsh Irish conditions (4.9/5). One small tip though, store them separately as if the embrocation touches your genitals they tingle warmly. (Don’t think Sophie would use the word Genitals in her blog).
There is a golden thread …
As you are all aware by now my quest to get Gold at the Dartmoor Classic has reached extreme levels. I have done everything to reach my goal. Up to and including talking performance enhancing substances.
I wrestled with my conscience but when I was passed by a Septuagenarian 7 years ago on the Wicklow 200 I knew everyone was on something. ‘You can’t win the Tour on mineral water’
I dabbled with a few chemicals. First I went to Floyd Landis for inspiration. Beer and Jack Daniels went down well but incredably my times worsened. I even took a couple of wrong turns and put my Jersey on inside out.
I then became aware of Beetroot juice. ‘Nature’s EPO’. Cycling magazines wondered at its supernatural powers. I understand that many of the world’s top professional teams swear by it.
I followed a ‘loading regieme’ recommended by a leading cycling magazine and even purchased two ‘Beetroot gels’ which I consumed en route.
The result? Red everywhere! Red from everywhere! It is hard to portray the facts without seeming vulgar but I feel the need to impress upon my followers the florescent redness that has been part of my life for the past 5 days.
The highlight? Cycling up the first 11% gradient of the day. I cleared my throat- bright red sputum. I thought it was a piece of lung. Then I realised there was no taste of blood. Beetroot.
For the past 5 years I have dreamed of waking up with a Dartmoor Gold medal. Today I lived that dream. The highlight was when I went to the loo. Gold! Not red or florescent purple but just a golden steam- priceless.
Next year I will use EPO. Keep clear of Beetroot kids
Day 1 Beautiful weather, Sun, sheep and spectacular scenery. 150km at 30kph. Plan was to take it easy toady but predictably I raced around to the point of exhaustion.
So I’m sitting in the bath watching Quintana winning the Giro and soaking my muscles in Epson salts. I stand to adjust my drying cycling gear when I hear a child’s shrill voice from the street 2 floors below
‘Look Mummy, a man with no clothes!’
I leap to the window and crane my neck left and right scanning the street for this deviant. My eyes fall on an open mouthed woman starring at me while she hugs her daughter from behind, her shopping discarded on pavement all around her. The young girl has freed her eyes from her mother’s blindfold and she too is starring open mouthed. A small crowd is gathering. Next I notice a teenage boy, likely her son. This smart lad has his smart phone out and is hoping to capture the moment.
I bid a hasty retreat. Second thoughts, my La Vie Claire top is a little too distinctive. I dash to the window and pull it from the hanger and clutch it to my naked form. Best wear something else tomorrow.
No doubt Grainnne Ni Seoighe’s beautiful brown eyes and pouting lips will be starring out in the next episode of Crimecall pleading with viewers to help catch this deviant. Garda Mary Flynn will be standing next to a photofit of an as yet unidentified man in a La Vie Claire cycling outfit. Grains will express her hope aloud that this monster is apprehended quickly. She’ll sign off with ‘So goodnight and please don’t have nightmares’
Bernard Hinault will have some explaining to do to his wife. He will likely say it was Greg Le Monde and Le Monde will tell his wife it was Hinault.
I only hope the photofit doesn’t make me look fat and the eye witness description does me justice
The lady standing behind the table of sandwiches pointed the scissors at me.
‘Bacelet’ she demanded.
I had travelled a round trip of 560km (400km by car and 160km by bicycle) to collect my ‘Tour of Sligo’ bracelet and complete the set (An Post: Tour of Waterford, Tour of the Burren, Rebel Tour and Tour of Meath). I had survived the 160km route only to be denied by the mean lady in charge of the Sligo IT caterers.
‘I collect them’, the man in front of me pleaded’
She shrugged as the scissors cut the bracelet from his wrist. She handed him the bracelet so that he could hand it back to her as he should have done when she first asked. He looked sheepishly at the slice of Ham between two slices of white pan. The theme music from Platoon played on the tan-oi as he turned away.
‘I need it to get my collection’ I also pleaded.
‘I need it to get paid’, she replied curtly.
A obvious solution was to keep the bracelet and thank her for her help but I decided not to upset the ‘sandwich cart’. Its not like me. I usually like to start hassle and spread disharmony wherever I go but I was tired and I let it go.
When I look back now I realize it was only a paper bracelet and a lousy sandwich. I regret it all. I should have gone for it and said something that caused a fuss. and made Mean Bun lady cross.
Ah well- I got the final laugh on her- I took a second cup of coffee and took two of the Green Tea cakes even though there was a clear one sandwich, one coffee and one bun policy in place.
The An Post Tour of Sligo was fantastic and I am glad I left without my Bracelet as I will be going back again next year to get it.
Written by Guest Blogger J.Hargreaves
"Full or half?" The nice lady stood in front of the pig said. "Full. I'll have full". The lady prepares to hand Peter a full baguette filled with freshly carved pork from the hog roast put on by Kilmallock cycling club. I see a flash of indecision motivated by his disappointment at his performance on today's hub tour. Indecision turns to resolve, "no, I'll have a half". Looking pleased Peter turns to me and says, "did you see that?"
Peter reflected on the speed in which some of his club mates shot up today's climbs as he generously squirted mayonnaise on his demi-baguette.
Later the Strava stats showed that he was slower up Christ the King today than three years ago.
"Only nine weeks until Dartmoor", Peter splutters whilst sharing with me one of the cupcakes from the generous post-cycle spread laid on by the club.
Not being in training for Devon's famous sportive myself I head back up to the buffet table for a second round bringing back an apple for the Duckster.
"I won't thanks" says Peter "watching my weight Jac, watching my weight!".
Well my bike fit details just arrived in time for me to order my new frame. Yes, after 4 etapes, 5 Dartmoor classics, 5 Wicklow 200 and 5 Sean Kelly tours my beautiful Pinarello has developed a cracked frame.
My Pinarello was purchased just as financial disaster struck Ireland and like a man eating Lobster as the Titanic sank, I felt the were two choices I had with a modest financial windfall I had recieved. One was to invest the money (€5k) wisely in a steady commodity like gold or to blow it on a ridiculously expensive toy that I would not be able to afford for several years. Lobster tastes great and my Pinarello was a dream to cycle, brought me great joy and was worth every penny.
Well thanks to a horse that I have cycled past on a few occasions I am able to afford to replace my Pinarello.
Ireland remains in financial crises and my bank balance remains red so when Lord Windemere won the Gold cup by a nose he allowed me to continue to cycle in the style I am accustomed. More on this later
Diet going well, this is easy
Diet not going well, this is delicious