Grand slam twarthed by Mean Buns

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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.

Fall back

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Beautiful mild Autumn weather means great cycles on the quiet country roads on North Cork.

The days getting shorter and the mornings darker but still great cycling to be had

Next thing on agenda is the route for the Tour de France and the announcement of L’etape du tour route.  Rumours suggest Tourmalet/Hautacam but this would be a repeat of 2008. A start/finish in the same town would probably be too much to ask for again but the atmosphere and Craic in Annecy last year was brilliant

Tired, me?

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Well I won’t have the No. 1 on my bike next year but I did enjoy my day in the Sun. I was telling everyone  ‘I was fastest last year’, as they past me on the climbs.

Stayed with the front group until Maam and after a hour in the wilderness myself and two others managed to catch the leaders again as we arrived at the biggest climb of the day. They took it easy and I managed to stay with them over the top and down into Maam. 50 km to go and then Bang!

A race broke out when we arrived at the 3 km timed Mountain goat challange. I eased smoothly out the back as the back of Nigel Forde’s head disappeared up the road ahead of me. I finished the climb well out-sprinting a few guys and made it down to Maam Cross with one other guy. He then dropped me with ease and I found myself cycling back to Galway on my own.

I stopped in Oughtard for a comfort break and two guys past me. It broke my heart but 25km later I caught them. They kindly allowed me to tow them into Galway and past me in the last 50m.

Crossed the line in around 4 hr 25 min. A lovely BBQ waited and thanks to a 7am start I was fed and on the road home by Noon. Sat in front of the telly for Liverpool v United by 12:30

C’est fini

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The seventh of July 2013 will be remarked upon in Irish cycling circles,  for many years to come. It was the day I completed L’etape du Tour in less than 6 hours. Dan Martin stage win in the real Tour might also get a mention.  Today’s spin may turn out to be the peak of my cycling achievement but hopefully there is more to come for Dan Martin. Maybe a victory on Ventoux next weekend or indeed in the Etape stage itself on the penultimate day of the tour.

The retirement of an heroic helmet

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‘You should take a photo of my helmet and put it on your stupid blog thing’ said Hugh as he sipped on his coffee. ‘It has been all over the world. I’m buying a new one later and today is it’s last spin’

Hugh’s helmet had been all over Sligo/Leitrim, up most of the great climbs of France, many of them several times, it has done the Wicklow 200 five times and it had gone up the Alto de Letras in Colombia.

‘Get your own blog, my readers aren’t interested in such trivia,  your very self absorbed, Hugh

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Galeriens du Mount Ventoux

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Nearly 15 hours after we started in Bedoin myself rode into the clouds sitting atop Mount Ventoux and arrived at the summit of le Geant.

One line rider gripped the summit pole, his bike lying lifeless on the ground. He seemed  to be trying to take in the magnitude of what he had achieved.

‘Oh us?  This is our fourth time cycling up to day’ I still remember him standing there with his mouth dropped open and a distance stare in his eyes as we posed for this photo. I almost felt bad for busting his bubble but 187 km and 6000m of accent including over 10 km off road climbing we had to tell someone and he was the only one around.

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Words uttered in haste

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Finished 48 minutes after the gold medal time, my slowest Dartmoor of the four only to have Computer add over ten minutes to my time when I did not register on finish line … Argggh

I did the last five hours with my gears screeching at me and every second cyclist I past telling me my bike was making noise. Some  even suggested that I should oil her every now and then Argggh

And don’tget me started on all those guys hearing that my bike was clearly malfunctioning and yet saying nothing Argggh

I am sitting in a warm Bath and starting to calm down.

I would not have finished off it was not for the help of three riders. The only number I’m sure of its 2003, I think 1916 was one of the others. I will  detail later

I have Marked next year’s event in my calendar and will book the time of work tomorrow. It’s gold in 2014 for me!