Red Line / Red Lane

by Stuart 25. June 2013 13:33

Animals that tried to kill me:




Pole Cat (which apparently don't live in Ireland so I'm changing my opinion to Stoat) - it might have looked small from a distance but I think it had sharp teeth.


Guinea fowl or small turkeys

A clowder of cats

The man who wrote the route sheet

I have just allowed my mind to wander back to the weekend.

I started asleep at 6 am - but by the time we had reached Enniskerry I was awake, in good form and with good company.  As we climbed Cruagh I tried to beg, buy or steal Ricky's small front ring as he did not appear to be using it, but he refused.  The top of the descent was slightly impeded by horses and I wondered if there was any audax rules about using one to carry or pull a bike and perhaps eating it later.  (Audax is French).

At the top of the climb past Dublin golf club (why can't I play golf instead) I noticed my left hand gear cable stop had detached itself from the down tube and slid down the front gear cable.  I stopped and pushed it back on the braze on.  Without a screw, it slipped off a couple of other times but not down the cable so I simply pushed it back on.

At this point Paddy and Aiden and someone who seems to move so fast all the time that even his name is too quick to remember had gone off ahead.  I was moving along nicely with Dave with the rest of the bunch just behind us.

I had stopped reading the sheet as the Eoghan's instructions were coming clear and accurate as ever.  Also, my normal computer was not working and I could not easily read the distance on my phone as the case was steamed up.

Unfortunately we had slipped out of earshot and missed a turn.  We rejoined the route shortly.

Dave asked if I wanted to push on to catch Paddy and Aiden in the distance but I declined to waste my energy to be dropped on the next hill.

Just after Calverstown I stopped and screwed the end cable stop back on permanently using the screw from the down tube shifter I happened to be carrying as part of my ballast.

Just as I was finishing off, the rest of the group passed so I caught them and rode to the control for a large breakfast roll and welcome coffee.

I have little recollection of the next section to Kinnitty other than laughing at the wind -  or was it the other way round?

There was some discussion on which side to roll off on.  I preferred the pulling over to the right and passing on the left as I found it easier to simply pull over and felt the pace was more constant.

I had more stuff in my bag than the shop at Kinnitty - so I shovelled some pasta, ketchup and chilli that I had prepared earlier to replace what the wind had callously stolen.

I climbed from Kinnitty with Eoghan with the paparazzi snapping us from the press car as we peaked over Castleconor Mountain.  I thought we were in but they must have caught up with Paddy and Aiden who were lying on the green at Freshford with rye smiles on there faces and the glazed eyes of satisfied men.  They said it was the ice cream.

I ate a consolatory jam sambo from my depleting stocks.

I have little recollection of the ride to Callan but I can assume it was up a hill.

We did some group faffing deciding where to leave bikes and the first couple of establishments had no food left.

I had a five minute snooze in the Chinese waiting for the food which was great and hit the spot.

Sometime around dusk after chasing onto the back of the pack at 37kmh I decided that at the next given opportunity I was going to drop everyone off the front and plough on at my own pace.  I was aware that there were a few riders shortly behind me who where possibly of friendlier pace.

On every endurance event, be it running, cycling, drinking or a weeks family holiday, I find there is a low point from which, if you can dig deep, things only get better.  My happened somewhere on the Rathvilly.  I was already feeling vile when my chain slipped off the side of my granny ring on the back up a steep incline (like there were any flat bits of road).

I attempted to re-mount by just pushing the bike here and there which was a mistake as when I eventually went and had a look the chain was wrapped around and the dérailleur was not looking the best.  At this point Niall and Jim passed.

I eventually put my head torch on bright white, got the chain back in the right place, adjusted my indexing as best I could and told myself to HTFU.

Sometime up the road I grouped with Jim and Niall, who had suffered a puncture - sorry Niall, I was grateful for your bad luck as I was grateful for your company.  I lead them astray a couple of times for which I apologise.

My spirits were further lifted by food and ten minutes sleep on the mattress (or was it tarmac) in front of Dave B's marvellous mobile cake emporium and windbreak.

I set off still asleep and unable to follow left and right instructions from Niall - but did wake up 10 minutes or so up the road.

Stopped at Hacketstown again - my phone had stopped charging as the wire had broke from repeated bending - ewerk users - make sure your wire does not flap around too much as it will fracture and break, usually at a connector.  I removed the spare light which was preventing my normal computer from working whilst Jim fitted the brightest flashing light I have seen and John caught up with us.

We stopped again further up the road for Jim to fit a new route sheet and Niall rode in some time later  somewhat incoherent.  I assumed he'd stopped for a couple but apparently it was worse.

For the second time in a month or so I climbed through Laragh into the Dawn.  As I turned down the "410.9        R                        L1031" something Dave B had mentioned to me on the REK stirred at the back of my mind but whatever it was passed and did not fully surface until the next morning.

Again I contemplated golf as a sport for a while trying memorize 3 posters in case only one counted.

Arrived to a welcome bowl of soup and tea.  Have vague memories of someone drinking beer before going out again but I can only assume it was my mind playing tricks again.

Didn't like the brightness of the hall so slept for an hour and a quarter across the front seats of my car - a tried and trusted technique.

Rose, changed, ate - fantastic bacon sandwich - again more thanks, tried to fix my gears - still no 1'st - cage as bent as a two bob note, dumped all excess weight from my bag, reset trip computer, and skipped off into the morning.

When I reached the bottom of the "Red Lane" Dave B's words came back to me fully and smacked me in the face like a wet kipper.  Luckily a girl had just leant out of the window of a passing car and shouted "Nice ass" to me so | was in playful form - and, not wishing to disappoint, I lifted my nice ass off the saddle and climbed.  Ricky's knobbly tyres would have helped.

In the the words of the great Hannah Montanna   -

"Ain't about how fast I get there

Ain't about what's waiting on the other side

It's the climb, yeah!"

- "The Climb" (,d.d2k)

(You wouldn't find anything as profound from Hawkwind).

(In my defence, I have three daughters).

Spent a while in Roundwood wondering why I was looking for a school when the shops were open but I worked it out in the end.

Having woken up, the rest of the day was, apart from some vicious climbing to Hollyfort, pretty pleasant.  Had a couple of showers but there was also some great sunshine lighting Ireland's 50 shades of green to full glory.

Although it was probably windier than Saturday, I didn't suffer too much - either because everything was fairly well sheltered by a large hill or because I was going too slow to notice.

Lovely descent from Roundwood and then more climbing with geese and turkeys to the coast road.  I stopped as I turned onto the coast and was passed by Aiden and Paddy.

I met with Niall at Hollyfort and we rode together on and off as we suited and we ate in Carnew's finest forecourt.

Ballycoog not only has a school and a church, it also commands a great view.

About 20k out from Bray, when my head was down and I was crawling along, I gave a passing cyclist a customary wave.  He turned and it was Paul.  This lifted my pace (to about walking) and the next hour passed quickly with good company - well good for me - I don't think I said more than five words back and two of those were curses.

Of course there was another hill but back @ Bray clubhouse I was treated like a king again.

I didn't stay long though as I wanted to get back home to a beer asap.

It was good to see Niall roll in just as I left - I had passed him resting shortly after Arklow and was worried that the herd of cats nearby might have mauled him.

Big thanks to all the support and from both riders and organisers.

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Audax | Audax Ireland | Cycling

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