I can see your house from here…

IN WHICH SAOIRSE COMPLETES HER TRIATHLON AT BELVEDERE HOUSE IN MULLINGAR, WE HAVE AN ODD INCIDENT WITH HANDCUFFS, AND WE PUSH THE BOAT OUT ON THE BIKE (IN AN AWFUL MANGLING OF METAPHORS…)


Another week closer to the off. Another week’s training.

The big news this week was that S did her Triathlon in Belvedere House, in Mullingar. Read more here. It’s a great idea, and a great cause. I won’t steal her thunder by putting up all the pics I have (I have a lot!), nor can I do it justice anyway, as you need to take part in these events to truly soak up the vibes (and the lake water).

Suffice to say it was a busy weekend. No doubt a full race report will appear in due course on S’s blog page. Just to say that the crew who put it all together did a fantastic job, the atmosphere – despite the weather – was crackin’, Bressie worked non-stop all day, even swimming with many of the waves for moral support, and stopping every 2 minutes for a photo (okay, not in the water), and Carolyn came down to support Saoirse in her endeavours, which is what great friends do.

In terms of training, the week panned out like this:

Monday 4th: 10.5k running in the park, with lots of grassy loops to take the pressure off the legs, in a 6.15 pace.

Tuesday: A gym session of bike and run. This was over in the station gym, and I was interrupted halfway through the bike session with a banging on the door. What a lot of folks don’t realise is that most fire stations, and especially those in the rural areas, are unmanned, so calling around at random times is not going to be a success. As it turns out, this was a mother and her young teenage son, and he had managed to handcuff one of his wrists quite tightly with a pair of serious-looking metal cuffs. We don’t judge here at the unironedman, nor in the fire service. It’s not my job to work out how you got your car up a tree like that (I just assume you are a stunt driver); it’s my job to get you down safely.

After a quick look at the situation (and a number of scenarios and options, some of which were a tad mediaeval) I took them into the tool room and whipped it off with the bolt cutters. Easiest, safest, and most controllable option. That was one happy teen…

The training continued; all told about an hour on the bike and a mile on the treadmill, most of which was completed with a grin on my face. I have no doubt many training sessions have been cut short for a number of odd reasons, but that one would have to be right up there.

Wednesday: 3.5k in the pool in the morning sessions.

Thursday: Drill in the station was early to allow for the match, but I was getting twitchy by full time, and headed out into the park for an 11k run in a 5:38 pace, which is a good sort of pace to be tipping along at (despite finishing the sentence with a preposition). It was dark by the time I got home, but then if the wheels come off (in any sense you care to imagine) down in Kerry next month, I could well be finishing the run leg with a head torch. It’s part of the kit you need to bring.

Friday: Rest day, training-wise, though a busy one in preparation for the triathlon tomorrow in Mullingar. We drove down to register that evening – it takes the pressure off when you can get the paperwork out of the way.

Saturday: A big day for S. It was nice to be the support crew for a change, and I hope I did my job well. One of Saoirse’s friends came down too, which was a fantastic boost – fair play to ya, Carolyn. It was a tired, sweaty but happy bunch that finally made it home that afternoon, and even the wet weather had cleared up at that stage, though in fairness it was always mild and humid.

I am officially on holiday time now from the station, so I had a decent run around the town to places I haven’t been for a while. Up through the park, then out onto the Clonee Road. Up over the canal bridge and along the towpath. Buzzard low overhead, and orchids along near the old lock-keeper’s cottage; always something to see on a run. Off the canal near Intel and down through Kilmacredock and across the link road into Castletown House. Run through the grounds and back through Barnhall. A nice run: 18k in all in 1.47, and kept the pace under the 6 mark too, or 5:58 minutes per kilometre if you are a stickler for detail.

Sunday: A long spin was in order, so out via Ardclough and across through Bodenstown and Prosperous, and a stop around the 40k mark for a bite at the canal near Allenwood.

picnic

On towards the Bog of Allen, past Lullymore. It’s an eerie sort of place around here. It’s flat, needless to say. Perhaps not as flat as Rich Hall’s home town (the American comedian reckons it’s so flat where he lives, on a clear day you can see the back of your own head…)

gates
The Bog of Allen.

pano

Rathangan was up next, then Clonbullogue. This small town is famous for the Irish Parachute Club and its power station. Perhaps there are other reasons why it’s famous but they have passed me by. Apologies, good people of Clonbullogue.

power_station
The turf-powered station.

After it was the big smoke of Edenderry, and back across the border into Kildare. In truth, I hadn’t even copped I was in County Offaly. The threatened rain came down, and the haul out of town towards Carbury was a wet one. I had a choice then to keep heading northerly and pick up the N4 route home, or head back the way I came, and I chose the latter option, via Derrinturn, rejoining the Clane Road near Allenwood. Anyone who knows this stretch of road from Clane to Lullymore appreciates how straight it is. This is not always a comforting thing on a bike, especially at the end of a long spin – the road stretches out in front of you. Let’s not get too anthropomorphic here… it doesn’t mock your efforts, or anything. It doesn’t laugh in your face (that job is taken already, by the wind). But it does stretch on and on. And on…

Finally home, and the GPS was all to buggery, so I didn’t have an accurate read of the route. Well, I have sections of it. The bike computer says 123k, and I left about half twelve and was back around 6. There were a few stops on the way for food, toilet breaks, photos and rain jackets, but all told it was a good spell in the saddle. My backside begs to differ, but then one should not get into the habit of talking to one’s arse anyway. That way lies madness…

Anyway, a good way to finish off the week.

The Euros wound up last night with a win for Portugal, and even though I had drawn them in the station pool which means a few quid bonus for the holidays, I was up for France really. Ronaldo came off injured in the first half, but the team pulled it together to win in extra time with a fine goal. To see the look on Ronaldo’s face when he lifted the trophy; it was the kid who who has just got the bike for Christmas. Unbridled joy, and other clichés. You had to smile. I’ve never seen anyone so happy.

aerial
The view of my lane from the top of the hydraulic platform. Kids, you must never steer one of these and take pics at the same time…
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