So yet again the wonderful, annual cycle4haiti event rolled around. - now in its 8th year - where scores of people cycle coast-to- coast from Dublin to Galway over a weekend. Come rain, hail or shine, those wheels must turn to cover the 240 km to Eyre Square in Galway.
All the training time has disappeared in waves of good intention and thinking about training. Then as the “zero-hours in the saddle” reality dawns, the talk changes to “ah sure, it’ll be no problem, it’s flat between Dublin and Galway isn’t it?” :)
So this year, there were two options. One group cycled the entire 240 kms leg from Dublin to Galway at a pacy, “elite’ clip, while a second group joined them at the halfway mark to cycle the 120 kms from Athlone to Galway at a more “normal human on a bicycle” pace.
The main feature of this Carlsberg of cycles is the incredible infrastructure, planning and support in place for both the bikes and the humans involved. Every hour there’s a stop for the delicious carb-loading. You can eat your body weight in bananas and chocolate safe in the knowledge that you’re an athlete (even if it’s just for a day!). The amazing support crew cycle up and down the peloton as if they are on electric bikes. Turns out those guys train 500-600 kms a week – all year round. No wonder they are so fit. Note to self to spend a few more hours on the bike this year in preparation for next year.
The weaker cyclists are encouraged to stay near the front of the peloton and this year they had the most marvelous technique to help the strugglers on the hills…a motorbike would sidle up beside the puffing and panting cyclist and simply whoosh them to the front – an exhilarating way to not embarrass yourself at the back. It was either that or end up being scooped up in the van.
The glorious arrival into Eyre Square, Galway has the hearts pounding and a lump in your throat with a little bit of pride at crossing the finishing line and the sheer relief that you survived and didn’t make a complete “eejit’ of yourself along the way.
A few funds raised to help those in need in Haiti and sure you’ve earned that glass of wine.