Every day is a Rest Day…..

Today Fabian Cancellara put 7 seconds into his nearest rival on the Tour de France ‘Prologue’. Tomorrow it will be 10 weeks until ‘Ras na mBan’ Day 1. It may not seem obvious at first, but I am the missing link between these two cycling titbits. Fabian is my Cycling Crush*. He makes me want to ride my bike better. When I want to kick ass on my bike I picture Fabian Cancellara storming to the front of the bunch and taking the sprint finish (<= what do I sound like????!!!). I have dreams where Fab and I go on training spins together……  (mostly we don’t chat, but when we do I give him Jens Voigt’s personality; trust me on this one).

On Friday I went along to a meet-up with cycling coach Scott McDonald which was organised by Cycling Leinster’s Margaret (Mags) Donnelly. Mags, who is planning to tackle ‘Ras na mBan’ for the first time this year, was there, as were Trish, Lucy, Charlotte, Orla and Niamh. For Trish and Lucy this will also be their first ‘Ras na mBan’. Charlotte, Orla and Niamh were all in attendance last year; Charlotte and I cycled on the Orwell Team together.

Scott wisely let us exchange gossip / talk at each other / burn ourselves out, for a while, before he sat in and did his best to talk us through the ‘Training Plan’ he had drawn up. Given that he seemed to be directing a lot of his words in my general postcode, I think I must have had my “vaguely intelligent” face on. In reality,….. I was scanning the pages of spreadsheets he handed us and the only words that kept jumping out at me were REST and DAY. As Aido would say….BOOM!!

Then the questions started. Poor Scott.

He gamely covered every topic we threw at him, including……. how often was too often for Trish to play soccer, whether Orla’s upcoming holiday plans could accommodate 6 extra bodies, and if Charlotte should officially incorporate a siesta into her workday. In fact we were fairly close to that point where it would have seemed acceptable to ask him for relationship advice…. “Scott? Say you wanted to go for a spin with Fabian Cancellara, but he wasn’t returning your calls…….”

I’m reasonably sure he didn’t intend it this way, but if I was going to give a synopsis of Scott’s training advice to us, it would be: lose some weight, ride your bike up hills, lose some weight. Evidently I wasn’t the only one who left with this impression……. as Trish was folding it up to put in her bag, she referred to her Training Plan as her 10-week weight-loss program!

We shall see.

*I reserve the right to have more than one Cycling Crush. You know who you are.

Longest day of the year…….

I’m calling this a Test Post …….

I’ve been addicted to Twitter for almost a year now, but I’ve never ventured into the realm that exists beyond 140 characters, uncharted waters. I plan to do ‘Ras na mBan’ later this year, it will be my second outing to Ireland’s only International Stage Race for women. There are 6 stages, held over 5 days in early September, and based in Sneem, Co. Kerry. Last  year my participation was very much a last minute thing. I had only raced my bike for the first time in June of last year, and then in August ‘Orwell Wheelers’ Ladies Team kindly invited me to guest ride for them at ‘Ras na mBan’.

I had no idea what to expect, and I had no expectations of myself. I ended up finishing 42nd on GC, but more importantly I had an amazing time, met some super people, and enjoyed (almost,……. it was a little wet in Kerry)  every second of  my ‘Ras na mBan’ experience. Afterwards I wrote a short account of my race here.

So, earlier this week, Cycling Ireland Womens’ Commission founding member, and ‘Ras na mBan’ organiser, Valerie Considine kindly asked me to consider creating a blog to report on ‘Ras na mBan 2012’  from a riders point of view. I love the idea, it will give me something to focus on other than The Suffering, so I happily agreed! So, with a nod to Myles McCorry, here we are …….

21st of June 2012, the longest day of the year, and National Championships TT day. It rained through the night here in Kilkenny, and it’s still at it. Hopefully it’ll dry up for everyone doing Time Trials starting in Cahir later today, first rider off at 17:31……. Sadly I can’t go along, even to watch, other commitments…….

And even more sadly, I am bike-less at present (memories of my pre-Ras na mBan experience last year….. a dog took me down two weeks before the race, my fork was thrashed, and I was without a bike until the day before Stage 1, not ideal race preparation!). I had toyed with the idea of taking part in the Ladies National Championships Race, and even did a recce of the course a few weeks ago, liked it well enough, made some tentative plans etc. etc. However a mid-race crash earlier this week put a stop to my gallop, and a fatal blow to my beloved Canyon. So, no race for Fi. I’ll be there to watch though, I may even Tweet it all…