I am The Walrus.

Hot off the presses!!! Hold the front page!!! Well….. the back page anyhow…. or just, like any page somewhere near the back there, where there’s a bit of a space….

Ahem….. I have been selected to ride on the Cycling Leinster Team for ‘Ras na mBan’! Quite a nice surprise, and I like blue too. And what team mates….. Caroline, Niamh and Orla Mc were all on the Leinster Squad last year, and Charlotte was on the Orwell Team with me last time around; they are all lovely (really!), they are all upbeat, and they all finished higher than me on the GC in 2011, and I am thrilled to be cycling on the same team as them this year, whoooo hooooo!!!

I must make special mention of Mags, our Reserve team member. Mags and I have ridden a lot of roads together in the 2 years I’ve known her. While this will be her first year to race Ras na mBan, she came down to cheer us on one day last year and I will never forget seeing, and hearing herself and Trish at the side of the road on that grim climb not far from Sneem. God we were suffering, well I was anyhow, and Mags & Trish hollering at us on every lap really kept me going.

And a team is not a team without those quiet shadowy souls in the background, the people who keep the chains oiled, and the bottles filled, and the heads clear…. Tom and Aidan. Aidan and Tom. Guys, you have no idea what you have signed up for….dreams are made of this…… and so are some nightmares. Probably.

Aside: It was not really news for me to hear that I am The Wildcard selection on this team, I am not really sure where this leaves me, or what anyone expects of me. I do know that we all have to race the same roads, no matter who we are or what  team we are on…… and I also know that no one expects more of me than I expect of myself.

And I know that I am a wild card indeed.

T-minus 3 weeks and counting….

This weekend Orla McEvoy (Bray Wheelers) organised a ‘Ras na mBan’  Training Weekend on behalf of CI Women’s Commission. On both Saturday and Sunday over 20 girls/women/ladies climbed and descended their way around North Wicklow under Orla’s (and Larry’s; thanks Larry!) guidance. We had glorious sunshine and a trip to Mount Usher Gardens on Saturday, and we had misty rain and National Champion Mel Spath for company today. Other than the requisite suffering (whoever christened Slaughter Hill wasn’t being ironic!), it was a most enjoyable weekend.

There were a few of us in the group who had tackled Ras na mBan previously, there were several who will be taking part for the first time this year, and I genuinely think the remainder (well, other than Larry) may contemplate making the trip to Sneem next year. Everyone I cycled with both today and yesterday would definitely be capable of doing Ras na mBan, and I hope they all do some day; it really is a privilege to be able to take part. (It is easy to write that as I sit here on the couch……. half way up Lugalla today I would rather have eaten my bike than take it to Kerry).

This weekend was also the first time in a long time (eh, Ras na mBan last year, possibly…) that I have spent two days in a row doing hilly 100km spins (sorry Scott!), and my legs (recently hewn from marble) knew all about it this morning. Nonetheless, a meal, a shower, a pair of recovery tights, and a quick nap later and I’d almost say I could do it all over again tomorrow, ….. and the next day,….. and the next day? Yes, Ras na mBan…… 5 days of suffering, a lifetime of patting myself on the back. Priceless.