Even though I work in a medium-sized hospital, a hospital that employs several hundred other people, the group I spend my weekdays with is relatively small. It was bigger, but “The Embargo”, natural attrition, and a level of coincidental maternity leaves that warrant a post of their own, have taken a serious toll on the numbers of my work colleagues. As it happens (and I played no role in either the retirements or the pregnancies!) I’m quite fond of the few who remain, and so, every now and then I bake stuff for them.
These treats I bring to the staff room almost always mark some little occasion, even if it’s just that we have survived another long weekend on-call without ending up in DOP (the acute psych ward on the grounds). So yesterday I made banana bread, or three very slightly different banana breads to be precise….. I am experimenting with different recipes, and the staff room critics are always quick and merciless with their reviews (The Guardian recipe won, for the record). The occasion this time is that I will be away from the department next week…… small matter of a bike race……. So, as everyone enjoys the home-baking, or does a very good job of pretending, they ask me what I’m doing for my week off. And I just say: “I’m going to Kerry”.
No matter how I feel, or how any of us who have 9th-13th September 2012 embedded in our thinking since nearly this time last year, cycling is still a minority sport here. Every single day I have taken off work this year I have spent doing something cycling related. Cycling holiday in Mallorca in March, Ras Mumhan team support at Easter, Tour of Ulster team support in May, Ras Week on the road with An Post, tweeting The Nationals, and the Suir Valley 3-Day, never mind all the events I did myself. But I know there is just no point trying to explain Ras na mBan to people who just see bikes as a mode of transport, and there is certainly nothing to be gained in a town where hurling is the only sport and this weekend it reaches it’s climax. Mark Rohan won two paralympic hand-cycling gold medals this week, one today, but in Kilkenny he’ll just be a guy who used to play minor football for Meath.
This evening I baked 3 more Banana Breads (all The Guardian version!). These will be travelling to Kerry with me, one has been promised to Team Ireland’s apartment, the others will be available for tasting in the Cycling Leinster apartment. And the occasion? Well, I’m off work for a week, …..and ……this weekend women’s cycling starts it’s version of The All Ireland Final, and I can’t wait to be part of it!!!!