“What do you think of the breakfast Dazz?”
We’d Just finished a long hard run with the Sunday morning gang and as usual they’d tried to kill us. It’s a sort of “runners showing the triathletes how to run” type of thing I think.
“It’s really good actually. Very tasty. Did I tell you about the one I found? It was the best breakfast I’ve ever had”
Of course I’m interested now. I don’t often eat breakfast but when I do it should be special. And huge. I’m impressed by big breakfasts.
That probably makes me sound odd…
In a coffee shop down a side street.
Hipster student guy at the next table has a packet of Gauloise and a Zippo on the table and is reading Stephen Hawking. Rolled up jeans, loafers, no socks.
Next table has a guy in a pink blouse with a handbag.
Next table is ladies with Dior bags, white jeans, big hair and tiny dogs.
It smells like a flower garden. Or a parfumerie. Hard to know if it’s the blooming window boxes or the clientele.
Side streets in Dublin aren’t this chic and cool and pleasant. There’s something a little bit special about Paris.
The alarm buzzes and jolts me out of a deep sleep. I hit snooze and fall instantly back asleep. It buzzes again and again I hit snooze. It takes ten minutes before I wake enough to turn it off and trust myself not to fall asleep again.
Twenty minutes and a small strong coffee later I’m pulling onto the motorway, there’s a surprising amount of cars on the road considering the fact that it’s 3:30 am. I’m guessing that for a lot of these people it’s still yesterday. They haven’t yet made it to bed last night, never mind as far as my today. Read More
It’s 5:15 am, I’m lying in bed and the alarm hasn’t gone off yet. I reach over, pick up the phone and switch the alarm off before it buzzes and wakes Ais. I slip out of bed and out of the room without disturbing her.
Woke at 5:30am. Got up. Made coffee. Went back to bed and did some work. Got up again and made more coffee. Went back to bed and did some more work. Got up again. Put on the speedos. Decided I needed another coffee. Decided I should drink it in bed. Got back into bed. In my speedos. Trying to decide if I want to lie down more than I want to swim.
I’ve been fixing bikes for over twenty years. I like to think I’m a reasonably competent bike mechanic. But holy shit. Seven broken tyre levers and the stupid fucking tyre still refuses to go on.
Ok. I’m getting ahead of myself. So this is what happened.
I’m doing mechanical support at TriAthy. Apart from Ironman it’s the biggest triathlon in the county. Two thousand athletes, a large proportion of whom are first timers, beginners, newbies, tri virgins. It’s been my favourite event to work at for years.
It’s the same every year. Someone (actually usually it’s about thirty someones) shows up with a bike that’s broken or not safe to race and they’re turned away from transition and end up over with me at mechanical support panicking that they won’t get to do what is usually their first tri.
I get a big buzz from saving someone’s day. I feel like a superhero with an Allen key and a track pump.
Anyway a woman showed up to get a puncture fixed, easy one. So I peeled off her tyre, pulled out the tube, cleaned the tyre and replaced the tube. I started re-fitting the tyre and needed a tyre lever to get the last bit on.
“Man this is tight” I think to myself and then there’s a snap and the levers broken. “Shite” I think. I haven’t done that for a long time. “No problem, I’ve brought eight levers with me” I think to myself.
I love the feeling of being a triathlete. I felt that swimming the other day for the first time in a long while. The feeling of gliding through the water, not exactly effortlessly and I’m sure it wasn’t pretty but I wasn’t drowning either.
There’s something about ow it feels when I start back swimming, it feels like I’m training. I start to feel like an athlete again.
It doesn’t matter if I’m already running and riding every day, that’s just what we do anyway. A morning run with Ais or an easy coffee ride with John on a midweek morning when we should probably be working but say fuck it lets ride instead. Read More
I look in gates as I pass and every one is different, a field full of hay drying in the sun, a perfectly manicured lawn, a crop of wheat swaying in the wind, a meadow full of grazing cattle.
Then I turn a corner and start to climb I pop up out of the saddle and I’m dancing on the pedals. The tailwind is flattering me but I don’t care, it feels incredible. I sail effortlessly up the short hill, the sunburst paint of the bike glinting and shining and looking fucking deadly.
We started out a minute before the faster group. Chatting and cruising easily until they passed us. After that it didn’t take long for Ais to politely suggest that I should head on over and run with them. I knew what she was actually saying was “you’re annoying the shit out of me by running one step ahead and dragging the pace up. So why don’t you go and see how you get on over there half wheeling people”
At that stage they had opened probably a two minute gap from us but I took the hint (I’m not completely stupid) and picked up the pace.
Some of the best living is spent behind bars. Solo, misty, morning rides. Coffee, cake, country roads. Rolling hills, flats or full on climbs.
The silence of the countryside only broken by the sound of the chain on the cassette, the wind in my ears and the tyres on the road.