Autumn Sunshine In Mallorca

​October 2016 (written on January 28, 2017.)

It’s been a cold, wet, windy week in Dungarvan and therefore perfect to do my long-promised review of cycling in Mallorca last October (2016).

Marion and I flew to Palma on October 12th, and the one hour bus journey from the airport to Port de Pollenca at the northern end of the island was the beginning of some firm friendships.

Once we had settled in to the hotel, our next task was to collect our bikes and within ten minutes we were ready for road. As it was 4pm, we decided to simply cycle around town to be sure the bikes were right. We stopped for coffee and an opportunity to watch the world go by, seated outside in sunshine and shorts. Indeed, the little town seemed to operate at a slow pace too. Siesta was just over, and the locals were coming back to life. 

Coffee and tapas

Later, we attended a briefing for the 25 new arrivals, at which all was explained and queries were answered. 

The evening meal was buffet service, and there certainly was no reason whatsoever for anyone to go hungry! 

Day 1: As with dinner last night, breakfast was buffet service. Cyclists need to be fuelled up for the journey. Marion and I decided to cycle together with the easy group. This turned out to be a very social group, and we pedalled along through beautiful flat landscape while chatting with so many interesting people. The group stopped for coffee and cake in Muro, before returning to base for a mid-afternoon swim.

There’s a DCC Jersey there somewhere

Day 2: to Santa Maria and back with a faster group @29kph approx. A great spin, fairly nippy. I dropped my bottle early on and was relieved that nobody came down trying to avoid it. Later, we stopped at a bike shop in Binnisalem. Guess what I bought? 

Post-ride relaxation at Tolo’s

Day 3: Binnisalem again, this time with Marion’s group. After 30k I had a gear cable malfunction and was unable to use the big ring. No matter, because the route was so flat, and the cycling was easy. We intended doing Selva Gorge after coffee, but the leaders decided against it because of the weather. They were right, as light rain turned very nasty on the return home.

En route to Binnisalem

Day 4: Marion took a day off, while I went with Tony, Sean and Siobhan on a short spin to the lighthouse at Formentor, stopping at a beautiful beach on the way to get a glimpse of Catherine Zeta-Jones’s house. Unknown to the others, it wasn’t the house I was really looking for. Later, at the lighthouse, the goat was incorrigible! Advice for visitors: the café at the lighthouse is really expensive. 

This fella would eat cardboard! So would the goat.

This spin was very short and we were back before midday, so Marion and I went off-bike visit to the old town of Pollenca for the afternoon. 

Day 5: full day in Alcudia, just doing the tourist stuff. 

Day 6: The long-awaited highlight of the week was the Sa Collabra route, a 100k round trip including the famous descent to the little port followed by the 8k climb back up. It was very manageable, and nowhere was there any section as steep as some of our Waterford climbs. 

Day 7: Return journey to Ireland. We were so glad that we did not have any late drinks with our friends last night. That really would not have been a good way to finish our first cycling holiday together. 
Happy cycling, and stay safe out there,

Páraig

About: – Páraig is the author of BurkesBiking. He has several international cycling events behind him, but Mallorca is extra special because it’s the first time his wife Marion has joined him. Very likely there will be repeats. 

Paraig also has a gardening blog at Petals by Paraig.

Milestones And Kilostones

When I started cycling in 1998, I had no goals. I soon progressed to having some very small goals. The first and foremost was to be able to hang in with the group on a club spin, and to finish the spin in a state of not-completely-knackered. This is critical, and I’d assume it’s the main priority of most group riders.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Milestones are important. In general, we measure every aspect of life by milestones. From a very early age a baby’s first milestones are recorded in the heart of a mother. First tooth, first step, first word, first day at school, first sleepover, first pretty-much-everything.

Reminds me of a lovely story from many years ago. I had met an old Kerryman. He was so interesting, and at one point I asked him how old he was?

I’m not exactly sure, but I was born very young!

This may be seen as an example of milestones being rubbished as being unimportant. Indeed, milestones are not unimportant! It is via measuring ourselves against “normal” that we actually come to realise that we are in fact quite normal. Furthermore, anyone with a wee bit of savvy will have realised that “normal” does have quite a wide range, so it does not come as much of a surprise that my first tooth and your first tooth may be separated by weeks or even months.

Yet, there is an important point I feel is worth making. It is this: Each and every one of us is far more than the sum of our milestones. For a moment, let’s move ahead to an adult version of the world, one where we create a goal, and by various means we then set about achieving it. This might be seen as a milestone, yet some adult milestones tend to be seen in a rather less-than-shiny light. For example:

  • turned thirty
  • married
  • first child
  • separated or divorced
  • turned fifty
  • retired/pensioned

In particular, because this is a cycling blog, let’s turn our attention to cycling goals. This was mentioned last week, and now it’s time to put some meat on the bones of it. In my case, when I started cycling in 1998, I had no goals. I soon progressed to having some very small goals. The first and foremost was to be able to hang in with the group on a club spin, and to finish the spin in a state of not-completely-knackered. This is critical, and I’d assume it’s the main priority of most group riders. The cycling bug hits us in many an identical manner. What comes next? In my case, moving from being thankful to be able to just stay in the bunch to a higher place: managing just fine in the bunch. This is a goal of many a group rider and is rightly prioritised. In cycling-speak we hear of phrases such as these:

  • flying
  • some buzz!
  • happy out

It is just after this euphoric point in a cyclist’s career that things may go pear-shaped. While some are content to remain in this blissful state, others want MORE, in the form of faster or longer or steeper or more challenging. Let’s examine these

FASTER

Most leisure cyclists want to participate at a level that allows them to enjoy the sport. Indeed, they do want to know their place in the pecking order, and to this end, a little bit of a race up a hill or at the end of a spin is enough to cement ones’s position until the next time. On a more competitive level, cyclists who opt to race are prepared to lay their ambitions open to scrutiny in a winner-takes-all scenario. Finally, truth be told, whether leisure or competitive, there is an upper limit to our ability to go faster. We just get tired sooner, or enjoy it a bit less.

LONGER

Moving on, some of us prefer longer events. While many sportives offer the three-tier approach (50k, 100k and 160k) there are some that go above and beyond. In 2016 I became a member of Audax Ireland and the event calendar for the coming season looks pretty impressive daunting. Myself and a few buddies will be hoping to tackle 200k, 300k, 400k and 600k between now and August. Beyond this, there’s ultra long, but we won’t go there just yet!

STEEPER

Perhaps there are some out there whose kicks come from harder steeper mountainous rides. I’d not be one of them. The main reason for this is because coffee stops are less regular, and sometimes not available at all. My peak of steepness was back in 2006 at the Alpe d’Huez. Nowadays, I admire the mountain goats rather than pretend to be one.

 Group Century

A beautiful day for cycling saw 11 Group 4 cyclists set off with a new route and a new challenge of longest distance yet. Keith joined us en route as we hit towards Carrick at a brisk pace. The sun on our backs had spirits up and the banter on You’ll NeverWalk/cycle Alone had everybody smiling. After a coffee stop in Kilmeaden it was decided to lengthen proposed spin of 90K by 10 more and as we hit the 100 there were raised hands and shouts of “Yippee my 1st 100K ” from some. The group returned a pace of 24.6kph for 101km and a great day’s cycling was thoroughly enjoyed. This group is open for new members. If you can cycle at approx. 24-25kph pace, you’ll be in good company. (Tony S)

Reading through an interesting running blog recently (link forgotten and seemingly unfindable), the tables are turned. A milestone becomes simply a point in time when, as athletes, we set our sights on the next milestone. So here’s a thought for the group I’m currently cycling with. We are training to participate in and complete the Sean Kelly Tour 160k next August. What if that then becomes the starting point for something more challenging? Perhaps longer. We are limited only by lack of ambition. Could we cycle an extended three-day event? Could we cycle England-Scotland before they tear themselves away from one another? Could we cycle the French Alps?

Perhaps faster? We could decide to cycle with a different faster group. We could decide to race.

We could decide to do whatever it takes to stay motivated. We could decide to enjoy the journey.

Critically, let there be no devastation when setbacks get in the way. Akin to the old Kerryman, let’s do whatever it takes to stay young.

Full Dungarvan Cycling Club notes

 

Happy cycling, and stay safe out there,

Páraig

About: – Páraig is the author of BurkesBiking. He began the cycling adventure in 1998, and because he was given so much good advice by experienced riders back then, he likes nothing better than to pass on some of it. Many milestones later, Paraig is chasing a few big ones for 2017.

Paraig also has a gardening blog at Petals by Paraig.

It’s Trump Friday

It seems very difficult to be SMART about how to achieve enjoyment. Perhaps it’ll just happen if I go with my gut feeling. Perhaps enjoyment cannot be written down, planned or organised.

Friday, January 20, 2017

It’s the third week of January and it’s a good idea to have your (cycling)  goals for the year set out.

One of my twitter followers @bikingqueen has it worked out:

What are your #goals for 2017? I decide mine during #January and set out achieving them from #February be #positive Patient & Persistent! pic.twitter.com/WIu6SSup1i

 

Together with the SMART goal picture above, she has included a selfie cartoon. I’m sticking with the original SMART goals, and including my selfie:

I’ve got a few goals for 2017. My top two are seemingly complete opposites, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

  • Goal #1: do everything necessary to continue enjoying my cycling
  • Goal #2: complete long-distance Audax events up to and including 600k

It seems very difficult to be SMART about how to achieve enjoyment. Perhaps it’ll just happen if I go with my gut feeling. Perhaps enjoyment cannot be written down, planned or organised.

My second goal will need very specific planning! Writing down the details of this goal and giving them exposure here will be my form of SMART planning, in order to give myself the best possible chance of achieving what I set out to.

Donald Trump has been installed as the 45th president of the United States of America. Has he got a few SMART goals, I wonder? And even if he does, he sure doesn’t have a Bitmoji selfie to match @bikingqueen or myself.

Happy cycling, and stay safe out there,

Páraig

About: – Páraig is the author of BurkesBiking, and whenever not on the bike or writing about it, you’ll likely find him in the garden or writing about it. Páraig loves a subtle blend of specific planning to achieve goals and a lazy it’ll-be-grand outlook.

Paraig also has a gardening blog at Petals by Paraig.

Let There Be Lights

Spider: Ya know, he’s a bleedin ejjit!

Coco: Wha? Who?

S: Yer man. Would ya look at him! Thinks he’s god almighty. Thinks all dem drivers can see him.

C: But shur, you can see him and I can see him. Wha’s de problem, like?

S: You wouldn’t see a problem if it chased you up a bleedin hill! I’m tellin ya now… He’s gonna be a dead problem right soon.

C: Sounds bad, Spider.

S: I mean like, how bleedin much does it cost to put a light on that bleedin bike?

C: My fella had a light on a bike once, but it got nicked. Never again, he sez.

S: I mean like, isn’t there all dem Road Safety Authority tele videos? You’d think he’d take heed?

C: Who? My fella? He wouldnt’ listen to himself!

S: No, ya dope. Yer man on da bike. Look, he’s gone now. Invisible as a bleedin dodo. I mean like, what is he, maybe 100 yards up the bleedin road, and we can’t even see his arse! Can you? He’s gonna get himself bleedin killed.

C: They gave it a new name. Did ya know that?

S:  Wha? Who?

C: The powers that be figured out tha de Road Safety Authority wann’t workin, so they called it…

S: Too right tinn’t workin!. Tinn’t workin for yer invisible dodo up de road. What are they callin it now?

C: Ammm… TII. It’s something something Ireland. Stop the bikes. I’ll google it. I need a break. This cough is gettin to me.

S: I just can’t believe yer man woundn’t hang a few lights on the bleedin bike. Is he savin electricity or wha? I betcha he’s one of dem bleedin naturists.

C: No, your thinkin of somethin else there, Spider. Naturists is dem fellas what wears nothin. Ya couldn’t be a Irish naturist biker! Not with a wind like tha.

S: He’d be grand in da fog, shur, wouldn’t he? Nobody’d see him.

C: Got it. Google sez Transport Inftastructure Ireland. It’s very specific. Would he listen to that, I wonder.

S: Nah, tha way yer man is headin, the only thing he’ll listen to is a fuckin chapel bell. And he’ll be dead so he won’t even hear that.

C: Will we push on again? I want to be home for de spuds.

S: We will, girl. Maybe if we push on harder, we’ll catch that invisible dodo, and we’ll give him a little earful.

C: Ya know, I think he won’t listen to two oul wans. He’s feckin bionic.

S: We’ll sneak up, all quiet like, and scream like bejaysus. That might shake him up a bit.

C: Right, push on. I’m on yer wheel.

bike-liglt-balls

 

 

 

 

 

Should Have Gone To Specsavers

On the climb out of Clashmore when cyclists dispersed into smaller two’s and three’s, there were some all out verbal attacks cloaked in mysterious tones! Proof that the biting cold wind does actually transfer to characteristic biting remarks.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Lost: a pair of female cycling glasses, somewhere near Rathgormack recently (last August during Sean Kelly Tour, to be precise). If anyone comes across these, please contact Dungarvan Cycling Club, so that glasses and rider can be reunited.

The good news is that the glasses were found by a retired male nurse, but being unaware of the circumstances, he was in the process of retaining said glasses for a year and a day. It is likely that he believes cycling glasses lose their protective UV properties if not subjected to regular daylight and for that reason, he wore them last Wednesday on the Easy Riders spin to Mahon Bridge. Great hilarity ensued as the owner of said glasses saw the light! The penny dropped and the cat was out of the bag.

Introducing Easy Riders

Easy Riders cycle on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from the front of the Tennis Club at 10am. The pace is determined by who is in the group. It is usually composed of regulars from Group 5 and Group 4. Over the past number of weeks, it is has attracted a number of newcomers, especially as the Wednesday pace is generally at about 21kph (or lower if needs be). Mondays and Fridays are a wee bit faster, and all these spins are fuelled by coffee and scones. Therefore, if you like the idea of sorting out the world on a bike, do join them. They will be glad to see you, and they promise to be nice!

Cat And Mouse

Yesterday, (Wednesday) we had a fine group of seven riders who chatted their way to Griffin’s Garage and Mahon Bridge. While most had tea/coffee and a sausage roll at Leamybrien, one wily operator loaded up with coke. Little did we know at the time, but he had a plan! On the return towards Durrow, as agreed, the Group 5 members gave us permission to push on faster. We felt Michael was part of this trap because he sprang up the hill at Halpin’s Cross and the only thing on his mind was the finish line at the Friary Roundabout in Abbeyside!

Tactics were discussed. Counter-measures were analysed and implemented without a fuss. We decided to let the escapee loose, and planned to catch him near Ballinroad, a distance of 10k. We would allow the sausage rolls to digest further before ramping up our effort. At O’Mahoney’s there was no sign of the coke-man, nor could he be seen on the descent to Dalligan Bridge. But once we met the coast road there he was in the distance. We upped the pace and narrowed the gap slowly. Cat and mouse. The mouse usually looks back a few times, but the advantage is with the cat(s).

We did not catch him as planned by Ballinroad Roundabout, but 100 metres before the finish line at the Friary. Job done. As cats do, we played with him rather than committing outright murder, before releasing him to play another day! Perhaps one day, I’ll be the mouse, and Michael will be the head-cat among others revelling in the thrill of the chase. Of course, I’d be a rather experienced mouse, and it’s likely that the frustrated cats would feel as if they’d just lost a life!

Having had a lovely easy pace to the coffee stop, riders were more than happy to note that the chasing average for the 10k was 30.9kph into a slight headwind.

The North Wind Doth Blow

The cobwebs were literally blown away last Sunday (New Year’s Day, 2017) as our intrepid band scaled Colligan into a gale. As arranged, we had been sensible the previous evening, as we saved our celebrations for another day. This was all the more surprising really, as this group is not known for being sensible! Correction: this group is sensible on hills, and this first Sunday of the month (first of 2017 too) is designated as the hilly spin. It was very easy to be sensible on Colligan because the wind would not allow us to go hard.

Later, on the second hill of the day at Clashmore, we surprised ourselves once again by continuing with this sensible resolution. The hill is a long one, and the group disbanded on the lower slopes, only to regroup once again beyond the summit.

Such was the severity of the cold North wind that regular chatting on the bike was down to a minimum, as concentration was required throughout. There were some little exceptions, of course. On the climb out of Clashmore when cyclists dispersed into smaller two’s and three’s, there were some all out verbal attacks cloaked in mysterious tones! Proof that the biting cold wind does actually transfer to characteristic biting remarks.* To an outsider, such remarks seem arrogant and divisive, yet this group does not have any outsiders. No in-laws, outlaws or silent partners. The group does have and is proud to have, cyclists of varying abilities. Some silent, some boisterous, faster, slower, but all handsome! (Pretty is such an overused word). The fact that the slightly faster, stronger members feel duty bound to be considerate of slower (prettier) cyclists is what gels this group together.

g4-in-aglish
Group 4 huddling for warmth in Aglish

 

On a bright brisk New Year’s morning fourteen Group 4 riders gathered at the Civic Offices with a little apprehension in the air as words hilly spin today and strong winds blowing down Colligan circulated. Nevertheless the group, including newcomers Elia and Cal, rolled out and headed for Master McGrath monument before heading up Colligan. Little talk of Christmas was heard apart from the word overindulgence as the strong breeze and hill quietened most of the group. Beary’s cross was a welcome sight as climbing was over for a while and they got a chance to enjoy the sun shining down on them. As the group headed back through Milstreet, Nora’s home country, the sun was dancing through the trees playing tricks with our eyes and was tough going at times. Crossing the Dungarvan road heading for Whitechurch / Kereen a good pace was set with the thought of coffee in Aglish very welcome before the climb up the mountain road out of Clashmore to N25. For a brief moment panic stations set in as no sign of life was noted at Hurley’s shop and word went out keep going but then word came “it’s open” and we gladly did a u-turn. Following recharging of batteries the group took on the mountain climb and banter was good and all the group made light work of the long climb. On reaching the N25 those with responsibilities at home headed down the Sweep for home while some of the people with no one to answer to cycled into Ring and returned home to Dungarvan. A good start to New Year with a pace of 22.3kph, reduced sensibly because of strong wind and two hills. May I take this occasion to say on behalf of Group 4 thanks to our Road Captain Padraig and all his assistants and happy cycling to all for 2017. (Tony S)

Present were: Majella Keogh, Nora Halley, Judit McNally, Karen Hickson-Walsh, John Coleman, Gearóid Fraher, John Roche, Conor Coleman, Keith McEvoy, Tony Sheehan and myself. Cal, Elia and Darren (Tutty) joined us for the harder first half of the spin.

*Biting remarks is an old pro trick. Basically, it works by getting into another rider’s head, and is used especially on hills, and more particularly if the other rider might be stronger.

By way of advice this week, please take a few moments to check out “Build Strength Before Speed”. With this in mind, we will have a strength test next Sunday. Watch this space!

Follow on Twitter & Instagram @burkesbiking

Until next week, stay safe out there,

Páraig

Happy New Year

When out on the spin there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my saddle to see what was the matter. Away to the front I made a quick dash, And steadied the half-wheeling chap in a flash.

Saturday, December 31, 2016.

The Christmas excesses are now stored as fat, and given that a mental fog has persisted, today’s piece is very short. Gone is the advice column and the spin reports. Perhaps also the attempt to find an angle to an incident is beyond my state. Fear not, however, because fog is sometimes a breeding ground for poetry. Yes, poetry, albeit stolen and relicensed.

 

paragon-getting-cold
Copyright Paragon Machine Works

 

Version one:

‘Tis the day before New Year and all through the house

not a Bisto was stirring, not even a turbo….

 

Version two:

 

‘Tis the day before New Year, and all through the den

Not a turbo is turning, not even a wren.

The STOCKINGS were hung by the top-tube with care,

In hopes that BurkesBiking soon would be there;

Group 4* were nestled all snug in their beds;

While visions of 160 danced in their heads;

And ladies in  longs, and I in my velo,

Had cycled our brains out for a long winter’s (Audax) solo,

When out on the spin there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my saddle to see what was the matter.

Away to the front I made a quick dash,

And steadied the half-wheeling chap in a flash.

That was the end of the half-wheeling from that day forward. Yet, the dense fog remains!

There’s more to be learned about half-wheeling here on the Dungarvan Cycling Club website.

* Insert whatever group you normally cycle with.

Happy New Year to all my readers, cycle safely out there!

Páraig

Dungarvan Lion’s Club Charity Morning

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Traditionally, Dungarvan Cycling Club has supported the Lion’s Club at Christmas, and so it came to pass that Ray McAndrew and his club members arrived to bid us safe journey this morning. We had emptied our pockets in order to be as light as possible for our spins, knowing that our donations to this very worthy cause would be put with so many other donations from the people of Dungarvan and West Waterford for disbursement over Christmas. As arranged, some arrived at the Civic Offices bedecked for the Santa Ride. Noticeable it was too, that the lower the group number, the greater the effort! I suppose it’s understandable really because faster-flying cyclists cannot be hindered by unnecessary attachments, whereas the slower-paced among us actually benefit from baggage because it helps to keep the pace slow.

Plenty Baggage

Here, I quote the acccount of the club PRO, Pat.

A great turnout of over 70 cyclists turned up across all the groups with many cyclists and bikes decked out in festive attire. Special mention must be given to our secretary Rose on her effort complete with working fairy lights, to Padraig who put great effort into his Santa outfit and Gearoid for his tie!

I took some time (2.4 seconds approx.) to get a suitable link outlining the effect of loose clothing, and include a short video. This is the bike tip for the week:

Then, for the sake of balance, and understanding that some cyclists have other priorities, I was impressed by a feedback comment to the above:

I’d rather be comfortable and look less ridiculous and get to the cake shop a minute later. If such tiny issues bother a rider then they have no business eating cake anyway. (Joeinpoole)

Group 4 Trip to Tallow
Bikers don’t sit on Santa’s knee, but they get the message across

The Group 4 spin was a long one this week. Following the master’s plan (see below), a fine group of 11 pushed gently on the N72 to Lismore and Tallow via the very picturesque Dromana Drive, weighed down by tinsel, tossels and ties. Several items of interest along the way were noted:

  • as agreed, the spin proceed very slowly from the departure point as far as Powersfield House (2k) in order to assist with gentle warming of cold hamstrings
  • as agreed also, the group regrouped at Kereen Bar to admire the gorgeous greenery and at Dromana Bridge to make a wish at the Finnisk
  • the pace downhill to Tallow was at a controlled pace, but two cyclists (no names please!) were reindeered in for being unaware of our downhill policy (see below)
  • Santa met with a surprised child in Tallow, while others spent time petting four dogs on their pre-Christmas morning dog-trot
Under the tree at Daybreak

Following the mandatory coffee (at the coffee-stop), and photograph this week at the tree, on they sped rapidly towards Camphire Bridge. A teacher of mine once insisted that this phrase should be included in every essay. In fact the full version was: “On they sped rapidly, up hill and down dale”.  We did indeed have some hills and dales, yet they were not as much of a hindrance as the mucky road surface back to the banks of the Blackwater.

On the mucky road: Judit, Rose, Criostóir and David

From Cappoquin to Dungarvan the pace was kept very steady because we knew our cyclists would have a really busy week ahead. There was a brief agreed skirmish from Richmond House to Affane,  with no prizes on offer. Had there been even a small prize, it might have been contested more vigorously.

Quote of the day:

Would ya look at then two Yorkshire terriers half-wheeling!

Wise advice from the Mucky Road:

A bad attitude is like a flat tyre. You can’t get anywhere unless you change it.

Distance: 82k. Pace: 24.4kph. Enjoyment by common consensus: top class. Entertainment & costumes: A+

Room for improvement: The group might consider attending an online foundation writing course, as our reliably talented group reporter was unavailable on the day, and the short straw finally fell to Burkie, aka Burkes Biking.

Group 4 Constitution

Group 4 downhill policy: riding ahead of the group by breaking ranks in order to race downhill is not advised, simply because it may tempt less capable bike-handlers. We do advise cycling at a faster pace (obviously on downhill) while widening the gap between bikes.

Group 4 monthly plan:

  • week 1 is hilly
  • week 3 is long
  • everything in-between is normal easier. (There is no normal within Group 4)
Mince Pies For Group 3
Kevin Forde (Daybreak) fed all the G3 elves

G3’s pre Christmas spin had a festive flavour on Sunday with some strands of tinsel and Santa hats in evidence. After the annual Lions club collection it was back to the job in hand and 16 jolly elves and Mrs Claus set off up Colligan and across the Mill st stretch. Before Cappoquin a left turn towards Villierstown. A quick word from the oncoming G5 warned the group about a gathering of the local coursing club further along the road and the necessary speed reduction was enforced. Safely bypassed it was onwards towards Aglish and a detour at Geosh across the mountain to Kiely’s cross. The party season took its toll on some here but the group soldiered on across Old Parish and homewards. Brilliant to have Patrick who crossed oceans to join us on Sunday and Walter along for the spin. Thanks to Captain Claus who further enhanced the festive feeling by arranging a rare coffee stop for the group. Huge appreciation to G3 member Kevin Forde for looking after us so well with complimentary coffee and pies! G3 would like to wish all our riders a very happy Christmas and we look forward to seeing you all further up the road in the New Year! (Carol B.)

Group 23k

G23 : 2 cyclists flew the flag for group 23 on their Sunday spin. The group followed G4 until Master McGrath where the group turned right and headed on the Clonmel road towards Colligan and past Beary’s cross and towards the turn for Millstreet. After turning left the group headed through millstreet  and onto the Welcome inn were the group turned right and headed through Cappoquin and onto Lismore were a coffee stop was needed. The group met with G5 and joined them for coffee and a chat. After refuelling we prepared to head home. The group joined G5 for a short distance and then picked up pace and headed for home Distance 65.8km an avg 22.4km (Anthony M)

Group 5

g5-lismore

The last Group 5 spin before Christmas saw 8 seasonally decorated riders out on a lovely calm December Sunday. An uneventful start brought them to the Welcome Inn and then onto Villierstown. Care was needed coming down onto Dromana Bridge as a large number of cars, people and dogs were gathering for coursing. The timing was good as it meant Group 5 were able to warn speedy Group 3 of the gathering as they were flying down the hill. A brief stop before Cappoquin for an emergency banana led the group to decide to head straight for Lismore. A promise of rhubarb and strawberry pie led them up the hill, but no Farmer’s Market was to be seen. The group headed back to Houlihan’s where happily hot drinks and fine food were consumed with the welcome company of G23k. Back to Cappoquin the group encountered another big group of pedestrians and parked cars, a salutary reminder that care must always be taken as people are leaving Mass. Tight rollups brought the group home to Dungarvan with a chorus of Jingle Bells astonishing passers by! A lovely 58km at 19.3kph, Merry Christmas to all from Group 5. (Rachel N.)

Caption this please. The mind boggles

Happy Christmas to all,

Páraig