The importance of the crew
I will admit that in the early days of cycling, I wasn’t a fan of hills or gravity or even movement. In fact by the time I had started back at the cycling, my weight had ballooned to 17 and a half stone, the main problem being, I had stopped playing soccer but continued to drink with the lads. In the words of Bruce Springsteen: telling “Boring stories of glory days” of which there weren’t many. When I went back at the cycling my first spin was 6km and I had to stop twice to get my breath back. Also a neighbour remarked that he always knew when I was gone cycling because my little red Renault Kangoo van was always parked halfway up the hill to my house, the reason being, I couldn’t make it all the way back up on the bike. Eventually I braved the hill back home and the van was no longer needed.
I hope I won’t need the van during the race. My friend John Redmond who has agreed to join us on the race has assured me that he will not let me into the van even if I want to quit. He says I have the choice of cycling or walking! I’m sure there will be times where it will cross my mind and that’s where the fact that we have a great crew will make the difference. During the Racing 795 open night, the guest speaker was Gerard Prendergast. Gerard won the Deca Ironman in the UK, which is 10 Ironman triathlons in 10 days. What was remarkable about Gerard was firstly his mental strength but also over the course of the night he never mentioned “I”. It was WE did this and WE ran a good marathon or WE did a good swim. He said it was all about the crew. It is the same for us.
I know it says on the RAI site we are a two-person team, but we are far more than that. There may be just two cyclists but without the support we have received, we wouldn’t even make it to the start line. Everything we have asked for hasn’t been a problem and most of the time we haven’t needed to ask. I think as the cyclists we probably have the easiest job. I wouldn’t fancy sitting in a van looking at me trying to drag my fat arse up hills for a week, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem to the crew. They are not under the illusion that this is going to be a nice relaxing trip around Ireland taking in the sites. But they are prepared to carry on which has been very humbling for me and has already motivated me to keep going, whether it’s go out to my garage and spend hours on a turbo or wrap tinfoil around my hands and feet to try keep the cold out on the road over the winter. The thought that lads and ladies are prepared to give up their time to help out makes it easy for me to make a few sacrifices.
So hopefully in September we can all sit around and “try to recapture a little of the glory”, and everyone that has been involved can have the same sense of achievement. But most of all, we can sit around as friends that went for a trip around Ireland; two cycled and the rest made it happen.