You’ve got all the safety gear on, you’ve checked your bike and you’ve psyched yourself up to travel at least, well, a bit further than you went yesterday. The sun is shining and, you know something, you’re actually looking forward to cycling around the Irish countryside. That’s your first mistake.
No matter if the sky is blue and cloudless, regardless of whether there isn’t even a puff of breeze, the Irish weather will inevitably pour its scorn on you, probably when you’ve managed to cycle about half an hour from the nearest shelter.
I set off for Mohill last week on what I thought was a lovely sunny day. I made it about two and a half miles from home when the wind started to blow leaving me pedalling like a lunatic and going, well, pretty much nowhere. Now I’ve lived in Ireland for 13 years so I did what every self-respecting person would in this situation. I looked heavenward and asked the man above to ease it up a bit with the wind.
To be fair, he did sort of answer my prayer. He sent rain instead. It started as a steady drizzle. Just enough to dampen your spirits, not your shorts. I was just grateful the wind had let up and I pedalled ever onward waving at every passing motorist - just in case I knew them, figuring it’s best to be thought of as a bit touched than just plain rude.
I’d now made it more than half way to Mohill. Braving a winding road with no verge and bugger all in the way of shelter. The rain got heavier. Forget your waterproofs, your rain slicks, forget even the joy of waterproof shoes. I was carrying so much water I could have disposed of my sports bottle and just sucked on my jumper for sustenance. My shoes were making an alarming sloshing noise with every rotation of the pedals and there was a small river working its way through the ergonomic air shafts of my helmet before running oh so comfortingly, down my back and into my padded shorts. I think no further explanation is needed.
I decided to have another word with the man upstairs. I approached the subject, well, quite reasonably I felt, I traded a guarantee of attending Sunday mass for a let up in the rain.
He obliged. Instead he sent hail. God clearly has a sense of humour. It was the equivalent of being hit by tiny ball bearings. Continuously. The wind picked up for good measure and my temperature plummeted to the point where the icy missiles refused to melt and I looked rather like a sodden cake covered in white sprinkles.
I have the good sense to know when I’m beat. I pulled over, rung out my socks and shoes and made for home. By the time I floundered up my driveway the sun was again cracking the stones.
I think I know where I’ll be heading this Sunday. God, if you’re listening, next time I’ll be happy with just the wind.
Reporter, Leonie McKiernan is in her third week of training for the 80km South Leitrim Charity Cycle in aid of the Northwest Hospice. Make sure your check out www.leitrimobserver.ie or our facebook page for further updates on her progress. You can also check out the Cycle webpage www.South-Leitrim-80k-Cycle.com for further details of the event.