Pass­ing the pub phase to a cy­cle of re­newal

The so­lu­tion to my dilemma of not be­ing able to walk was to cy­cle to Corn­wall

The Irish Times - Tuesday - Health - - Health Lifestyle - Daniel Ste­wart

Ihave my pub au­di­ence cap­ti­vated. “. . . hon­estly! I saw no il­le­gal drugs when cy­cling ...”

That’s right. Pale Ale in hand, chicken chest un­furled, I am this evening’s lead­ing cy­cling cor­re­spon­dent. And now, for the crescendo . . . “When you’re tested, they watch you pee into the cup.”

Strong eye­brow raises co­in­cide with this one-liner. The con­tent of the quote means noth­ing. What I’m re­ally stat­ing is, “As your of­fi­cial cy­cling cor­re­spon­dent, I have the con­fi­dence to piss where I want, when I want. Bite me.”

“. . . . it’s nigh-on-im­pos­si­ble to get away with drugs in this day and age.”

Heads start to sway, not only for my toi­let tal­ents, but also to­wards my point of view about drugs in cy­cling – mis­sion ac­com­plished. But just as I’m about to bow, a sud­den jolt of panic reaches up and grabs me. This is a marathon train­ing diary, not a pub crawl! Why I am here?

Why ques­tions

An­other one of those why ques­tions: I ran to work that morn­ing and the banjo string hold­ing my left quad to­gether ceased its merry tune, jud­der­ing to a lethar­gic halt. No pangs or tears, just enough strain to en­able me to walk like one leg is made of wood. Sit­ting in the of­fice, I silently pan­icked: I’m train­ing for a marathon!

I’m train­ing for a three-hour marathon, for good­ness sake! I’m writ­ing an Ir­ish Times train­ing diary about train­ing for a three-hour marathon in three months, in Christ’s name! Ale was the only an­swer. Col­leagues clapped, but I hob­bled and fled. The pub is no place for a cy­cling cor­re­spon­dent. Mid­night wolves howled, as I told my­self out­wardly I’d had but two pints. Stares and glares from in­no­cent (and sober) com­muters sug­gested oth­er­wise.

I des­per­ately sought a so­lu­tion to my dilemma. The an­swer came to me as the tube glided into Brix­ton sta­tion: cy­cle to Corn­wall.

I know. A pre­dictable next step when you can’t walk. And it’s what I did. Howl­ing wolves may have been imag­ined, but the prom­ise I made to my­self that night stayed true, and I cy­cled to Lizard Point in Corn­wall.

Three days of 100-mile turns – through Glas­ton­bury, Dart­moor and St Austell – got me to the most southerly point in the UK.

Wel­come cush­ion

The banjo string snug­gled up and rested, as the sta­bil­is­ing mus­cles sur­round­ing my joints were strength­ened through ad­ven­ture. Run­ning is a bat­ter­ing ram

I love to push my­self and this ob­jec­tive has pro­vided the div­ing board to jump right in

for joints: cy­cling pro­vided a wel­come cush­ion.

I’ll fin­ish The Eden Project Marathon, and we’ll find out on Oc­to­ber 14th whether this setback scup­pers my three-hour tar­get. Fun­da­men­tally, I’ll be happy ei­ther way. It’s not about suc­ceed­ing in the chal­lenge, but cher­ish­ing the jour­ney it takes you on.

I’ll still be sweat­ing, swear­ing and train­ing for that tar­get; but on the day, I’m go­ing to savour and en­joy the mo­ment. I love to push my­self and this ob­jec­tive has pro­vided the div­ing board to jump right in. I’ve lost weight, gained fit­ness, and an abun­dance of con­tent­ment to sicken Ire­land with.

Chal­lenges help me live life to the full. Life does not end if I don’t achieve them. Two weeks of train­ing have passed, and prove noth­ing goes to plan. Then again, the Gar­den of Eden was sculpted to per­fec­tion, but it still ended up hav­ing a pesky snake in it. Love liv­ing life. I won­der where the next two weeks will take me?

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