The rain stopped not long after I had concluded my training run yesterday evening although the sky remained leaden. I decided that I would stay to watch a cycle time trial which was being organised by Ballymoney Cycling Club. The course took in a stretch of the coast road, passing Dunluce Castle and finishing on the eastern outskirts of Portrush.
To my mind the distance being cycled, (9.8 miles), seemed a rather idiosyncratic mileage. Why not ten miles? Even nine miles would have a better ring to it. The start and finish lines didn't seem to have any particular logic to their selection, most especially the start. To the casual observer, ie me, it seemed eminently sensible to have the would be Eddie Merckxs start their efforts a couple of furlongs back from the starting point that had been determined upon. Even using the multiplicand of an Irish Mile couldn't give roundness to the mileage.
Fourteen individuals sped past me as I viewed them from my vantage point. It is hard to judge the speed of a cyclist but I would have thought that the better ones were travelling at more than 25mph as they zipped by me. All but one of the cyclists were remarkably quiet in their efforts. The exception to the rule and what I judged to be the silverback of the competitors punctuated the air with his grunts and groans.
I do enjoy the notion of being able to cycle at speed, but I fear that I will not be purchasing a racing bike and taking to its saddle. I was most definetely closer to fifty than forty when I taught myself to ride a bike and although I can pedal along on my trusty hybrid it is with some degree of trepidation if not quite fear that I approach any protracted decline. I do not have that blind confidence of youth. The thought of coming off a bike whilst travelling at 25 or 30mph and the likely bony injuries that would result from such a tumble causes me to refrain from purchasing a thoroughbred cycle. I must content myself with my cart horse specimen.