“Never in my life was I as happy as I was on the 28th of August to see the sign for Garnish beach, I was done, had enough of the bike and didn’t care if I ever got on it again. I am pretty new to cycling, having only completed my second ever 80km ride on that day, on a route that can only be described as the route from hell!
I could hear cheers as I descended towards the beach, I come from Beara so knew the majority of the volunteers there, I was in the middle of 3 cyclists entering the car park, my elation was short lived as I skidded on the gravel and couldn’t unclip in time, so with an audience of about 30 people I took an undignified awkward fall and landed on my right side. I was already 45 minutes behind the time I was looking for so without assessing my bleeding arm and bruised hip too much I ran to the ambulance and received the quickest first aid ever, much to the dismay of my father and sister who were watching on, hoping/thinking I should call it a day and receive the stitches that were so obviously needed. I popped 2 Neurofen and off I took for Crow head. I wasn’t too hungry but knew I need calories so I ate a warm tuna wrap I had made earlier that morning.
The three marshals on Crow head are all members of my running club so seeing them also spurned me on and made me forget about the pain. I had run this route before but just as an out and back. The first part of the route was relatively easy, mostly flat, narrow paths alright where you had to watch your footing but as I was not going too fast this was not as issue for me. You reach the end of it pretty quick and then its a turn around back the way you came, then just as you’re enjoying it you remember the climb that awaits you, I had done this part as a charity walk a number of years ago but had forgotten the never ending climb up to the watch tower and boy was it never ending! There were two men ahead of me who I caught up to, one was encouraging the other to keep going, they looked like they had enough, I told them look around and enjoy the view of Crow head for a minute, it was spectacular, they gave me a fleeting look that said, jog on!
More and more climbing and finally I saw the tower, more elation but at this stage my bandage was slipping off with the sweat and I secretly cursed the Paramedics for not giving me some stronger tape to hold it in place. When I got back on the main road I thought the worst was over until you look up and see another hill, I don’t know why I was surprised, I live here and know it’s nothing but hills. Heading back down to the beach I was delighted as another stage was over and I was heading for home, I knew at this stage I was going to be outside of the 12 hours but my second plan was to get all the stages done regardless which I did. A quick stop at the Ambulance for a fresh dressing and loads more tape this time sent me off on the bike again.
When the adrenaline wore off at 8pm that night, I headed to the Doctor’s and received 7 stitches in my arm, a tetanus shot and a week of anti biotics, followed by two pints of Bulmers in the Golf course, recommended by the Doctor of course! I swore Quest Beara was a once off for me but as the week went on I was thinking, If I improve on the bike will I have a better time