Day after Valentine’s with my second-greatest love.

Yippee! Warm weather after a terrible cold snap. I had a good feeling about Sunday, I just knew it was going to be fantastic. And oh, it was. I started out with my leg warmers and a long-sleeved shirt. The leg warmers were the first to go, as it really was quite warm. South African friends, I should qualify: it was around 8’C. This was enough to inspire me to blind passing motorists with the sight of my really, really white winter-legs.

Ronan, my sweet darling, is still the best bike in the world. Second-greatest love after Micky!

I headed into the Cooley mountains, around Ravensdale, where there are numerous little hidden coves of tranquility. Hey ho, I think I was listening to really loud Snow Patrol when I took this photo. God bless the mp3 player.

I really wanted to cross the Windy Gap pass over to O’Meath, but astonishingly, I got lost. Actually, that should not be so astonishing, I make an art form out of getting lost. What is astonishing is that I got lost in a place I have cycled around in loads of times. At any rate, I cycled up a random little obscure tarred road, and lo, I ended up here:

Well. What to do now? The only way to go was here, and I don’t have a mountain bike.

Hmmm. While I thought over my options, I did something about being too hot. Observe, pack taken off, as were gloves and glasses.
Next went the long-sleeved shirt, and yes, now I was clothed in my bra and cycling shorts out in the open. It was hidden from view.
Then, evidence of the first short-sleevedness in almost six months. Of course I had to just aim the camera more or less in the right direction, so the results were a bit random. I think this is a rare nice-looking photo of me.
Micky thinks this one is nicer, and it achieves the aim of showing the short sleeves of the hippie tee shirt I have now had a chance to wear.

I was sooooo tempted. I just wanted, wanted to go up this dreadful trail. But oh, no mountain bike! Nothing but a hybrid, a road bike really. No nice fat tyres that can handle things such as this. It would be madness to go up here:
So, of course, I did.

And I was rewarded with this:

Of course, I had to push Ronan much of the way, and walking through mud with cleats means poor wedges got all mud-caked. I had to scrape it away with a stick before I could clip into the pedals again.
Ronan was also a very dirty boy when we were done with our little adventure.

I finally did find the right way to go, but by then I was really knackered as I’d gone up and down all sorts of interesting-looking nooks and crannies.

I’d had a very, very glorious time, and went home, having done about thirty, thirty-five km. That’s a pathetic distance, but truly, much of it was as steep as what I’d done in Switzerland. I had the most wonderful thrill when, in one place, I got going again after a rest and the front wheel lifted off the ground when I pushed down on the pedal. I’d wanted to do some hill training, and I think that would qualify as steep.

God, I can’t wait to get out there again. I love cycling.

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