The wonderful Waterford Walls, one of the BEST projects I have witnessed to date in Waterford City, and the Dunmore East Food Festival both attracted significantly large crowds to the City and village respectfully. And of course we also had the Iverk Show (actually in Kilkenny – but a great event none the less) and the Sean Kelly Cycling Tours.
Now I was lucky enough to get involved in both the Iverk Show and the Sean Kelly Tour, but in very, very different ways!
|Mr Sean Kelly joins The Biscuits.|
A number of weeks ago, whilst Chairing one of the Waterford Business Group weekly meetings, I agreed with Fiona Quilty (of Pamela Scott fashion outlet in the City Centre) to help her out with the fashion show that takes place during the Iverk Show. Little did I think that I would actually be called upon to take part? My call to participate in the Iverk Show happened last weekend and I duly shuffled the kids into the Mini and we shot up to Piltown, parked the car and reported for duty at 12:30 in plenty of time for my first foray onto the catwalk at 13:00.
The showground was heaving with visitors when we arrived and we found our way to the marquee that would hold the fashion show. There was a flurry of activity backstage in the compact and bijou dressing area. Unfortunately, my contact rider had clearly not been read as I saw absolutely no sign of my requested Yak’s milk refreshments, there were no bowls yellow only M & M’s, no deep fried Mars bars etc. The models were mainly ladies (as one would expect) ranging from teens to more “experienced” models. In terms of the male sex there were three teenagers, a couple of twenty somethings and the three older guys (including me) and we were all strangely the same age, 37 I believe!!!!
We soon realised that our clothes would not arrive in time for the 13:00 show so we had to sit out the first performance, but there was no rest for the wicked as 15:00 duly arrived, our clothes arrived and we were off and walking.
|Mean & moody at the Iverk Show!|
Two very quick clothes changes and two trips up and down the catwalk, with a wee twirl halfway down, and it was all over. Far too brief and yet very, very enjoyable but unfortunately there were no agents in the audience and so I can discount a future modelling career. My debut in London Fashion Week will have to wait another year.
From Piltown we jumped back into the Mini and we then shot off to Dungarvan to register for the Sean Kelly Tour Comeragh Challenge160km (the tough one!). Having pre-registered some weeks ago I, without any delay, collected my high-vis goodie bag which contained; a snazzy commemorative race jersey, a bottle of water, a couple of flapjacks, a wristband (for food stops) and a bike registration number sticker thing – a registration plate of sorts (Maria McCann take note!). I bumped into the great man himself Mr Sean Kelly at registration and it was so good to see such a high profile personality actually getting “stuck in”. As I returned to the car I had a feeling that I would need far more than a couple of flapjacks and one bottle of water to complete the daunting task that I would take on the very next day.
At precisely 07:45 I and ten other Biscuits set off from Dungarvan on an adventure that would test each and every one of us. Ahead lay 160 kilometres of hills, hills and more hills!!!!! Another packet of Biscuits set off slightly earlier and a whole tin of Biscuits set off slightly later to take on the 100km challenge.
As we shot up The Pike and veered left at Lemybrien we cycled for around 10km with the imposing Mahon Falls, shrouded by black low clouds, taunting us, teasing us and ultimately calling us knowing that we would have to cycle, walk or crawl up this wicked hill at around 120km into the route. It was as though the organisers had shown us a glimpse of the Coliseum before throwing us to lions.
But our first real challenge would be a wee hill called “Tickincor” at around 55km. Now if you have never heard of this hill go out and find it and try to drive up it, and you will very quickly see just how steep it is and then imaging how hard it is to cycle up the damn thing. I encountered two small problems prior to Tickinor. My “toolkit-saddle-bag” had taken such a battering in the first 45km that the bracket snapped and my Kilted Piper mascot wedged himself in my brakes causing a rather rapid stop and some remedial works. Slightly further on disaster once again stuck as the “toolkit-saddle-bag” once again decided to fall to the ground and this necessitated yet another stop and a MacGyver type fix that thankfully lasted the remainder of the journey.
The “Powers The Pot” was the next hill at around 90km. Whilst grinding up the hill for what seemed like an eternity some comedian spray-painted 3km to go just to remind us how hard the bloody climb was. There was a collective intake of breath, and the odd swear word, when I and my fellow Biscuits crossed this marker and there was a collective realisation that there was a hell of a long way to go to get up this mammoth test of endurance. Up at the top of the “Powers The Pot” the Biscuits regrouped, posed for a few photographs and then we all set off for a quick food stop at Rathgormack before we headed towards the final challenge of the demanding Mahon Falls.
|At the top of The Falls.|
At around 120km The Falls called us like some cruel Siren would have called the Greek ships to come ever closer to their ultimate doom! Lowest gear selected and with some “Rusty Spokes” ahead of me to chase up The Falls, I dropped my head down, lolly pop in my mouth for energy and I was off. Some hellish 20 odd minutes later it was all over and a quick regroup with my fellow Biscuits, another photograph, and it was “all downhill” to the finish (or so they told me).
No it wasn’t! We still had the 6km or 7km drag up to the mast at the top of the Mama Road.
Mama Road conquered and now it was “mostly downhill” to the finish line in Dungarvan. We had enough in our legs to manage a wee sprint and top speed of 53kph on the borders of Dungarvan.
One final regroup and these 11 Biscuits crossed the line together in, dare I say, perfect cycling formation – it really was Tour de France stuff!. Our wee group had stayed together for 160km of torture, hell, fun, laughs, memories and a sense of accomplishment.
|Looking good in Lycra!|
Well done to ALL involved. A great event, great company, great event organisation, a great “Packet of Biscuits” and above all a great occasion for Waterford to be VERY proud of.
It was one hell of a ride! Cannot wait for the 2016 SKT.