The sad news that an experienced young female cyclist was killed on the road in Kildare last week has thrown in the spotlight the high risk we take in cycling on Irish roads.
I am genuinely afraid of being killed if I wobble out, and until the government pulls out all the stops and creates cycle paths beside every main road, cyclists will remain the most vulnerable road users.
It’s frustrating, as continuous cycle paths would cut down on car journeys, and therefore road damage, air pollution and health costs in Ireland, saving money everywhere, joined-up thinking is needed here!
My first foray in four years was on Saturday morning out the ridge road in Mountmellick, complete with a shiny new €50 helmet, leather driving gloves, high vis and rain jacket.
It went just as badly I feared. Halfway along my little 6 mile route, I went into the turn at Larkin’s Cross too fast.
I careered up into the high ditch out of control, then straight across the road before managing to stop upright, incurring some impressive bruises in the process.
In the triathlon, participants go straight into a 5km run after a 20km cycle, but I couldn’t even stand when I got home after my short cycle, I resembled a newborn calf staggering in the door!
It's interesting to compare cycling with running though, there are intense and then rest periods on a bike because of hills, and no jarring and little breathlessness, but boy is it tougher on the legs and seat! Next purchase is a gel saddle.
That was Saturday, the next morning my friends Therese and Ursula hauled my ass out on a 5km run around the town, a brilliant start to the day and afterwards my dog insisted on a run/walk in the woods.
I still needed to get my first swim under my belt, so that evening I headed to Portlaoise Leisure Centre and did the 400m we will be doing in the triathlon for beginners.
There I met another TriLaois beginner in the pool, it was lovely to share tips and words of support.
I enjoy the swimming, I never got proper lessons, except tips from my Marlins swimming nephew Conor, I take two strokes and then a breath on alternating sides, and push hard on the turn for a nice long underwater swim.
I'm still undecided what to wear during the triathlon swim though.
Training on my own suits my busy schedule and saves me money, but the downside is I am missing out on the camaraderie and expertise of group training. It’s lovely then to meet up with others in the pool or for a run.
I have also received lovely emails of support from a mother and experienced triathlonner, many thanks Jacqui. All advice welcome.
Week One training in brief: Wednesday: yoga, Thursday 6km run, 38mins. Saturday: 10km cycle in 40 mins. Sunday: 5km and 3km slow runs, 400m swim. Monday & Tuesday rest days.