As I lay there on the ground, lump on my forearm, staring at the sky all that was going through my head was, what the fuck was I thinking?
I had the great idea when I last hiked Mount Lienster to try and cycle to the top. Sure there is a road the whole way, how hard could it be? I can tell ya now it was hard, very very hard. It's not the first mountain I have cycled over but it was by far the steepest. 3% gradient for the first 12km and 13% for the last 2.7km. Up to this point the steepest long climbs I completed were usually 3% average gradient with the odd steeper climbs. So with the confidence of these climbs behind me I set off from Eniscorthy so I would have a short 20km cycle to warm up before I hit the hills. It was smooth running’s until I turned off in Bunclody to face what I would be attempting to tackle today. It wasn't my first time cycling over Mount Leinster but it was my first time to go right to the top.
The road from Bunclody to the car park on Mount Leinster is absalutly spectacular. It has everything I love, big mountain on one side, amazing view way off over the land on the other and smack bang in the middle a narrow old country road. Perfect! The lack of any ditch or barrier on any side of the road adds to the beauty and the trill when you are descending. The climb starts to teeter out once you emerge from the forestry. From then on you can relax a little and take in the views better as you cruise to the car park near the top.
My climb was rewarded the cutest Bereneese Mountain Dog puppy at the car park. I have a slight obsession with the Bereneese as I'm the very proud owner of the laziest, fluffiest and greatest Bereneese of all time. Brandy is his name and being cute is his game. But I will tell you more about him at another time as his birthday is coming up soon so I'm sure the odd photo will appear on the blog.
As the gate at the bottom of the climb to the mast at the top of the mountain is closed you have to begin from a standing stop. This is really the least of your worries. The road from the minute you pass by the gate goes from the moderate 3% climb to the absurd 13% which you must endure for the next 2.7km.
I began the climb with great optimism, slowly dropping my gears to the lowest setting as I settled in to a nice rhythm. My confidence grew as I made my way by a very cheerful father with his two young kids. This confidence lasted for about another 5 minutes. I decided to pull over on a very brief ease on the hill to take a breather and a photo. Happy and a little refreshed I set off again. Smack! Fuck was the first word that came to mind quickly followed by a loud moan of despair. I took off with a good hard push on the peddle but I was unable to get my second foot clipped in in time. The next few seconds involved me collapsing onto the road, walloping my forearm really hard on the ground and laughing. I lay there for a little bit until the father and children I passed earlier caught up to me. I hobbled up, a little shuck and embarrassed but eager to continue. I had to ask father to give me a push until I was able to get both my feet clipped in. Click! Click! Thank god, I thought as I went off in a very unblaze of glory. The next 15-20 minutes was nothing less than torture. Complete and utter torture. I had to make one more stop along the way but thankfully there was no falling involved in the take-off afterwards. It wasn't until the last half kilometre that I was able to see my girlfriend and her dog at the top waiting for me. It gave me that extra boost like the one you always see those idiots get in a really cheesy film when the finish line is in sight. When I reached the top I collapsed against the metal fence that surrounded the mast and thanked god it was over.
I have never understood when people would do something and at the end say "I am never doing that again". I understand now.
ar an rothar
endurance cyclist, adventurer and usually hungry