Sunday, September 08, 2019

Something Completely Different

About to start
Five years ago a group of about a dozen employees at Microsoft Ireland decided to do a cycle event in aid of charity. The chosen cause was Laura Lynn, which is not only one of the most deserving charities in Ireland but also located closely to Microsoft's office buildings in Sandyford, which made it an easy choice, I suppose. But I don't think they could have envisioned how much the event would grow and how the amount of money raised would reach incredible heights. I guess everything at Microsoft happens at scale, even the fundraising by its employees. This year, for the 6th year of the charity cycle, there were about 90 people actively involved, including a group of 19 crew, the rest of them the cyclists. The fundraising had been going on for months already with bucket collections and bag packing and even at some of the All Ireland games, obviously all done in our spare time. Microsoft as an organisation wasn't directly involved as such but they did provide the facilities and they did allow a significant number of employees to spend 3 days in Kerry for a charity event without having to take the time as annual leave, which is more than most companies would have done, I suppose.

Not all that happy to see my old office, apparently
Anyway, the amount of money raised had already reached a mind-boggling 120.000 Euro just before we set off from Kenmare on Wednesday morning. It had been a hideously early start to catch the bus and get to Kerry at about 10:20 am (already later than planned) and then we set off in five groups of about 12-14 cyclists each. I was happy enough to be in group 1, even though all groups were supposed to be equal (yeah right, of course they are). It was raining as we set off, fittingly so as it had been raining last year when they had finished here, and we followed the Kerry part of the Wild Atlantic Way. About 105 km on day 1 to Caherciveen, 135 km on day 2 to Dingle (a bit more actually) and about 115 km on day 3 to Ballybunion. Day 1 was very windy, which did cause a few hairy moments and might have contributed to my crash just a couple of miles before the end when the rider in front of me swerved and hit my front wheel but no harm done, neither to me nor my bike. Day 2 was gorgeous, with the best views on offer and particularly special for me with a coffee break in Killorglin just outside my old office where I happened to meet and chat to at least a dozen of my former colleagues. Day 3 was supposed to be a washout but the rain stopped just as we were about to leave, and while there were no views to be had from the top of Conor Pass, it was still a lovely day, so we were really lucky with the weather.
Tired in Dingle

I had expected my legs to be sore after the first day, remembering how tough it is to run multiple marathons, but in actual fact I never felt any soreness in my legs. My backside didn't get away quite so easily but I managed. And apart for that spill on day 1 and a dropped chain on day 2, which was fixed in a minute, I had no issues with the bike, so I'm already looking forward to next year's event when we continue the road in county Clare.

Not quite the view I was hoping for
I didn't get any running done on those three days. I felt pretty good on the bike at all times but as soon as we stopped and sat down I got tired within 10 minutes, so the fancy idea of extra training vanished rapidly. I did manage 10k on Saturday in Ballybunion and I did a relaxed 2 hour hill run around Bray Head on Sunday, so I got some running done after all, but with about 20 hours of exercise for the week logged I don't think I have to worry about a loss of fitness.

The race, the actual event I'm training for, is 3 weeks away, so I guess there is supposed to be some tapering happening soon. I'm not feeling tired - it's not like road running when you're at the brink so often, in the hills I felt fine even after almost 4 hours of running/hiking, and I guess it took much less out of me. That's good because for once I think I managed to prepare for an event without getting into overtraining. Mind, I'm not quite there yet. But I'm very much looking forward to it now.

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