February 16, 2014

Editor’s note: through this season we’re asking fans like you to submit stories, photos or photos + stories so that we can feature your love for cycling on our website. We’ve already had one awesome fan post from Luke which you can read by clicking here.

To submit your own story or photo, click here.

This is our second installment from fan Thomas Walsh. Thomas title his submission “They are my alps and I have climber the Matterhorn”. Thomas also submitted a great photo and wrote:

Living in rural Ireland has its perks. Although I don’t have long Alpine climbs snaking up picturesque valleys, I do have Glanduff. 1.3km at an average gradient of 9.9% and a max of 20% it certainly isn’t easy and features regularly on my Saturday hill work loop. Three weeks ago I decided to do hill repeats on it. I approached it from the close side, scaling a 4.4k climb on my way. “This is only the warm up” I say to myself. Then I descend Glanduff. Knowing that after I went down I may take the easy way home I hid my rain jacket, pump, food, spare tube, levers and glasses under a large rock (thinking back on this leaving the pump, lever and tube was an incredibly stupid idea given how rough the road is) so once I went down, I had to go back up. I flew down and spun an extra kilometre out the road past the turn to get a run at it, not that it makes much difference as you lose all your speed on a small drag just before. The climb starts about 700m after the turn off. The first time was pretty bad, but then again its never nice. While I’m chewing the handlebars and mediating on Rule #5 I look up and see the sign “GLANDUFF” carved into a large stone half way up, almost taunting you. Only half way. The rough surface doesn’t help either. I’ve often wondered why someone would build a road up there. You feel the bike flex under the power required. The cranks creak. Three times up and down and I’m dead, every muscle, tendon, ligament and whatever else that’s in your legs strain and pushed to new limits. I begin my spin home, happy with my days training. On the way home I cast my mind back to English class, a quote from a poem by Patrick Kavanagh I found particularly relevant at the time. “They are my Alps and I have climbed the Matterhorn” And that’s exactly what it is. I was talking to a team mate who knew the climb and thought I was mad after I told him I had ridden it three times in one ride.

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