Saturday, 15 October 2011

Ger's Killarney adventure

Do you recognise this garage?  

No. It's not another quiz question. I'm going to tell you the answer. It's Mangan's garage, later Moloney's now Spar in Market St. 
Question No. 2. Who is the manager of Spar? 
Easy answer here. It's Ger Greaney, our chairman in NKRO.
And where was Ger on Saturday last?
Below is the answer:

Did he do it?   Yes, he did

Our chairman in NKRO, Ger Greaney is no slouch when it comes to taking up a challenge so when an opportunity to take part in the Killarney Adventure Race presented itself earlier this year, our Ger signed up. He has been in intense training including twice weekly. So you could say that he was ready for the challenge.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.  Saturday October 9 2011 was D-day. Ger arrived at the start refreshed and ready for the race of his life.

Stage I was a run up and down Strickeen Mountain.   Let me fill in those of you not familiar with this peak. Think Everest to you and me and you’re getting there. This stage was to be the “warm up”. Ger did this without too much difficulty. Ordinary mortals would now be ready for the shower and the pub. Not our Killarney adventurers.

Stage 2 was a cycle through The Black Valley beginning at The Gap of Dunloe.  Ger had been cycling around the roads of west Limerick for months in preparation for this and he had borrowed a proper racing bike for the jaunt. I forgot to mention that the weather on Saturday was a soft Irish day; dirty, foggy, misty, wet, cold and gloomy. Off into the valley rode our band of warriors. Ger is suffering but keeping up. He tries not to think too much about the poor fellow cyclists he sees fallen by the wayside receiving medical attention. The man they are covering with a blanket is not dead, merely battered and bruised from a crashing fall in the wet conditions. Ger is buoyed by the thought of the 13 kms. of downhill descent once he reaches Moll’s Gap. He is looking forward to the respite of an hour’s freewheeling.  But…

Shortly after passing Moll’s Gap our hero hears a pop and experiences the dreaded puncture. This is not  Tour De France or even Rás Mumhan. There is no team car with a replacement wheel. There is not even a broom wagon, not that he would have entered that anyway.

He is faced with 3 choices:
1.  Give up. (never an option considered by Ger),
 2.  Ditch the now useless €9,000 worth of borrowed pedal power,
3.  Run beside the bike all the way down the hill.

He choses option 3.

Rider after rider whizzes past ,waving cheerily and shouting encouragement. Soon the sight and sounds of his fellow adventurers fade into the distance in front.

Stage 4 is kayaking around Dinnis Lake. Darkness is beginning to fall and everyone is well ahead when Ger takes to the water but he completes this stage of the course like a trooper.

Stage 5 is  a jaunt up the hill past Torc Waterfall and a gruelling hop, skip and jump to the top of Torc Mountain. With no time to admire the lakes, it was back down the mountain to the tune of the rutting stags, a sprint to Torc Car Park and again down past the waterfall. Unfortunately, because it was so late and light was fading the stewards decided in their wisdom to take away the sign posts. So, in true Mr Bean style, Ger got lost and ended up out on the road three miles up from where he left the dilapidated bike.

Thankfully his ever patient and supportive wife had commandeered another bike for him  and he continued on    “the final short cycle” through Muckross Gardens to the finish.  By now people are out looking for Ger and urging him to accept a lift. Our hero is made of sterner stuff. He struggles to the finish,  bone weary, wet and disorientated, seven hours and fifty three minutes after he had undertaken The Killarney Adventure.

I am glad to report that Ger is none the worst for his ordeal. He sure has some story to tell and no better man to tell it.

Ger is on the LEFT. The man on the right is the fictional Spar manager.

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