Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Al We Hardly Knew Ya

Anyone see Al Gore's, Obama endorsement speech last night. Where was that guy eight years ago ? If he had that much fire in his belly back then George Bush would have been an also ran. In fact Obama speech afterwards seemed limp in comparison.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Brooklyn From a Taxi

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge

You can't but feel happy looking at this. At least I can't. It looks like crossing this bridge on a bike more regularly is in my future. More anon...

BTW I am getting pixelation when I upload photos - doesn't matter whether I use Flickr, or upload directly, I'd love to know how to fix it. There is no pixelation on the originals. It's driving me crazy, I've compared html with other photo blogs, especially those where they posted from Flickr and I cannot find any difference. Any ideas out there?

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Monday, June 09, 2008

San Jose Triathlon 2hrs 28 Mins

I am very pleased with this time, I was told I could expect to go up to fifteen minutes shorter at San Jose than at Wildflower, so cutting twenty minutes from my Wildflower time was very satisfying indeed. There are reasons - San Jose is much flatter, there is only one steep climb on the bike, and the run is pretty flat. Also, the swim is 250 metres shorter than a normal Olympic distance swim, not that that’s a whole lot, but it knocks a few minutes of the swim.
That said, the swim was a pain in the ass, I went off a little too fast, and had to slow down, I also veered off course a few times on the circular course, and my goggles let in some water on the right side which is very annoying and makes it hard to sight the course buoys. I was glad to get out of the water, but my swimming is strong and I should be getting better times. 22 minutes is fine, but in the pool I can knock at least 3 minutes off that. I need to be more aggressive and less intimidated. I was thrilled with my bike ride; I did the 40k in 1:10, and managed to keep up with the time trial bikes which are much more aero-dynamic than a normal road bike. On the one hill I zipped by the TT bikes, but I was head to head with the same group of riders on the flats (most of the course). The run however, was a bitch. I made a big mistake the day before by going for a ride with some friends and overdoing it. I went 10 miles out not realising I had a lot of climbing on the way back. That was a dumb move. After pushing hard on the ride, my legs felt like concrete on the run. I did the 10K in 50 minutes but I was hoping to get closer to 46 minutes. It’s a lesson learned. Taper properly. Lack of sleep was also a factor, as I also had to get up at 4:30AM to drive 60 miles to be on time for the 7:20AM start time. For a variety of reasons I hadn't gotten a solid nights sleep all week none of which helped. Despite all that at the end of the day coming in under 2:30 was thrilling. I was 34th in my age group and 180th overall. It was a very cool event, 1500 people and very well organised. There is such a positive vibe at these events that it carries through for a few days afterwards.

In an aside, one of my friends, who lives in the US was back in Ireland and did the Wicklow 200K bike ride, and said that while the ride was spectacular, it was the worst organised event he has ever done. No rest station until 100K, and then it didn’t have any energy drinks or gels, and at the beginning only one machine to check in over a 1000 people. Any Irish readers out there do the ride? What was your experience?

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Need For Speed

This is my usual view of my mate C, whether we be on the flats or the hills.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My Uncle, The Maigue Poets, John Shinnors and the Hilton Hotel

When I was in Limerick a few weeks back, my father and I were walking over Sarsfield bridge to meet my mother for lunch in the new Hilton Hotel on O'Callaghan's Strand, when I wondered a loud what had happened to the painting. The Hilton was built on the site of the old Jury's Hotel and about twenty years ago my uncle Eamon (Eddie to his friends), was responsible for creating a Limerick-themed bar in the hotel - there was also a similar themed bar for the Cork and Dublin Jury's. Eamon had a career that veered from being an adviser to Ireland's Minister for Finance in the 60's, George Colley, to being broke and ill in the late 80's. The Jury's bar project was a kind of comeback, the fruit of a very active mind. The bar was themed around limericks - the rhyme. It is believed that this rhyming structure originated with the Maigue Poets in County Limerick in the 18th century. In fact, it's not far off the mark to say that the Maigue Poets were the original rappers as they would have public limerick roasting competitions pitting one poet against the other to see who come come up with the best rhyme.
As part of the project, my uncle commissioned the famous Limerick painter, John Shinnors, to paint a large scale painting of the poets competing. When he did this he used the faces of well known extant local Limerick characters for subjects in the painting.The main character, a poet with a piece of paper in his hand, from which he was reciting - was my uncle. He captured him perfectly, my uncle was fond of hold forth in his local hostiliery, and due to a hip replacement, would often lean back against the bar as depicted in the painting.

Anyhow, as we walked over the bridge, my dad said he didn't know what had happened to the painting, but mentioned that my aunt had seen it tossed carelessly aside when they began the demolition of the old hotel. I couldn't believe that such a great (and very large), painting could go missing, and just as we walked into the new hotel I turned around, and there it was, hanging in the foyer.

It was great to see it, and my dad was thrilled it was still there. My uncle lost a long battle with cancer a few years after the bar was complete. A larger than life painting is a nice way to remember a larger than life character.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Fishing in the Shannon

Used to occasionally fish here myself a long time ago. Never caught much, although if you know what you are doing apparently there are plenty of Trout and Salmon.

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