My whole body bumped and the sultry sound of whining engines startled me from unconsciousness. Rubbing blurred eyes and sleep sealed contacts, I looked around at the planes vibrating interior as a voice welcomed us to Ireland. Only a few hours earlier Traharn and I had been on a London curb hailing a cab, and now we found ourselves in a different country. This kind of hopscotching comes at a bit of a price. Heavy with-drawls are often made from the sleep bank, and this was no different. 2.5 hrs of collective sleep over 2 days. That being said the morning was a bit of a blur, we sleepily worked our way through customs, picked up the rental car, tipped our hats to Dublin, and headed for the Wicklow countryside. Once we hit the road being tired took a back seat. I mean hell, how can you stay groggy eye’d with a big o’l green stamp in the passport, a free pass to the birthplace of Guinness, and nothing but blue skies and sun? And yes, you did read that correctly… Blue Skies and Sun.
Now, we’re in Ireland, and if I’m honest, this country has a bit of reputation. I was expecting to weather the majority of this weekend at the pub with the old boys, downing pints and watching the puddles grow. But this was not the case. Instead, I watched my skin radiate pink. It was then that I realized, Ireland is actually tropical paradise! What kind of national conspiracy have they been playing at?! There’s nothing but blue sky! Not a rain cloud to be found! How the hell have they been keeping this place under wraps?! It’s lush and green, the riding is amazing, they have castles, and the people! The people of this fine country are as awesome as their accents! They’re perpetually stoked! If I’m honest, these are my kind of people! Not only are they excited and cheery, but I’ve never met a population that embraces their pasty complexion as much as I. I felt at home! What a place!
End of Rant
Alright, back to the here and now, Why are we in Ireland? Well Traharn was set to race the Irish leg of the Enduro World Series (EWS) and myself having just come off a film trip through Europe was ready to sit back and play the supporting role. Up until this point our schedules had us burning the candle at both ends, which is obviously no way to prep for a world class competition but hey sometimes you gotta do, what you gotta do.
Once in Wicklow we pitched the tent and, Traharn moved straight into practice alongside her teammate and brother Joel. Not one to idle by, I laced my trainers, packed my camera, and headed up the venue. With my bike mechanically debilitated I looked at the next best option… put one foot in front of the other. This became the weekend routine. Traharn and Joel taking off to train/race and me following, camera in hand, scrambling between stages hoping to snag a worthy image of the action. On all accounts it made for pretty wicked weekend. I loved it! I would run through the forest, find a track, set up a shot, pull the trigger, and boom, head off running again. Keep in mind this is an Enduro Race where athletes race 7 different tracks over the course of the day. So it kept me pretty busy. I actually spent so much time ping-ponging the venue, riders started yelling “Hey Running Guy!” as I passed.
I trailed the Chidley contingent through practice and into… dahn dahn dahn, Race Day. Now, I’m not a racer, never have been, so spending time chasing the tape was a new experience for me, even if it was on foot. You might be wondering if watching some of the world’s best riders made me want to Race? … My answer is simply, No. It made me want to ride my bike, but it definitely didn’t make me want to throw on a number plate and race the clock. It’s just not how I’m wired, but for everyone in Ireland, racing their Jam! And I get it! Because the energy surrounding it is monumentally vibrant. It was an awesome thing to witness, and as I learned, Nobody does it like Ireland!
By the time I waltzed my blistered feet aboard the ferry headed for England, Traharn had battled her way through sleep deprivation to an incredible top 20 finish amidst the world’s elite. Joel was unfortunately dealt multiple punctures which took him out of the hunt, but he redeemed himself with an unparalleled performance of cooking an omelette over a burner perched atop the passenger seat of his van while driving aboard the ferry. Who says men can’t multitask?
Ireland you’re a Beauty!