Incremental Gains Feabhsoidh Sibh52
53“Obviously when you get results like this – and you can see an improvement, more than the result – that is really encouraging.” David O’Laughlin, Irish National Champion
54Ed Beamon, DS of a pro cycling team, related a Gaelic encounter while racing in the Tour of Ireland. The day’s stage took to remote rural roads, through thatched roofed villages, passing misty moors. The peloton twisted and turned up a far-county crag, rounded a bend and was abruptly met by David O’Laughlin’s clan. Twelve enthusiastic fans each held placards with an individual letter reading, G-O O-’-L-A-U-G-H-L-I-N. The apostrophe was held by a skinny little fellah who went floatin’ into the heavens, but what a surprise to see a dozen delighted cycling supporters standin’ by content in companionship with one another in the waitin’, determined to cheer their hero. The race descended then returned back up the same mountain, and there were David’s apostles, except a few were standing backwards so that they now read G-O L-A-U-G-H.
Only part of this yarn is blarney of course, so it’s a wee bit true and worthy a’tellin.’ They say on the Emerald Isle, Ni he la na baisti la na bpaisti: A rainy day isn’t a day for the children. Even if it doesn’t feel like a sunny holiday, the Irish are up to the task to face hard things with determined perseverance and not a little humor. Despite all we hear of Irish issues and conflict, 55Cycling Ireland merged the two Irish federations in one governing body where riders can choose their preferred nationality, preserving political and cultural identity. This came about incrementally, with bitter conflict over many years, but through blessed unity to cooperate.
Apparently, every day is worthy of St. Patrick’s Day mirth for an Irishman whose shamrocks grow as steady blessings! One amusing memory of Beamon was when he appeared as the largest leprechaun ever seen, wearing a glitter-green top-hat while driving the team car up Manayunk Wall during a championship race…in June.
Prayer for Irish Cycling
Adapted from a Blessing of St. Patrick
Irish cycling, may the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
God will bless you people who are crying. You will laugh!” 56Luke 6:21
Ponder Where can cycling apply perseverance and humor? Affirm We can make incremental gains. Watch an Irishman, from either nation, ride proudly representing a people unified by cycling.
52Gaelic phrases, words, and slang on www.irishlanguage.com Feabhsoidh Sibh means, We Are Improving!
53“David O’Laughlin/Frank Campbell Interviews,” by Shane Stokes- Race Reports on March 27, 2008 as posted on www.irishcycling.com
54Conversations with Ed Beamon over many years. Asked about his success with team Navigators, which went from an elite team to a regional trade team to a Continental Pro team in its decade-plus of racing, he attributed it to “incremental gains.” This is now one of my favorite expressions to describe deliberate and determined perseverance. Asked why he was wearing St. Patrick’s Day garb in June, he quipped, “Because today we raced like it was March.” His squad hadn’t made the winning break.
55The UCI also had a hand in forging this union, sometimes despite Irish blessing. See www.cyclingireland.ie<