Sometimes you just need a little bit of divine inspiration…

I was racking my brain all week, wondering what am I going to write about this Thursday, which is my official blogging day. Luckily, I stumbled across a title from a blog called “Running: An aid to the creative process?” by Running blogger David Hindley. So, after reading his interesting post I put my runners on and set off this morning in the drizzling rain for a long, slow run. Snail city eat your heart out. While I plodded along for 12k, the right hemisphere of my brain fought with the left. The latter winning as my mind conducted an arithmetic class. To start I wondered how many strides was I was turning over? 180 per minute being the ideal number apparently. I’ve come the conclusion that when I count, I tend to do it in an infantile fashion. As when I reach the next set of tens just like this sixty-six, sixty-seven, sixty-eight, sixty-ninnnnnne..pregnant pause….seventy! in the meantime I’ve missed the last 2 or 3 strides! Then I have to start all over again! While glancing down at my Garmin, checking my pace, pulse and working out how fast I hope to run my first marathon (Dublin 2015, there I’ve said it) The grey matter becomes a bargaining space, by the end of my run, my imaginary marathon finish time is half an hour slower than I was predicting at the start of my run!

So, this evening as I finished off a landscape painting in my studio of the beautiful town of Graiguenamanagh, Kilkenny, I still hadn’t decided what to write. I glanced over at a shelf and noticed a copy of a pen and ink drawing I had done many years ago. 20 to be exact. The picture was done from a photo of my late buddy Dave Garland who passed away nearly a year and a half ago. Anyone involved with Irish cycling in the 80s and 90s and later again would have heard of Dave. Another Northside Dubliner who resettled in rural Ireland. He was one of the stalwarts of Dublin Wheelers Cycling Club. Not only was Dave a talented rider, he was also a brilliant masseur who support many Irish International cycling teams on races abroad. When it came to work he was a gifted stone mason and gardener. But,  most importantly at home he was a loving husband to Louise and fun-loving, caring Daddy to Maud and Ella. He was taken from us way too soon and will remain in all our hearts forever.

Dave Garland
Dave Garland racing in the 80s for the Dublin Wheelers CC

So, I do feel I got a bit of divine inspiration this evening from Dave. This drawing was done in graphic pen and ink. Using fine lines, cross hatching and other methods to build up the picture. Black and white can be very effective in conveying an atmosphere and perhaps it adds a vintage feeling to the image. It is one way of drawing that I really love. It can be a rather slow process but there is often a very rewarding result at the end. Dave is wearing a “hairnet” which was the old name for the helmets of the time, made from strips of leather.

1960s racing helmet

Underneath the hairnet he wears in a backwards fashion a cotton cycling cap or casquette as the French call it. The gear shifting levers which are visible on the downtube of the frame where to be later replaced by the more anatomically efficient STI (Shimano Total Integration) levers which would be combined with the braking system.

sti levers
STI Levers

Woolly jerseys, shorts and gloves that he wears have been replaced by lightweight fabrics that are now made with modern technologies that are more efficient and comfortable. Toe straps were replaced with clipless pedals and steel frames with alloys, titanium and carbon. It is incredible to look back and see that despite how dated the gear and bikes are, in current times the look is classy and would be considered trendy and “retro” now.

So thanks Dave, I dedicate this short blog post to you, also my late Fiancee John Sweeney and good friend Stephen Byrne. Three late great Dublin Wheelers. Gone but always loved and never forgotten. Rachel


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