Vinny counts his blessings after battle of Clontarf
By Pitch 30, Vinny had clawed back to within 10 yards, by Pitch 25, he was within five. Breathing far harder than he ever did chasing Ginny Durr’s skirt, he pulled out from the slipstream, drew level with the rear wheel of his adversary and prepared to put the gas down.
But then, to Vinny’s chagrin, as he asked his arms for a final heave, the strength wasn’t there. For some reason, Vinny thought back to Seán Kelly in the 1989 World Cycling Championships in Chambery when the great man’s great legs failed him in the sprint against Greg Lemond.
Vinny almost cried aloud as the string between him and his wheelie foe broke. At Pitch 20, he was five yards back, by Pitch 19 the gap was out to 10 and passing the end of Pitch 17, which marked the start of the Main Avenue, he was close to 20 paces adrift.
Broken and beaten, he rolled to a halt, stopping beside his conqueror. “Vinny Fitzpatrick. Fair play to ye,” he said, offering a red-raw mitt.
The hand that clasped Vinny’s was firm and strong. Vinny took a closer appraisal at his subjugator. He was in his early 40s, prematurely grey, supremely fit-looking and was breathing far easier than Vinny.
“Sylvie Copeland,” he said. “I recognise you from Foley’s. I used to drink there. Thanks for the exercise, I needed that. If only I was pushed that hard in London.”
“London?” queried Vinny.
“Yeah, London. Just back from the Paralympics. What an experience that was. Right,” he said, glancing at his wrist. “Got to go. Thanks again.”
With that his rival steered his chair through the park gates. As he did so, Vinny noticed something – Sylvie had no legs.
As Vinny waited for his pick up from Angie, he thought about life’s wheel of fortune and how it spun. He was, he knew, one of the lucky ones.
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