As a prodigious and renowned story teller and stalwart of BBC Radio nan Gaidheal (Gaelic Radio), the late Donald Black of Lismore was a champion of the Gaelic language and the culture of the Scottish Highlands. I was privileged to receive a traditional Gaelic blessing from Donald when he spoke at my wedding. It will no doubt be a familiar verse to Kerry MacPhee, though perhaps now with a slightly different and unwelcome perspective. Kerry, a native Gaelic speaker and regular contributor to Gaelic radio and media may well turn into a champion of a different sort this summer if her plans come to fruition.
Loch Duart is proud to be Kerry’s only financial sponsor (hopefully others will come soon), supporting her living costs allowing her to concentrate on training and push the boundaries of her performance. We got shock news following her cycling training camp in Girona to hear she had discovered where at least one of those boundaries is. Kerry was involved in a nasty group collision and ended up in hospital with one of her training partners. “I’m fine but won’t be back on the bike till Wednesday. I have a black eye, swollen face and road rash and unfortunately broke my bike and helmet,” she wrote to let us know. “We had no idea it would be in the paper (The Sun) but nothing to worry about I don’t think. I was quite shocked to hear they had picked up on it and turned it into a story but another cyclist Charlene fractured three bones in her back so it is the two of us together. She will be fine also.” All in a day’s work for an elite athlete it would seem. Us ordinary mortals don’t even want to contemplate “road rash”! Unfortunately there are crashes in bike racing and these can be at speeds up to 50kmh. All it takes is the slightest touch of wheels.
Looking forward, with our support, Kerry’s has now embarked on an intensive cycling training schedule till the end of March. These are the events that she hopes to represent her country in at The Commonwealth Games. With the weather here as it is, we quite understand why her road bike training camp is in Tenerife and a mountain bike training camp in Girona (from which we hope she will return safely this time). Her build-up to The Commonwealth Games over next couple of months is relentless:
- competing in UK races in Edinburgh and Darlington
- representing Scotland in road races in Nieuwsblad and Le Samyn, Belgium,
- mountain bike race in Banyoles, Girona as part of the Spanish Grand Prix
- in Italy to compete in the GP Comune di Cornaredo race, as a guest of Team Velosport Pasta-Montegrappa.
Though it may suggest a different meaning to a cyclist, the old verse is perhaps the best way to send Kerry on her way. Let’s enjoy again the uplifting, soothing verse from the Gaelic blessing:
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat
Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl
Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d’aghaidh
Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna
Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,
Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always on your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Sales Manager – Loch Duart