Tag Archives: challenge

another great cycling week

Over the last fortnight I’ve enjoyed two of the very best cycling weeks I’ve ever had. With a great dry spell I’ve been able to get out every day bar two. One of these was when a storm blew in and the other was yesterday as I went back to work.

In two weeks I’ve managed to cycle slightly over 600km. To put that in context my target to hit 6,000km for the year is 500km per month.

© strava

Apart from my “31 Days of Biking” Challenge in August last year, which was mostly short daily rides I have to go back to the “Every Day in May” Challenge in 2017 to get consistent high mileage like this. That month included one week of 517km which had my first ever Audax event (205km) followed the next day by a 106km Club spin that nearly killed me!

may 2017 © strava

This consistent cycling has also had a significant impact on my fitness. I can feel it in my legs but it’s measurable according to Strava. A score of 79 is probably a lot lower than many other people but my highest score for the last two years (limit of Strava’s charts) was a very brief 81 in October. This time last year it was approximately 30, two years ago it was 12!

© strava

The challenge now is to maintain my great start to the month. These two weeks have put me back on track for my yearly target but this weather won’t last much longer and now that I’m working again I’ll have to be more organised. I have a plan that gets me to 170km per week across 4 days using two mornings before work and my two days off. I also want to start some much needed strength and conditioning training while keeping up with the walking. All of that is in the plan too which starts tomorrow morning.

metric challenge 2021: march

The good weather has stayed around for another week. Not as warm and sunny as last week but despite the grey skies and chilly winds it has stayed dry which is the most important. As my fitness is at a pretty good level and I’m going back to work tomorrow I thought it would be a good idea to get my 100K done nice and early this month, especially as the weather may not last.

I was tempted to go a longer route this month, especially having seen one of the guys in the club doing a great 110K route last week. However, I’m still not comfortable going far from home and having to use garages and shops for comfort breaks and food stops. I decided to stick with a similar route to the last two to be on the safe side and be able to have my break at home again.

I modified it slightly again though. This time I did three overlapping loops. Clady to Ballybofey (37km), Strabane to Killygordon (37km) and Clady to Killygordon (26km). I had my break at 74km which was perfect again. This route worked really well as there was a gusty, cold SE breeze. This was a real hassle on the first loop but the second one used the wind better by going down the sheltered back road and back the main road with a bit of a tailwind. The third loop was OK too but short enough not to matter.

At 52km the sun came out briefly and I stopped to eat a bar and admire the huge 5.5m tall metal sculpture at the border in Strabane. It’s officially called “Let the Dance Begin” but in typical irreverent Irish humour it’s known locally as “The Tinnies” as Tinney is a local surname. The artist is Maurice Harron who is a very far out family relation. The site of the sculpture is highly significant too as it’s the former location of the “Camel’s Hump” British Army border checkpoint from The Troubles and dismantled in 1999 after the signing of The Good Friday Agreement (1998).

click the image to view on strava

The tone of the recent government announcements about lockdown restrictions suggest that we might see some relaxations from early April. I hope to go somewhere more interesting and further away for next month’s challenge🤞

Header image © Strava. 100KM Gran Fondo March.

metric challenge 2021: february

Believe or not completing this on the very last day of the month was according to plan. Since last weekend when it was clear that Spring was coming this week and that cycling was back on the cards I’d planned to do my 100K spin yesterday. However, a bit of over exuberance and lack of thought on route choices on Friday left me with a much bigger week than expected. This forced me to rearrange the weekend and make Saturday a recovery day.

As I said yesterday recovery rides are not my forte. I set out with the best of intentions but it usually ends up a normal ride, slightly slower and with my cadence on the higher side. My legs were tired and achy yesterday which forced me to focus on my form and actually resulted in a proper low power and heart rate spin at a higher cadence. As a result today felt great.

In Covid times I’m still not comfortable being very far from home so I chose to ride a similar route to last month. I shortened it slightly to give me 2 full laps of approx 37km plus a final shorter lap of approx 26km. I felt the meal break at 50km was too early last month but 75km turned out to be perfect today. It was nice to get back to the house, eat something proper and stretch out for a bit. Having a short lap to finish was also a nice mental boost to get going again.

click on the image to view on strava

The nicest part of the day was just under 5km from home. A little girl, about 7 years old, came along the pavement just as I was pulling away from traffic lights. She called out “I saw you this morning too”. She was absolutely delighted with herself and full of happiness. It put a big smile on my face that took me all the way home.

I’m heading back to work on Saturday and the weather is set to be good again all week. If all goes according to plan I hope to repeat this ride on Thursday 🤞

Header image © Strava. 100KM Gran Fondo February 2021.

metric challenge 2021: january

The way January has developed I was starting to think I’d never get this ride done and that one of my main goals for 2021 was going to fall flat in the first month! I lost a lot of time due to Covid, 10 days isolation plus recovery afterwards ate up about half the month. Then we got snow and I lost at least another week for cycling. I was able to keep walking though so did build and retain some fitness.

For the last few days I’ve been watching the weather forecast pretty closely. The prediction was for it to get a lot milder Wednesday before another band of heavy rain moved in Thursday. I was hoping for a quick thaw to open up the roads again and let me out on the road bike. In the end up the thaw started Tuesday afternoon with most of the snow gone by evening and completely gone by Wednesday morning.

Then the weather gods played the joker! Fog! Clear, mild conditions combined with an almost total lack of wind and high humidity meant that the Finn Valley was shrouded in thick fog all morning and into early afternoon. By the time it cleared I’d lost interest and had become engrossed in my current book. Plus I was going to run out of daylight and I didn’t fancy finishing in the dark.

The forecast held out further hope with a window this morning into the late afternoon between the two bands of heavy rain. It was to be a bit breezier (18-24km/h) so fog was unlikely. All set to go 👍

rain radar 6pm © met eireann

I’d already planned to do my “easy” route. It’s the 50km loop of the Finn Valley between Strabane and Ballybofey using both sides of the river. I also planned to stop at home at the halfway point, have something proper to eat and adapt my clothing if needed.

The weather turned out very mild. I had on thermal leggings over my shorts but could have gotten away with leg warmers instead. The skull cap went at 25km, I changed to a lighter base layer at lunch and also ditched the liner gloves.

The first half was OK but I really paid for my lack of cycling over the last two months and this month in particular. At 40km everything was hurting, shoulders, neck, lower back and ass. Some of it was lack of flexibility, some due to the effects of walking with a weighted backpack this week but to be honest most of it was due to a lack of saddle time. Up until today I only had 278km across 6 rides for the whole of December and January. My ride today pretty much doubled my January total. I was glad to see home at the halfway point and get some anti inflammatories into me as well as a bowl of soup and wheaten bread.

not bad for halfway

I was expecting the second half to be slower but it turned out slightly faster. Coming back from Castlefinn to Killygordon I felt great. There were impressive figures (for me!) showing on the Garmin and I was starting to think there was something in the soup! At the very least the wind had dropped. Turning in Ballybofey to come home on the final 10km I realised that the wind had changed direction slightly, I’d had a bit of a tailwind for the last 20km and I was now finishing into a headwind. The last 10km was tough. Mentally I’d had enough and I was physically tired. The big effort from Castlefinn was now biting back. For the first time ever I thought I wasn’t going to make it up the final hill to home!

done ✅

The roads have been very dirty since October but they were really bad today and I was glad I made the last minute decision to stick on the rear mudguard. The surface has also deteriorated a lot over the winter and especially with the recent ice and snow. There were random patches of grit on the hillier bits as households had dealt with the snow and lots of gravel washed off side roads in the heavy overnight rain. It didn’t make things any easier.

a front mudguard might have helped too 🙈

Header image © Strava. 100KM Gran Fondo January 2021.

the humble walk

Many cycling blogs and online articles extol the virtues of cross training. The obvious focus is on running, swimming and pilates/yoga but walking is often overlooked.

The benefits of walking are many and the starting point is low. You need little to no specialised equipment. Most people will have a comfortable pair of shoes or trainers, a waterproof jacket, hat and gloves already. After that it’s just layers, depending on the weather. The other advantage of walking is that you can mix it up to a high degree. You can vary the terrain from roads to forest tracks to hiking off trail. You can mix in flat roads with hills or even hill repeats if you want. You can vary your speed from slow to fast, walk a variety of distances and carry a weighted pack to increase the effort.

The big benefit I’ve found over the last week is that bad weather still allows the opportunity for walking. Storms aren’t much fun to walk in but decent waterproof clothes and shoes mean it’s still possible. High winds, ice or snow make running and cycling difficult, if not impossible, but even the heavy snow this last week hasn’t stopped me from walking every day.

Walking has been a great way to recover from Covid and rebuild my fitness. Post isolation I started by taking short, easy walks, gradually extending the distance and speed before mixing in cycling. This allowed me to increase the effort gently, identify any impact on my lungs and steadily build my stamina again. I’ve walked almost every day since, sometimes twice a day. My biggest day was 12.5km over two walks and my longest was 9.2km. I’ve now also started walking with a 3kg weighted backpack to increase the effort required and build a bit of upper body stamina also. Apparently this is called “rucking“!

© garmin connect

My total distance for the month so far is almost 106km. 90km of that has been done since the 14th when I came out of isolation. So far this month I’ve only managed 104km on the bike due to the snow and ice of the last week so I’ve walked further than I’ve cycled.

© garmin connect

Finally one of the greatest benefits of walking is the positive impact on mental health. Getting out in the fresh air every day has lifted me mentally as well as physically. It has been my daily release. Similar to cycling walking is mindless, requiring very little focus or concentration allowing the mind to wander and release any stress.

Header image © Strava. 100KM Walking Challenge January 2021.

metric challenge: december

The day started with an unexpected trip to Donegal Town. The weather was snowy and icy and Catriona was worried about driving to work and what the conditions would be like afterwards. I agreed to drive her instead. On the way back I stopped to admire the fantastic view of Barnes Gap from the shores of Lough Mourne.

Getting home around 1130am it was clear that a 100km cycle was going to have to involve the implementation of Plan C. I’d decided the night before to abandon Plan A which was a repeat of the Club Lap The Finn route from earlier in the year. The western section around Fintown is too mountainous and pretty much guaranteed to be snowy and/or icy based on the weather forecast that included a Yellow Warning for ice and snow.

Plan B was a repeat of my February spin doing two repeats of the Ballybofey to Strabane loop taking in both sides of the river. However, the back road was still icy and slippery at 1130am and the shady areas were likely to stay that way all day.

Plan C was to avoid the back road entirely, drive down to Killygordon and just do two repeats of the main road between Stranorlar and Lifford. Stranorlar to Lifford and back is 40km so riding from Killygordon to Stranorlar first and back to the car at the end gave me 50km. Not the most exciting or inspiring of routes but mostly flat at least.

Using the car as my base camp also gave me a warm dry location for lunch. A packed lunch and flask of tea got over the problem of the restaurants and coffee shops closed under the latest Covid19 restrictions.

To relieve the boredom of the route I put on my Bluetooth earphones and listened to the radio. I’m one of the few that don’t have an issue with earphones on the bike. At any speed the wind means I usually can’t hear approaching traffic anyway and I don’t think not wearing them would save me from a rear end crash. I don’t wear them in town as they’re too much of a distraction when full concentration is needed. Yesterday it was left ear only as with both earphones in I could hardly hear anything at all under my skull cap! It did make it difficult to distinguish between traffic approaching from the front or rear though.

Apart from the ice and snow it was a perfect day for cycling. Bright and sunny, hardly a breath of wind and almost completely rain free. The downside is that in December that equals bitterly cold. It took a long time to warm up at the start and just after lunch with hands and feet getting the worst of it. Starting later than planned meant darkness was falling close to the end. The last 30min were close to 0°C with windchill well below that and the last 10min were far too close to darkness to feel comfortable or safe without good lights and hi viz. Thankfully quieter roads and blinkies saw me finish safely.

click to view on strava

So 2020 Metric Challenge complete. Roll on 2021 with a repeat but this year they’ll all be done within the correct month🤞

January – Club Spin

February – Rookie Mistakes

March – Lockdown Loops

May – New Mojo

May – Making Up For April

June – 31 Days 🤫

July – KISS

August – Dodging Storm Ellen

September – Dark Hedges Audax

October – Donegal 200

November – Level 5 Lockdown

December – Job Done

the year ahead

I’m not really into retrospectives but Gerry from The Vicious Cycle posted a really good one earlier this week and I have been reading a few others too. I don’t usually find a lot of personal value in looking back. Facebook memories, Strava’s end of year review and Veloviewer’s infographic are as close as I normally get.

© strava
© veloviewer

I’m much more interested in setting goals for the future. Some of these are short term like the mini challenges I wrote about last time but at the start of a new year I also like to set longer term goals for the full year.

cycling goals

Unsurprisingly, most of my goals are cycling related.

annual goal: since I started using Strava in 2014 my biggest year was 2016 when I rode 8,046km. This past year was fairly average for me at 4,541km. I’d like to beat that in 2020 riding an average of 500km per month for a total goal of 6,000km. 8,000km would be a good stretch target as I’ve only hit it the once and it’s also the equivalent of 5,000miles.

© schreiberusa

streak goal: I should have my 12th metric century completed by the end of this week completing the set for the year. I’m planning the same challenge for next year but this time I’m going to do it within each calendar month and go for the full set of Strava Gran Fondo trophies for 2021. It doesn’t sit 100% right with me that I missed a month or two this year.

I also want to restart the Audax Ireland RRTY challenge this year. I plan to start it in May or June so that I can start and finish in Summer as well as having some momentum going into the tougher Winter months. I’m also hoping that lockdowns will be a thing of the past by then giving me a chance to take part in calendar events and introduce some variety.

distance goal: my biggest ride so far is 210km back in 2017. I’ve completed quite a few 200km Audax rides now and would like to complete one next level 300km ride this year.

running goals

For the first year I now consider myself a runner as well as a cyclist and I want to set goals to improve my running this year and make it a permanent part of my training.

streak goal: I’ve managed to get back to a level that I can run a 5K without stopping. This year I want to run a full 5K each month and like my cycling goal above complete each of the Strava monthly 5K challenges.

time goal: my fastest 5K time so far is 27:23. My goal this year is 25min.

other activity goals

365 challenge: inspired by ADudeABikes and following my November streak I’m setting a target of a minimum of one recorded activity per day walking, cycling or running.

bikepacking: I’ve been watching a lot of Bikepacking videos and read a lot of articles this year and want to complete one short trip and camp out for one night. I haven’t spent a night in a tent for about 10 years!

strength and conditioning: during lockdown I discovered Tom Merrick’s YouTube channel. He has a nice and simple 6 day follow along program for strength and flexibility. I’m not setting a specific goal but want to incorporate this into my regular activities this year. I have strong legs but my upper body strength and my general flexibility is poor and needs to improve before I end up with injuries.

weight loss: in the early part of 2020 I was at 88kg. During the latter stages of the first lockdown I managed to get that down to 80kg through 16:8 intermittent fasting and increased activity. I wasn’t able to sustain the fasting for long once I went back to work and bad habits gradually crept back in. I’ve been able to keep it between 81-82kg and during this year I’d like to get it down to 76kg and keep it there consistently.

There’s a lot in there and too many goals could mean that I’m setting myself up for failure. However, most of them are continuations of goals I’m already working on or are stretches that are definitely achievable. The key one is the 365 challenge. If I can get that rolling then most of the rest should fall into place.

Header image by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels

mini challenges

For anyone that follows me on Strava it’ll come as no surprise that I like to use challenges to motivate me and keep me active.

Strava are without a doubt the king of challenges and the whole concept is part of their DNA. Users can create and compete on segments to earn the KOM (King of the Mountain) or QOM (Queen of the Mountain) crown for the fastest time. Strava also give you trophies for your top 3 times on segments and give you table positions based on age and weight and in comparison to members of any Strava clubs you belong to. They’ve also recently released a new concept called Local Legend on some segments for riding a segment multiple times.

one of my local segments

Each month Strava also host regular challenges. For both cycling and running they have cumulative distance and elevation challenges as well as one-off distance challenges such as the monthly 100km Gran Fondo for cycling and 5K, 10K and Half Marathon for running. Most months they will also have partner challenges that more activities count for.

Although the regular challenges are mostly based around running or cycling they seem to be making their walking challenge a regular one.

Outside of Strava there are other challenges, mostly based on streaks of some sort. The 30 Days of Biking is one of the well known ones for cycling but there is also the Marcothon running challenge, multiple 12 Days of Xmas challenges and the less serious Coffeeeneuring and Errandonee challenges

This year I’ve been working on a Metric Century challenge to ride a minimum of one 100km spin each month for 12 months. This was originally inspired by a post of Tempo Cyclist but prompted this year by Paul of 36×25 who coined the term Resolution Ride. I’ve missed at least one month this year due to Covid lockdowns but have made it up with an extra ride the following month. So far I only have one ride left to give me 12 for the year.

Part of what attracted me to Audax was the challenges they also run. As if long distance cycling wasn’t challenge enough they have a number of streak and cumulative challenges. In 2018 I completed the Four Provinces Challenge. I’ve also started the RRTY challenge a few times including this year. I’ve decided to put my current attempt on hold as the multiple lockdowns are playing havoc with Audax Ireland having to pause and resume a number of times during 2020. I’d rather wait and make sure I can get a clean run at 12 in a row, ideally starting and finishing in late Spring or early Summer.

The ultimate Audax challenge is the Super Randonneur, completing a 200, 300, 400 and 600km event during the Audax calendar year. I don’t know if I’ll ever be capable of that but it is one I aspire to.

As far as mini adventures go though this looks like the ultimate one….

metric challenge: november

The theme of yesterday’s spin was checkpoints and road works. Officially the country is in the last week of Level 5 lockdown and we’re supposed to stay within 5km of home unless it’s an essential journey. This also applies to exercise. For cycling this is totally nonsensical, as well as impractical. Compared to Lockdown v1 virtually nobody on my Strava feed is paying any heed to this restriction including some of the most compliant people I know. I’m still cycling solo but seeing as I meet so many people through work I don’t see the point of cycling close to home. Part of the non-compliance is the lack of enforcement. I passed through 3 “Operation Fanacht checkpoints and barely got a glance from the Gardai at any of them. The multiple stops for roadworks created more of a restriction and annoyance, especially the last one which I only realised was a hedge cutter at work at the very last minute. Glad now I’m riding tubeless tyres.

The aim of yesterday’s spin was to reverse my November ennui and keep my 2020 Metric Challenge streak alive. I’d been watching the forecast all week and despite some fluctuations Wednesday looked about as good as could be expected for the end of November.

© met eireann

I finally made the break and removed the Brooks C17, going back to the factory fitted Selle Royal Seta RS. Before leaving I took the time to get it perfectly levelled and exactly back to the same position as the fit done at the shop when I bought it. It meant I was an hour later leaving than planned but definitely time well spent despite spending more time in the rain at the end of the ride.

When I did get away shortly after 1030am it was bright and cold but I was kitted out in wooly socks, Winter shoes, overshoes and Winter tights over my normal bibshorts. Three layers up top, base layer, Perfetto jacket and Club gillet. Extremities protected with a skull cap and Buff and a double layer of gloves meant I was well insulated.

I’d decided to ride pretty much the same route as August with a small adjustment. The first 30km was very enjoyable with a slight tailwind all the way to Nixon’s Corner before turning for Newtowncunningham. I didn’t really feel the breeze with the protection from the high hedges for most of the road. The good weather lasted until the last 5min when I was hit by a short, heavy shower just before my lunch stop at Kernan’s at the 50km mark.

level 5 =takeaway only 😔

While making my tea an older American guy was making some small talk and when he followed me outside I thought I was about to share my lunch with a bit of a PITA. I was wrong. Turns out my talkative friend was pretty interesting. Bob is originally from Washington State, close to Seattle and living in Ireland for just over 30 years. He’s retired on a disability pension after a nasty accident involving his right arm and a printing press. He showed me the gruesome result which must have been insanely painful at the time. We had a good yarn while enjoying our sandwiches in the cold November air. One of the interesting stories was the origin of the name of “Seattle’s Best Coffee” brand and their rivalry with Starbucks.

Leaving Bob I was feeling the cold and added an extra layer using my Sportful gillet. The lingering dampness of the shower, disappearance of the sun, spray from the passing traffic and an increase in the now cold breeze was multiplying the cooling effect of the food stop and the extra windproof layer was much needed.

layered up

The road from Newtowncunningham to Letterkenny is a busy main road. Its only saving grace is the wide hard shoulder almost all the way. I wasn’t looking forward to it as I figured it would be a slog into a stiff breeze but it wasn’t too bad after all. The biggest challenge was spray from passing lorries as the road was now quite wet.

Dropping down past Manorcunningham towards the start of the dual carriageway is where my route diverged from August. I’d decided to use the back road I was familiar with from the Audax route, albeit from the opposite direction and avoid the busy dual carriageway. I’d also decided to go on further and climb out of Letterkenny via the Cullion Road instead of Dromore. This is a much better surface and only my second time up this road by bike. It means crossing the main road close to the top of Lurgybrack but traffic was reasonably light and getting across wasn’t a problem.

Shortly after this, with approximately 75km done, was when the rain started in earnest and I really started to feel Winter’s bite.

brief break in the showers

The showers started coming pretty heavy and close together. The road was very wet spraying my feet and legs and spray from passing traffic killed any breaks between showers. It was at this stage I was really cursing not having stuck on the mudguards and not packing a proper rain jacket. The cold was biting and slowly but surely the wet was soaking into my feet and hands as the overshoes and gloves became overloaded. It was a long 25km back to home but at least I had a tailwind for about 12km between Stranorlar and Castlefinn before finishing with a slow 5km into the headwind and the usual climb to home.

Despite the final conditions it was a great spin. It was mostly comfortable and even with the wet and cold finish I was soon sorted with a hot shower and food. I was just glad to be able to finish having let my mileage slide over the last 6 weeks or so. Only December to go and that will be my 2020 Metric Challenge complete.

lockdown ireland v2.0

Since the middle of October Donegal has been on partial Level 4 lockdown but for just over a week now the entire country has been on the highest Level 5 which is a virtual nationwide lockdown.

There are some differences this time compared to the first lockdown earlier this year.

Schools are open. Despite misgivings the government seem to have drawn a line in the sand regarding schools and have said that they will be open no matter what. The scientific evidence from many countries seems to be that children don’t catch or spread the virus to the same extent as adults and that the risk to health is outweighed by the benefits of uninterrupted education.

We’re happy for our boys to be at school. They need their education and homeschooling doesn’t have the same impact. Regular routine and socialising with friends is also having a huge positive mental health impact on them too.

Sport is still on. At an elite level only and with detailed Covid protocols in place. Elite level is considered to be all professional sports plus GAA. The League and Championship are continuing but in a modified fashion.

Group training isn’t permitted at amateur level but is still allowed for under age in pods of 15 and on a non-contact basis. Unfortunately, both our Clubs stopped all activities in advance of lockdown due to a local outbreak and have decided not to resume again until the new season which means both boys have no activities outside of school.

Essential retail continues. The list of essential retailers is much broader and more open to interpretation than before. Many businesses have decided to stay open as normal, with slight changes or on a click and collect basis. This means that many people are still working and definitely a lot more than the first lockdown.

I’m still working. My work is one of the businesses that has decided to stay open. They figure we qualify as essential based on a number of the items on the list but mainly on this one:

Outlets selling products necessary for the essential upkeep and functioning of places of residence and businesses, whether on a retail or wholesale basis.

It’s a very grey area but so far the Gardai are happy enough for us to stay open. They’re no more certain than us but are happy to err on the positive side for now.

Work is different though. It’s quieter for one. With travel restrictions footfall is definitely well down. Sales are staying strong as most people coming in are there to buy and the phones are very busy. We’re getting a lot of panicky phone calls, people worried about receiving the products they have ordered and especially upset and demanding when there are delays. We’re getting new orders over the phone too though.

It’s November! Lockdown from March-May was made a lot easier due to the long, bright days with long periods of warm, dry weather. November is different in all ways and the last two weeks have been especially wet and stormy. Combined with the end of DST it’s creating a very different mental health challenge for anyone off work due to Covid closures.

Travel restrictions. In full lockdown we weren’t allowed to travel more than 2km from home unless it was for an essential task (food shopping, care for a relative, etc). This time it’s 5km which is the same as one of the earlier levels as we exited lockdown.

This restriction is pretty pointless to be honest. It’s completely arbitrary with no scientific basis and completely messes up any cycling plans if you intend to honour it. Last time many people ignored this restriction and my impression is that it will be broadly ignored this time also. The 20km limit from before would have been more appropriate and more widely accepted. An unenforceable and impractical restriction like this makes it more likely that the more important isolation and distancing restrictions will be ignored also.

The Audax Ireland RRTY Challenge has been suspended once again until Level 5 is lifted. Probably just as well as my activity level has declined significantly over the last few weeks, partly due to the terrible weather but also laziness!

People are pissed off. This to me is the biggest change. Earlier in the year people were frightened but mostly willing to trust the government to make the right choices and bring everyone through the crisis together. This time people are angry. The overall feeling is that lockdown didn’t work and that the time since lockdown hasn’t been used properly to prepare for the expected second wave. All the pain people went through and the financial costs have been pointless if we’re simply expected to go through it all again and possibly once again in the future. Businesses are closing and many are worried about being able to reopen. People are being laid off and are worried about ever getting back to work.

The political climate has changed. Between lockdowns we’ve had a change of government. We have a new Taoiseach and an historic coalition government. However, the new government has been beset with problems from the get go and hasn’t handled them particularly well. We have a changed opposition that seems less inclined to provide support to the government than before and more interested in political posturing without any positive moves. All of this is hampering the Covid message, making it less likely that restrictions will be followed and making more people angry with the situation.

The expectation is that we will exit Level 5 restrictions on the 1st of December and possibly before that as there is a planned review after four weeks. The government plan is that all counties will return to Level 3 in time to have a reasonably normal Christmas. Somehow I don’t see it but I really hope I’m proved wrong!