(By Eamon Hogan - Sunday 7th April)
It was the first time this year that I ventured out on the bike without wearing the winter jacket, and about time too. With my usual impression of William Wallace, (that’s not Will.i.am!) the Brave Hearts of the B group gathered for the proposed route for the day. With a quick head count there were two groups, thanks again to Bob for taking the second group.
On paper this was to be a very straight-forward spin. The tea stop was Moate via Ballymore, no real problems there, though the faster B group were averaging around the 30km/h mark. No problem unless you are Clem Barkley who likes to chase down every group in the L.S.W. before deciding which group to hang with. The spin home was real group efforts as the head wind made the journey home through Tyrrellspass difficult, but everyone did there share at the front. For anyone who has just taken up cycling and are on their own, struggling with the elements of wind and rain, then I strongly suggest that you start cycling in a group. The benefits are wide and varied, but the main one is that when cycling into a wind you do a small bit of effort at the head of the group, and then hide in the pack until it’s your turn again. It makes for a more enjoyable experience, your millage count will go up, as well as your fitness, and before long you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do it long ago.
As with most Sunday spins the last few kilometres get a bit hot and the pace generally increases, and this Sunday was no exception. We decided to let Darragh Caffrey off at the front for 100m and try and catch him. That is not really true. The fact is Darragh hit some Specialized Turbo boost on his bike, peeled off at the front and we couldn’t catch him. Enjoy your life in the red group in the summer league Caffo!
I had over 95km on the bike and home at the house by 12.20am. Not a bad morning’s work.
(By Eamon Hogan)
It wouldn’t have surprised me in the slightest if St. Patrick himself landed at the O.R.S and banished us all back to our respective homes and the warmth of the duvet on Sunday morning. I’m sure if he took stock of the amount of Lycra clad cyclist heading out into a cold, wet and windy March morning, he’d be thinking “Lord, I wouldn’t even do that. These Irish are mad.”
The first couple of kilometres passing Curraghmore were like a training route for the Paris Roubaix. We were soon on better roads heading out for Killucan, turning left for Cloughan, and onto Donnolly’s corner. It was decided to have a shorter spin today with the day that was in it. Shorter does not always mean easier, and this hilly route is far from easy. We carried onto Crookedwood and turned for Multyfarnham. As if things weren’t hard enough we decided ( I say we, I guess I mean me), to take the opportunity to use a section of road that is used for the hill time trial, and do a bit of interval training. Call it what you like, it involved 3km all up hill, as fast as you can take it. You know it’s tough when you see Aidan Fox and Darragh Caffrey slumped over their bikes, praying for the heart rate to relax a bit.
With the group back together, we were out on the N4 and heading for home. There was no slacking off here either averaging speeds of 35km to 40km/h. Back to the O.R.S in one piece, we clocked up 55km. I think St. Patrick would be very impressed, very impressed indeed.
And finally, if you have been out of the country, out of your head or have been living under a rock, then everyone should know that the ‘Legend’ that is Sean Kelly, will be with us this Friday at the Greville Arms. So if you want to see one of Ireland's Giants in the world of sport, up close and personal and have the pleasure of cycling with him on Saturday, then I would urge you to get a ticket as soon as you can.
Left - Some people wear green on other days as well - the great Seán Kelly made a point(s) of wearing it in July quite a lot!
(By Eamon Hogan)
Today I returned to where my very first outing with Lakeside Wheelers started and that was the Slieve Bloom Mountains on the Offaly/Laois border. If memory serves me correctly, that day was calm and bright, that most definitely was not the case today. In fairness I wasn’t totally surprised that the numbers were small as the forecast was for cold and wind, I was more surprised to see a handful of Wheelers outside Tyrrellspass making their way over to Tullamore to tackle the ‘Blooms’. These are the hard miles that make the difference, and the hours that are put in that are required to be able to compete in the sportive and Audax events. You get out what you put in, and you put in one hell of a shift in today, well-done.
The group of ten headed out at a relaxed pace towards Clonaslee, then we turned right and that’s the start of a 7km climb to the top of the ‘cut’. This is where the pleasantries stop and you go into your own world of pain, trying to keep some sort of rhythm going, and try not to let the heart rate go into the red. Easier said than done.
We re-grouped at the top and then it was over the top for the descent. As the group headed down I stayed back to help Alan Murphy with a puncture, which we eventually sorted out.
I have to be honest here, though I’m all for an adrenalin rush, I’m a bit of a girls blouse when it comes to this craic of dropping like a stone off the side of a mountain, and as fast as the ‘cut’ descent was, the ‘Wolf trap’ was just plain terrifying as we had the wind behind us.
We turned into a strong head wind for the last 24km that brought us back to the Tullamore Court hotel and were home just after 1 o’clock. We will have to visit this route more often, as it has everything you could look for in a cycle route.
(By Roibeard O'Ceallaigh)
A fine crisp morning greeted us all at ORS on Sunday morning (3 March 2013). A group of twenty six B’s (some returning from the winter hibernation) awaited the announcement of the route. But our Leader was not coming with us. He was out in ORS to wave us off and offer a route for us to follow but we took advantage of his absence to adopt a more serene and calm route out towards Rhode and Edenderry. By this I mean, we decided to take a route which could be described as not being vertically challenging!
A quick ride to our tea stop was only hindered in one of the groups by a puncture and that not too far away from the tea. We were afforded the hospitality of a sit down (oh what luxury) and may even have dallied there a bit longer than usual. On the return we were even treated to the sensation of sunshine on our backs, suggesting longer days and maybe even warmer days to come. An altercation with a small dog between Edenderry and Kinnegad aside, we enjoyed the run back to the north west and continued out to Killucan before making the turn west for Mullingar.
The B’s are claiming that we are the first group from the Wheelers to use the new junction at the Downs and we then launched ourselves for home on the newly re-surfaced dual carriageway, well more like struggled up the gears. Launched sounds better. Well anyway, we got back to ORS after 80 quick kilometers after a very enjoyable and very flat spin. No doubt the flat bit will not return again for a few weeks!
B Group relaxing in Supermacs in Edenderry on Sunday
(By Eamon Hogan)
A beautiful crisp morning with just a hint of frost made for perfect cycling weather, in the midlands anyway. Unfortunately it was not so good east of the country for Conor Isdell, Andrew Fay and Bernard Flynn to take part in a 200 km Audax cycle, so they had to settle with a regular 100km Sunday spin.
A testing cycle was planned. We made our way to Tyrellspass, onto Daingean and turned for Tullamore in beautiful sunshine, overlooking the Slieve Bloom mountain range to which we will be visiting in two weeks’ time on Sunday 10th March. After a quick tea stop, it was back on the rothar for the second part of today’s spin. This would see us track through Kilbeggan and onto the Castletown Geoghegan, where we took leave of some of the group, making our way towards Skeagh and the daunting task of ‘that hill’ and the hill after that, etc.etc.
Chapeau to all that made it all out into the early morning frost, and good to see familiar faces of Darragh Caffrey, Kevin Marshall and oh yes, David Mitchell coming back to the fold.
B Group enjoys the sunshine at the tea-stop in Tullamore on Sunday
(By Eamon Hogan Sunday 17.02.2013)
My lord how you can be caught out at this cycling craic when you don’t put the training in during the week, or in my case the last two weeks, and boy did it show. I suppose everyone has a bad day at the office, and it turned out to be one of those days. There are only nine weeks until the annual Spring Spin to Sligo, and maybe this was the jump start I needed. Thanks to the group for towing back home, the compliment will be returned if required, I can assure you, but maybe not for a few weeks!
The route that had been chosen was generally flat, thank God as the wind played a big factor in the spin today (well that’s my excuse). So after the usual toolbox talk from yours truly we headed out for Cloughan, Killucan, and Kinnegad and turned into the wind for Moyvalley and the tea stop at Mother Hubbard’s. I didn’t do a head count but the combination of B and C group’s, there must have been up to fifty Lakeside Wheelers members, and all proudly wearing the club colours.
The route for home was straight-forward, back to Kinnegad, Milltownpass, Rochfortbridge, Tyrrellspass and back to the O.R.S. With the wind on our backs the tempo increased as we upped the pace to Kinnegad. Paraic then had a puncture and told the group to carry on as he would join the second group. We pushed on through Rochfortbridge and this was where the legs decided they had enough, half way up Gneevebawn hill, and welcome to a world of pain.
Thanks to the new N52 and my brothers in arms we made it back to base.
(By Carmel Dolan)
As I drove into the ORS on Sunday morning and the rain was lashing down on the windscreen of my car, I convinced myself that I do this because I just love cycling and the fresh air and exercise and all that jazz!!!! There was no one in the car park when I arrived so I said I would wait and see who turned up. One by one a few started to arrive but as I looked around I realised they were mostly A's and there was no sign of Eamon. Word came through that Eamon was confined to his bed/couch/high stool with a bad case of " Rugbyitus" and wouldn't be joining us. So the two Marks were leading out the 30 or so odd troops that turned up and Mark Monaghan led out a fast A group and Mark Horohoe took the rest, which was a mix of mostly A's, a few B's and one C.
We headed for Moate and the far side of Tyrellspass, Mark decided to split our group again and Eoghan took a slightly faster bunch and headed off and Mark stayed with the rest of us. Along the route to Moate, Mark gave some great tips on basic skills and bike handling and had us cycling in single file with the person at the front spending no longer than 30 seconds and keeping the pace nice and steady before moving to the side and falling back to the back. It worked really well and in no time at all we found ourselves near Moate where we had a little sprint to the tea stop. Except we didn't actually stop! We kept going through the town and headed for Castledaly and did a nice 10km loop back around to Moate and this time we did stop.
After much discussion on the break about horses, burgers, promissory notes etc. etc. we hopped back on our bikes and heading again in the direction of Tyrellspass and as some legs were starting to tire, we worked together well and everyone made it back to the ORS with 100 km, (give or take) under our belts.
I can only speak for my own group but we certainly had a great spin and better still, the rain held off throughout and only began to lash down again as we arrived back into ORS car park. Well done to Breda H, Ciaran, Martin, Ronan, Barry, Shane, yours truly (Carmel Dolan) and especially thank you very much to Mark H for all his help and assistance on today's spin. As I drove home and the rain was once again lashing down on the windscreen, I was tired but happy and I actually didn't need to convince myself of it because, yes, I actually DO love cycling, fresh air, exercise and all that jazz.
(By Eamon Hogan)
They say rules are there to be broken and going by that, routes are there to be changed, and change them we did, though some in the group used a bit of local knowledge around the Abbeyshrule area to avoid the hill up to Carrickboy. You will at the moment remain nameless but you know who you are. As usual at this time of the year the numbers start to creep up, making up two groups of eleven.
Our destination was Carrickboy for the tea stop. We moved out over the Joe Dolan Bridge and onto the Ballymahon road, a road that would test both your physical and mental strength. Physical, because of the hills you meet. Mental, because you can see them coming for miles. We turned off just before we reached Ballymahon and headed for Abbeyshrule. We then (well most of us) headed for Tagshinney and onto Carrickboy.
After the tea stop it was to be a straight forward route home to Edgeworthstown onto the N4 and home. There are times when it is brought home to you that group cycling can be a bit of a hairy business. One slight lap in concentration, clip a cat’s eye, or simply slip on a white line and you can come a cropper. It is so important that everyone takes the health and safety of themselves and their fellow cyclist seriously. Make sure your bike is in good working order, oil the chain, and have it serviced regularly. Keep yourself well fed and watered to keep the brain sharp, running out of fuel means your concentration levels fall by the wayside. Proper clothing, particularly at this time of the year, and lenses in your glasses clean and scratch free. It is the small details that will make going out for a Sunday club spin safe and all the more enjoyable, as no one likes to be looking up with a crowd around them. I always enjoy my Sunday spins and today was no exception.
B Group in action on Sunday 3rd February
Not again. That was the sinking feeling I had when awoke to another Sunday morning of rain, wind and sleet. Feeling slightly guilty for canceling the spin last week as the morning frost did not materialise, myself and Mark decided to say nothing and see who, if any, turn up. Thankfully a good number rolled up, not letting a wee bit of January drizzle put off yet another spin.
It was decided that a shorter spin would be a wise idea, so a small group of eight left in the direction of Dysart, and onto Horseleap. After a few minor adjustments to one of the bikes we carried onto Kilbeggan were we stopped off for a quick cuppa and scones….well it is still January. We departed for home through Tyrrellspass and onto the new N52. It isn’t often you get the wind on your back an such a good road surface to cycle on and it was no time at all before we were back at base with 60km done, and we somehow stayed dry. Nice one!
(By Eamon Hogan)
When I wheeled around past the Park Hotel, I saw the droves of Wheelers getting ready to embark on the first club spin of the year. Thank the lord I got my lazy butt out of the leaba.
After politely wishing all in the B group a happy new year, because that’s the kind of guy I am, I then in the same breath told them they were heading in the direction of Granard, and that’s where all the pleasantries stopped.
This time of the year it’s all about endurance, and the route today had endurance plastered all over it .When I put the routes together, believe me I have to convince myself it will be all worth it in the end. The end of what I hear you ask! So without further ado we rolled out of the O.R.S. in two groups.
We headed off in the direction of Rathowen, turning off the N4 passing Streete, Lismacaffrey and onto Granard. Turning left took us straight to Edgeworthstown where we stopped for a cuppa. Like it or lump it lads but get used to seeing a good bit of north Longford as these roads offer us great hills (can’t believe I’m even saying that). The next part of the route after the tea stop was Carrickboy, Ballynacargy, up Slanemore Hill and home with 90km of tough cycling. Next week don’t forget your passport and an app for map my ride might be useful just in case we get lost in ….Cavan!