(By Carmel Dolan)
With the Spring Spin done and dusted for another year, it was back to normal cycling last Sunday morning April 28th. The morning didn't look good and the sky was dark but none the less, I joined the C group and about 14 of us heading out the gates of ORS with Feericks of Rathowen being our destination,. We headed for the Joe Dolan Bridge as we were going to Rathowen via Ballynacargy and just at the roundabout on the Lynn road, the heavens opened and the rain lashed down. A few in our group were heard to remark that they needed to turn back as they had other things to be doing so one escaped but another one in the group wasn't let escape!
Eventually the rain stopped around Walshestown and we dried off in the wind. The banter was good in the group and the usual chit chat ensued and in no time we were inside in Feericks and awaiting warm cups of tea and coffee and plates of scones and toast. Shane was doing his "Dowton Abbey/Upstairs Downstairs" impersonation and was serving tea to all and sundry and nearly even buttering the toast for some people.
Somehow the conversation got around to cycling gear and there were suggestions of a new kit for the ladies but because this is a family paper, I just couldn't mention what the lads had in mind!! But Katherine, I am sure we would all look great in the new gear....the weather might be the only problem!! As always, the chat and craic was good and the laughter loud.
We headed back out and on our bikes and back to town via the lovely "Col de Bunbrosna" and after re-grouping at the top we sailed back into the ORS with a respectable 55 km under our belts. Not bad for a wet Sunday morning. Thanks guys for a great spin and good laugh.
(By Carmel Dolan - Sunday 7th April)
Sunday morning unfortunately wasn't quite as nice as Saturday and that east wind seemed to reappear but it was dry at least. I had cycled into the ORS to get a few extra miles in the legs in preparation for the Spring Spin to Sligo and I think a few others had the same idea. I joined the C group and Tullamore was our destination. As there was 22 out, we split the group into two with 12 under the guidance of Barry Carr heading out first and the remaining 10 of us leaving shortly afterwards.
We headed for Rochfortbridge at a nice pace and the chat was good with the question "are you all set for Sligo?" being the first thing one was asked! After Rochfortbridge we headed for Rhode, Daingean and Ballinagar. We noticed in our group that Barry's group, who were up ahead of us, went straight through the village of Ballinagar so we turned right and therefore getting to the tea stop at Scally’s Centra in Tullamore first and the coffee machine ( sorry guys!!! )
After the tea break we headed for Rahugh, Tyrellspass and thankfully when we turned left at the roundabout outside Tyrellspass on to the new N52 we had a bit of a tailwind which helped us along the way. Myself and a few others turned left at Belvedere to head home and the rest kept to the by-pass all the way back to the ORS with a good 90km I would guess, in the bag. Although the sun didn't appear and the wind was strong in places, I think everyone would agree that we had a most enjoyable spin once again.
(By Kevin Monaghan)
Another cold but dry morning greeted those who gathered at ORS on Easter Sunday morning. While some of the assembled Wheelers were heading out on their own version of the Tour Of Flanders, the route plan suggested for the C group was to take them out to Tullamore via Rahugh.
And so it was. Despite giving the impression they were heading for Baltrasna bridge and the Royal canal, the fourteen-strong group headed out the N52 accompanied by a chilly south-easterly wind. A fairly brisk pace was set and it wasn’t long until everyone was warmed up. The lovely smooth tarmac surface on the new stretch of N52 helped everyone along and before long the group hit Tyrrellspass, turning left at the castle and a quick right for Tullamore via Rahugh. Plenty of banter to be heard among the peleton along the way – nothing like a laugh to help the miles melt away.
The Bridge Hotel was suggested as the coffee-stop. It was great to see the smiling welcoming faces from the staff as they quickly dished out the tea/coffee, scones and toast, all of which was equally welcomed by the riders and quickly dispatched. Great pit-stop and hopefully we’ll be back there shortly again.
Back on the road, there was a bit of a shock to see the flags blowing towards us as the group headed up the main street in Tullamore. Thankfully the wind veered round to the right as the road direction changed and while it wasn’t exactly in our favour, we made steady progress back to Mullingar.
Great to be able to dig into an Easter egg or two with a clear conscience, having burned up the calories on the roads of south Westmeath and Offaly. Well done everybody and Happy Easter.
(By Kevin Monaghan)
Following the excitement of Friday night and Saturday morning in the company of the living cycling legend Seán Kelly, it was back down to earth on Sunday morning (24th March) for the usual Sunday spins. Despite the biting easterly wind and snow showers, there was a good turnout in all groups at the ORS - the biggest problem being to find a bit of shelter before the groups rolled out. Various strategies were adopted, from hiding behind concrete pillars, behind fellow Wheelers and even a suggestion for group hugs! Unfortunately the call to action came before the latter could be implemented.
The dozen or so C Group troops opted to take on the easterly winds straight away and a route along the back roads to Mother Hubbards was the plan for the morning. As if the elements wern't enough, the by-now infamous Curraghmore road was included in the route plan - just to give things that spring classics feel.
Once the potholes and gravel were overcome it was on through The Downs to Killucan and Kinnegad. The group was reduced to eight by Kinnegad to to an unfortunate mechanical at Killucan - not a day to be forced off the bike when you're warmed up - as well as a few of the more sensible ones deciding to cut the spin slightly short and heading back from Kinnegad via Milltownpass.
The grit-like snow flurries sand-blasted the faces of the remainder of the group as the battled their way up the old N4 to Moyvalley. Every tactic in the book was used to minimise exposure to the headwind which was very strong and gusty, especially on exposed stretches. Finally everyone arrived in one piece at Mother Hubbards where the tea/coffee, toast and scones were welcome.
While still cold, the return trip was a much easier spin with a welcome tailwind blowing everyone home. The N4 was abandoned at Coralstown in favour of a route via Knockaville and Russellstown to avoid the single-lane traffic and bollards. Yours truly suffered a late visit from the puncture monster (it's not a fairy!) with about 6 miles to go - just to round off the day with a bit of extra hardship. Thanks to David for his help and company back to ORS. Well done to everyone for a good spin on a challenging day.
It’s amazing how the first hint of Spring brings the fair weather cyclists out of hibernation around this time every year. Now I must admit that I am not one bit ashamed to say I am one of those fair weather cyclists and like the hedgehog I stay wrapped up for the winter. However I do have great admiration for the Wheelers who face into the elements twelve months of the year even if there are occasions when I wonder if they are just brave or a little bit mad.
Having watched the weather closely all week I finally pumped the wheels, sprayed some chain oil on the bike and put on the winter gear. It would appear I was not the only one attracted out by the mild weather as an enormous crowd had gathered by 9am.
Cycling with the C group is all about leisure and comradeship and this week’s spin proved just that. After a short delay to repair a puncture before we left the ORS car park, the twenty riders divided in two groups and headed into the south east wind as we made our way to Milltownpass, Kinnegad and onto Mother Hubbard's in Moyvalley for some very welcome refreshments.
The spin home via Kinnegad, Coralstown and Gaybrook was a total pleasure with the wind on our back and the temperature rising. With forty three miles on the clock the legs did ache a bit but the feeling of well-being for the rest of the day was worth it all. It brought it home that the saying "no pain no gain" has some merit and I will have to build up over the coming weeks to catch up with many of the group. With the maiden spin for 2013 under my belt I look forward to exploring the Westmeath roads on nice warm days during the rest of the year although if memory serves me right we seem to get very few of those any more. Spring is now with us so it is time for all you C group riders get the wheels moving, see you all next week.
Some of The C Group at Mother Hubbards on Sunday
(By Shane Corcoran)
Back on the saddle, it has been a while and it would appear that my ass rejected the saddle, but it is a partnership, one can't go without the other. So once we got over the whole rejection piece it was off to Multyfarnham, via Ballynacargy. It was fresh, cool by times and even wet in places, and it will be the forecast going forward so get the woollies ready. As no C grouper that I am aware of took part in the climb, we headed home after the nice fare in weirs. A pleasant mornings spin, thanks to all who travelled.
On a personal note, as some may know I quit smoking over a year ago, and as some may be familiar with the sight of me hiding around corners at petrol stations sneaking a quick smoke. Anyhow, when I stopped I promised myself that I would get fit and challenge myself with something mad that 2 years ago would be way out of my ability.
I am looking for suggestions that will challenge me, allow me to get extremely fit and give me something to look back, and maybe help some charity. Any ideas send me a mail, all will be considered and we can blog it or something so we can get a bit of fun or humiliation.
(By Shane Corcoran)
Don't know why but today I didn't go for a group spin even though I was up so it wasn't being lazy staying in bed.
Anyway enough about me, I can't offer any insight as to where the group went today, but I can offer some information on the sprocket rockets field trip to Corkagh Park. What a day the kids had - a wonderful day and the competitive nature came out in everyone. My hat (if I had one) has to be tipped to Robbie and the gang for their work with the younger guys. When you stand back and look you can see how much the kids love the outings and friendships are being forged that will last life time.
Anyway, no bike in three weeks for me, but I do hope to back next week for sure. It showed yesterday when I was not able to keep up and was forced into some improvised cheating, which was not my sort of thing but as one Wheeler pointed out that sometimes you just have to...
Quote of the week, I'll be back ..... The terminator
(By Arthur Dempsey & Shane Corcoran)
On a dull but warm morning with the wind from the south /south west, it was decided to head for our usual tea break via Rochfortbridge, Rhode, and Daingean and on to Bridge house in Tullamore. When we reached Daingean some of the group headed for home as the wanted to get home early.
As we left Daingean the pace increased and when we arrived at the Bridge House in Tullamore we had just six cyclists as some joined the "B" group when they caught up with us after fixing a puncture.
Having been fed and watered we set out for home via Rahugh, Tyrellspass. However about two miles from Tyrellspass misfortune struck, one of our riders had a hard fall but lucky enough after a while was able to continue his cycle home to the ORS a bit bruised but ok.
Group C Notes Part Two - Another Solo Spin
I took advantage of the possibility that there may be no one out today due to the into the west challenge. There was a battle of wills and club duvet won. That reminds me I need to reply to the text that I got at 8.30 this morning. Anyway, after my lie on I felt guilty and at 3.00 headed out to meet the returning party from Galway.
It was not long before I meet the first cyclist and I decided to go on another bit. It was apparent that all was nearly home so I decided to keep going until I got a little call. It was the particular wheeler that I had beaten in the blow out last week. That particular wheeler had been helping a cyclist who had got into some trouble.
Anyway another blowout over a longer distance and I did not win even though I had a lie on and had not cycled 300km over 2 days .Well done to all who took part on the Galway spin.
(by Shane Corcoran)
Good to be back after a nice week in the sun, I missed by bike, it missed me to and today we got together and headed for ORS. There was a large number of C groupers looking for a route. It was decided to head toward Streamstown & Moate. The group was large so it was decided to split the group in two. Off we headed at what seemed like warp 7. The group settled and we were on our way.
We discussed jokes and this was offered in a cycling vein... new bikes and praying to the man above for a new one. I suggested that the man above does not work like that and it would be better to steal one and ask for forgiveness... Thanks for that unknown wheeler who shall not be named for legal reasons, got a good laugh out of that one James.
Back to the spin... we slowed considerably and the second group passed us. It was decided for safety reasons that it would be better if the group went a different route and Clara Tullamore was suggested and that’s the way we went. After a nice stop it was home via Rahugh & Rochfortbridge way nice spin all home safe. There was a bit of a blow out at the end which I think I won although some people may disagree as we are not about racing but more touring, anyway I did win I knowI did. Quote of the week......" I did win I know I did"
At long last a summer day for our Sunday spin, not a cloud in the sky and 18 degrees, as near perfect for cycling as you could ask for. The C group of sixteen headed for Moate via Streamstown to ensure we had a nice tail wind on the way home. Passing the GAA club house in Streamstown we observed a group of cyclists in the car park and it was only when we were gone by that it dawned on us that it was the new Steamstown Cycling Club meeting up. Following hot on the heels of the formation of a new club in Collinstown we are delight to see another neighbouring club being formed. We wish both clubs the best of luck and if Lakeside Wheelers can be of any assistance we would be delighted to help in any way we can.
After a leisurely coffee break and chat in Moate we made great progress along the old N6 to Rochfortbridge and back to base at the ORS car park. Its amazing the pleasure you can get from leisure cycling when there is good team work. This group showed how it should be done by looking out for each other and holding a nice pace which kept everyone together until the last few miles.
There was plenty of chat during the spin but with five miles to go a few went up the road, including Peter and David Corroon on the tandem and Matt Burke, and that soon put a stop to the chatting. Seasoned campaigners Ollie Bright, Michael O'Donovan and Arthur Dempsey led the chase and reeled the escape's in before we hit the Mullingar Bypass, the old dog for the hard road comes to mind.
A number of new comers joined us from the D group this week including Sinead and Killian and from what they showed on Sunday it wont be long before they move onto the B group.