Club Activity Gears Up for the Summer Months

posted 9 Apr 2018, 05:16 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 9 Apr 2018, 05:18 ]

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun. 9th April 2017)   
With the summer fast approaching it is time to turn attention to the three big events which the club runs each year. For the diary, the Lakeside Wheelers Criterium will be staged on Friday, 15th June and it is expected to be announced in the coming weeks that this race will be the National Criterium Championships. This is a great honour for the club and follows on from our hosting of this prestigious race on two occasions in recent years. 

The Crit race commences a busy weekend for the club as it is Annual Bike Week so, as usual we will hold our Tour of the Lakes sportive on Sunday 17th June. This will follow the same route as in 2017 and once again it is expected to draw a big number of cyclists to Mullingar.

Our final event is the Mullingar Grand Prix which will be staged on Sunday, 15th July on the Multyfarnham, Crookedwood, Castlepollard, Multyfarnham circuit. Cycling Ireland have once again nominated this race as a round of the National Series which is another great honour for the club and its ability to organise top class racing events.
Members are asked to take note of these dates as volunteers will be needed to ensure the all three Lakeside Wheelers promotions run smoothly.

Action from the 2017 Mullingar Grand Prix in Multyfarnham.
Action from the 2017 Mullingar Grand Prix in Multyfarnham.

Summertime Cycling:
Although the weather of late has not been very friendly to cyclists it is time to think of summer and our annual evening cycling schedule. As from next Wednesday, 11th April there will be an evening spin from the clubhouse at 6.30pm. For the first couple of weeks daylight hours will determine the duration of the spin but from then on it should be possible to get a good two hour ride in. This spin is designed to be a leisurely paced run to help members get a few more miles in to train for upcoming sportives or races and club kit is expected as on Sundays. 

Invacare Paracycling TT:
The club will host a round of the Invacare Paracycling TT on Saturday, 14th April so if any members are available to assist with this it would be appreciated. This competition is based out of the carpark of the Well music venue outside Moate  and usually runs off very quickly. If you are available can you please contact Henry Whitson on or any member of the committee on 

Eleanor Wins the Death Road Descent

posted 20 Mar 2018, 15:14 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 20 Mar 2018, 15:14 ]

(By Elanor Digby - Sun. 18th March 2018)   
In January of this year I set off to explore South America on a trip that took me from Peru to Brazil. As a fair weather cyclist I couldn’t wait to don my Lakeside Wheelers jersey after being absent from the wet Irish roads for over three months. Luckily for me my travel companion had no objections to a cycle tour and so, I signed both of us up for a trip down the infamous Death Road on two wheels.

The North Yungus road connecting the Bolivian capital La Paz to Coroico averaged an annual death toll of up to 300 people until 2006 when a new tarmac road was opened. Since then the predominant commuters down this thrilling descent of 2,000 metres through the Amazon Rainforest, waterfalls and clouds, along a three metre wide dirt track have been tourist cycle tours, locals living in the immediate area and a BBC Top Gear crew. 
This fair weather rider was in for a shock when the journey began at 4,800 metres above sea level, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. My Wheelers jersey was quickly forgotten and covered over by layers of ski gear offered by our guides.

Eleanor Digby descends the Death Road in South America.
Eleanor Digby descends the Death Road in South America.

Our group was split into experienced and inexperienced cyclists. Oh, how I wish I hadn’t been seen in ‘the gear’ as it resulted in me being pushed into a group of French, German and English lunatics who were hell bent on descending at break neck speed, oblivious to the 900 metre sheer drop immediately to our left. This descent was along a road with very few barriers but plenty of reminders of vehicles that had plunged into the valleys below us. Nonetheless, being the only female in the group and having worn the Wheelers jersey, I was determined to represent. I also thought it would be useful to have someone behind me to witness my fall if the worst were to happen and call for help! 

We travelled 64km on our bikes, 40km of which was along death road, until we arrived in Yolosa, a small village which was to be our pick up point.  By this time the temperature had risen by 20 degrees to my delight, the road ahead of us was uphill. Up until now I had been chasing these experienced mountain bikers without much chance of passing them out but all of a sudden they hit the hill like it was a brick wall. My climbing experience kicked in straight away and to their disgust I passed them all out in the final kilometer to arrive across the finish line first. Officially, the tour is not a race down the hill but I decided that it must be, because why else would anyone pedal frantically downhill for 40kms? 

Despite the odd scare on this famous road I really enjoyed the experience and would recommend this “spin” to anyone!!!

Group Leaders In Place for 2018

posted 26 Feb 2018, 14:18 by Kevin Monaghan

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun. 25th February 2018)   
The 2018 Group Leaders are now in place so all members are asked to assist them wherever possible. Leading groups is often a thankless job so please pay attention to any instructions or requests that these volunteers may have at the beginning or during weekly spins. Members are asked to adhere to plans such as routes and coffee-stop locations as suggested by the Leaders each week. Group etiquette in the event of punctures or accidents within the group is also extremely important so please liaise with the designated group leaders in these instances.

Can all members please try to wear club gear on the weekly spins and in these cold weather conditions at least wear upper body Lakeside Wheelers kit. Contact Joe Duffy (086-8181919) if you need any items of club clothing.

Group Cycle in Club Gear

Gabriel Howard RIP

posted 12 Feb 2018, 02:04 by Kevin Monaghan

(By Shay O'Toole - Sat. 10th February 2018)   
A wave of great sadness fell upon Irish cycling last Friday evening as the news of Gabriel Howard’s tragic passing spread throughout the cycling community. Gabriel, or Gaybo as he was affectionately known was a stalwart of Irish cycling and was known the length and breadth of Ireland by everybody involved in the sport. 

From Stamullen, Gaybo was a great friend of Lakeside Wheelers and was most commonly associated with our annual criterium where his commentary was as much a part of the evening as the race itself. Following his retirement from racing Gaybo performed several roles including team manager, mechanic, race organiser, adviser and he was a key worker on the Rás each year. 

His death will leave a huge void in the world of cycling not just at domestic level but also on the international scene. On behalf of everybody at Lakeside Wheelers Mullingar, deepest sympathies to his wife Kay, his children, his extended family and all his loyal friends.

RIP Gaybo, may you Rest in Peace.

Gaybo Howard Interviews Damien Shaw ahead of the Mullingar Crit in 2017
Gaybo Howard Interviews Damien Shaw ahead of the Mullingar Criterium in 2017

Weather Still Dictating Cycling For Wheelers

posted 29 Jan 2018, 11:58 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 29 Jan 2018, 12:02 ]

Bad Weather Cycling Clipart - image
The relentless stretch of windy and wet weather over the last few months is still proving to be a major obstacle for many members leaving the numbers on the Sunday spins very much depleted. 

A week ago the heavy rain resulted in the majority of Wheelers remaining in the “leaba” however, as usual, there were some who braved the conditions and went out for a few miles. Kudos to these lads and lassies who clearly needed head space or a release from the cabin fever normally associated with the Christmas period. 

Last Sunday wasn’t a whole lot better but at least the strong winds were not accompanied by the rain and mist that have dominated the last few weeks which resulted in a slightly larger group gathering at the clubhouse for the Sunday spin. Hopefully this trend continues over the coming weeks. 

However, as the saying goes, there is more than one way to skin a cat so a few Wheelers took an alternative option last Sunday and headed off-road in the Garden of Ireland for the weekly fix - see separate report.

Ballinstoe Bike Trail

posted 29 Jan 2018, 11:45 by Kevin Monaghan

For anyone looking for a different slant on cycling there is a fabulous option open to you just over an hour’s drive from Mullingar via the M50 and the N11. Ballinstoe Bike Park is situated a short drive south of Kilmacanogue and if you bring your own bike it is absolutely free. Last Sunday a few Wheelers headed east to this great amenity and enjoyed a thrilling day out crisscrossing the various trails on offer in this designated off-road area.

The spin was organised by Steve Franzoni who commenced proceedings by giving the group a quick brief on how best to negotiate the trails safely. Given that those in attendance were mostly novices at off-road cycling this was a great way to start and considering the terrain we had to traverse it was a good job everybody took a the advice on board. 

Whilst the trails in Ballinstoe are very doable they certainly do require full concentration if one is to get to the finish in one piece. From the start point there is a nice long drag to gain some elevation for the first descent and to get the legs pumping, Once the group rose up above the tree line everyone enjoyed a fast but free flowing drop through some forest along a nice bumpy and rocky trail ending at an amazing view out over the Guinness estate on the shores of Lough Tay. The wind here was so strong it took everybody’s strength to simply stand up straight and so, after a quick photo it was time to get cracking on the next segment of the hilly Wicklow landscape.

After a good two hours in the saddle it was time for some sustenance so tea, coffee, soup and sambos were the order of the day for everybody. This windy and slightly cold picnic brought an end to an great day out so thanks to everybody for the company and a special mention to Steve for organising the spin. If you are interested in off-road cycling have a look at the Outdoor Escape Facebook page for more details.

Wheelers enjoy a break at Ballinstoe Bike Park
Wheelers enjoy a break at Ballinstoe Bike Park

Beginner Cyclist Course

posted 15 Jan 2018, 15:07 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 15 Jan 2018, 15:09 ]

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun 14th January 2018)   
Learner WheelerLakeside Wheelers cycling club are starting an adult beginner cycling course next Saturday, 20th January. Anyone who has an interest in taking up cycling is welcome to attend. 

The six-week course will cover a wide range of topics such as road safety, cycling etiquette, cycling skills, fitness, bike maintenance, clothing and several other cycling related topics. The course will be geared to give people an introduction to cycling and hopefully aid them to gain the confidence and skills to enjoy cycling with other like minded people.

After a brief talk on cycling topics, we plan to bring cyclists out for an hour/hour and a half spin at an easy pace on the Old Rail Trail. Having completed the course new cyclists should be able to join in with the club’s D Group which cycles out from our clubhouse based at Columb Barracks at 9.00am every Saturday. This spin entails a leisurely ride of approx. 50kms a good chat and most importantly, a tea stop.

The course is free of charge to participants and will commence at 9.15 am next Saturday, Jan 20th. If you are interested in taking part simply come along to the Co. Council carpark adjacent to the entrance to the Old Rail Trail in the Mullingar Business Park. 

Please bring a serviceable bike (racer, hybrid or mountain bike will be grand), helmet and warm clothes. If anyone has any queries please contact Gerry Wallace at 087 2557733.

Winter Weather Disrupts Cycling Plans

posted 8 Jan 2018, 14:54 by Kevin Monaghan

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun 7th January 2018)   
Unfortunately the weather of late has been very wet, windy and/or frosty so the usual Sunday morning spins have been hampered. Once or twice some members made attempts to get out but on at least one occasion the group turned for home prematurely due to the cold and windy conditions. Hopefully there will be better days to come in the near future and the normal weekly spins will resume. 

Please be aware of weather and road conditions in these wintry months and remember, safety first for yourself and those who we share the roads with must be a priority at all times. 

Turkey Trot
On event that survived the winter weather was the annual Turkey Trot.  Temperatures on 27th December last were very low leading to an icy cold morning but Lakeside Wheelers members are a hardy crew and were not to be deterred by a little bit of frost.

The 27th is the day when the club hosts the annual Turkey Trot spin, a short but fun few hours out on the bikes to release energy after the festive dining and to escape the cabin fever associated with the Christmas period. As usual, the departure time was set for 10am however, due to the aforementioned weather conditions this was postponed until 11am to give the roads a chance to thaw out. Thankfully the salt gritting did its job and like clockwork 60 riders departed the Columb Barracks base en route to Tyrellspass Castle for refreshments.
With not one, but two semi-pro photographers in tow, the progress of the large group was well documented by club President Donie Kelliher and former Chairman, Joe Duffy. It was a fine sight to see such a big peloton in club colours making its way out along the N52 even though the fingers and toes of most riders were tingling with the cold.

On arrival at the historic castle restaurant everyone was treated to fine tea/coffee, festive mince pies and hot scones. Just what was needed to revive the soul on such a cold morning. After a very social hour during which everybody dhared their Santa stories the group remounted for the return journey. Weather permitting, most years some of the groups take a scenic route home but this year there was no chance with everybody electing to head back to base directly.

Many thanks to the staff at Tyrellspass Castle for the lovely seasonal fare served up and also to each member who turned out for this annual club favourite.

The large Lakeside Wheelers Peloton en route to Tyrrellspass on the 2017 edition of the Turkey Trot
The large Lakeside Wheelers Peloton en route to Tyrrellspass on the 2017 edition of the Turkey Trot.

Committee Reviews 2017 and Plans for 2018.

posted 17 Dec 2017, 14:32 by Kevin Monaghan

(By Shay O'Toole - 17th December 2017)   
The new committee held its first meeting last week and as is usual for this time of year, the agenda was dominated by annual round-ups and planning for events in 2018.

Events Officer Jerry Waugh informed the meeting that the provisional date for our Tour of the Lakes sportive is June 17th with the GP pencilled in for July 15th. As yet there is no decision on the Criterium for next year but the club will be hosting the Leinster Youths Time Trial championships on May 19th. This year the committee received a request from Cycling Ireland to host the GP as a round of the National Road Race Series. This proved to be a very successful day of racing so it is hoped that our GP in 2018 will once again be part of this prestigious race series.
It is now customary for the club to host a round of the Paracyling Invacare TT league and it is scheduled for April 14th in 2018. Rosemount’s Declan Slevin is the main driver of paracycling in the midlands and he will liaise with our own Joe Duffy to stage this race.

After the success of the Hill Climb TT in recent weeks there is now a strong rumour that there will be a summer TT league next year so keep an eye on club notes and emails for more information.

Thank You:
As this will be the last notes for 2017 I would like to take this opportunity to thank all members who sent in reports or contributed in any way to the PRO department over the last 12 months. Great credit and thanks are also due to Kevin Monaghan who works away tirelessly in the background every year keeping our website updated.

Finally, a very Happy Christmas to all members of Lakeside Wheelers and their families and best wishes for 2018.

Footnote (not by Shay!)
A big thank you also to Shay for his PRO work throughout the year and for taking up the torch once again for 2018 - it's a job that Shay is a natural at - please give him a dig out in 2018 with lots of contributions - word and pictures - from across the many facets of the club.

2018 Clubperson of the Year, Eamon Hogan celebrating with Jack Nugent, Carmel Buckley and Mary Taffe at the Lakeside Wheelers Xmas party
2018 Clubperson of the Year, Eamon Hogan celebrating with Jack Nugent, Carmel Buckley and Mary Taffe at the Lakeside Wheelers Xmas party.

Christmas Party & Awards Night

posted 11 Dec 2017, 07:00 by Kevin Monaghan

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun. 10th December 2017)   
Lakeside Wheelers Christmas party and annual awards night was held last Friday night in the Greville Arms Hotel. As usual it was a well supported occasion and with cycling in somewhat of an off-season everybody in seasonal mood and ready to enjoy the celebrations.

The annual awards are a big part of the club social calendar as is the choosing of club President for the coming year. Those lucky enough to be selected for awards were Nuala Nolan (Best Newcomer), Patrick Little (Most Improved Rider) and Eamon Hogan (Club Person of the Year). Congratulations to you all and best wishes for 2018.

Eamon Hogan receives his Club Person of the Year award from President, Donie Kelleher
Eamon Hogan receives his Club Person of the Year award from President, Donie Kelleher

Eamon was a very worthy and popular selection for the most coveted award of the club. He has been at the forefront of practically every event the club has hosted over the last few years and is always available to help out. More recently he has been associated with the junior section of the club with involvement in Sprocket Rocket and the Youths Racing team. Well done Eamon and very well deserved.

Prizes were also awarded to those who performed well at the recently held Hill TT organised by Mark Monaghan. This event had faded into the background over the last few years so thanks to Mark and his team for reviving it. The winner was Aaron Wade, in second place was Andy Richmond, followed in third place by Brendan Kiernan.
Finally it was time to announce the name of our Club President for 2018. No change for the moment with Donie Kelleher agreeing to serve another term so well Donie and best of luck for the coming year.

Once again, thanks to all members who attended and congratulations to recipients of those much sought after awards.

All the Presidents Ladies. Donie Kelleher with Mary Taffe, Carmel Buckley, Claire Malone, Cathy Horohoe, Liz Hoctor, Cathy O'Toole and Louise McCarra.
All the Presidents Ladies. Donie Kelleher with Mary Taffe, Carmel Buckley, Claire Malone, Cathy Horohoe, Liz Hoctor, Cathy O'Toole and Louise McCarra.

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