I read somewhere to never underestimate the social aspect of cycling. Whilst this may be true for club or team sports does it also hold true for all cyclists? Cycling is often viewed as an individual and perhaps a selfish sport taking to the roads on hours and often alone whether for race training of simply self-improvement. Without doubt there is solace and reward in lone cycling but at what expense? I have experienced an improvement in my cycling prowess of late but I’m at a loss to the secret of my (personal) success. A tightened headset, fixed cones or even my new socks perhaps. None of the above so I turn to the other great adjustment of late which unconsciously has been an increase in club riding – more importantly, reallocating the balance of time on the bike from lone riding to increased group (and club) riding.
The benefits are not the increased speeds or mileage, but simply the opportunity to interact with those likeminded and the desire by everyone for everyone to succeed. Of course, there will be the playful sprint for the signpost, the breakaway on the climb, but when the group comes back together, there is always chat or a laugh depending on how your day is going.
Take Sunday for example, 21 riders with two differing abilities or personal objectives set out on the club spins from Nenagh at 9am, cycle together for 20km before taking on 2 differing routes reflecting the ability or in many cases, their preferences. The leisure group head for a very enjoyable return journey to University Limerick via Clonlara with a well deserved coffee stop on route. The senior group (pictured) take on a ‘lumpy’ 130km route west of the Shannon and deep into the banner County, climbing up beyond Scarriff before heading onto Sixmilebridge and returning via O’Briensbridge and Birdhill. A seasoned group with 2 welcomed newcomers with at a guess, 30 years in age between them. No doubt, just like the rest of us, they are seeking different things from the bike but happy simply to get out and to share the experience. But in between the chit-chat and the banter, the hard effort is done. The calories are still burnt, fast and slow twitching nerves are… twitching, but, perhaps in a more enjoyable social way that can contribute to both fitness and general well being.
Elsewhere on Sunday David Kyle traveled to Naas to take part in the 6 lap A3 class of the Paddy Flanagan Memorial GP hosted by Kildare Farm Foods on a flat 14km course. The very fast course made for a very fast race and with many of the top juniors in attendance the 85km were dispatched in under 2 hours at an average speed of 42.8km/h. This was David’s first race since crashing 5 weeks ago that kept him off the bike for 2 weeks. Having rebuilt fitness for the last 3 weeks, David’s main aim was both to test the legs and, more importantly, to cast off the mental doubts about racing since the crash.
David reports that as always in flat races, “my game-plan was to be active throughout the race and use all my matches to avoid a bunch sprint finish. I started the race in a relatively poor position in the middle of the bunch and the roads were tight on the first two thirds of the lap making it difficult to move up. The straighter back leg of the lap made it possible to move up to the front but, as expected, a mostly junior break of 9 riders was already up the road at that point. They were still in sight, however, so over the next 2 laps I made several attempts off the front to go across to them, hoping to draw another rider or 2 with me, but each time nobody came with me and I was taken back by the bunch. By lap 4 the bunch was starting to work better together and with the break looking like it was coming back, I did my fair share to drive the pace for the next 2 laps and nearing the end of lap 5 it was clear the race coming back together. I knew the race-winning move would probably go away as soon as this happened, so I made the effort to get back to the front again on the back straight, hoping to go with it. I was a little bit late getting there as 2 riders had already attacked and were about 20 seconds ahead, but I felt I had one final match left to burn to avoid the bunch finish, so I went for it and gave it everything to get across to them. I was gaining on them initially and got half way across to them, but then they started to work together and with 2 against 1 they started to pull away and then the bunch starting rolling a took me back. It was a pity nobody came with me to get across because those 2 stayed away for the last lap to contest the win. With no interest in contesting a risky bunch finish for the remaining places I sat in and focused on getting home safely in the bunch. I finished very satisfied with how I went and glad to have got the head back into racing”. Well done David who showing a strong return to competition.
Meanwhile, last Thursday nights Club Road Race (No.7) from Ballinamona Cross to Bolingbroke via Dolla (hill) was won by our very own flying Dutchman Nano Vyuk coming across the line ahead of Joseph Donnelly (jr) and Eva Moynan. Well done to Nano on his first club win displaying his fine form this season to date and to fantastic performances of our two youngest riders (Joseph and Eva) taking second and third.
Next weeks Club Training rides (15th-21st June) are as follows:
Tuesday: Club training spin leaving from Moynans at 6.30pm. Avg speed on the evening between 28/30kph.
Wednesday: Club intermediate spin leaving from Moynans at 7pm. Avg speed between 25/27kph.
Thursday: We have Road Race No.8 in the series. This weeks route is starting on the Cloughjordan road-Cloughjordan-Borrisokane-Ardcroney a distance of 30km. You can sign on at 6.15pm at Moynans bike shop or at the start line. Group departs to the start at 6.30pm and race starts at approx 7pm. Entry is €5
Sign on is at Moynans bike shop at 6.15pm. Group departs to the start at 6.30pm. Race starts at approx 7pm, entry €5.
Sunday: Club spins on Sunday cater for all abilities leaving from Moynans at 9am. For the racing group the route will be Nenagh – Borrisokane – Ballingarry – Birr – Roscrea – Moneygall – Army Hill – Toomevara – Nenagh (93km), and the leisure/Intermediate route will be Nenagh – Borrisokane – Ballingarry – Riverstown – The Pike – Cloughjordan – Nenagh (72km).
Link to racers Strava route and here for the Leisure/Intermediate route
For further information on any club events or if interested in joining the club, please contact Pat Bergin 087 6744400