Downgraded

These captains did not get where they are today by being eejits. They’ve climbed the ladder of respect, and they pull fellow cyclists up, step by step.

How do we judge a “good” cycling club? There are many ways of doing just that, and many answers to the question. It depends on what “good” cycling means, and that’s so different for everyone.

One important aspect of good cycling is that there needs to be a structure in place, providing enjoyable activity for as wide as possible a cross-section of club members. In this regard, Dungarvan Cycling Club is tops.

Currently, there are five well-supported group spins every Sunday morning, as follows:

  • Group 1: racing members. Pace is anywhere from 32k upwards
  • Group 2: pace 30-32k
  • group 3: pace 27-28k
  • Group 23: pace is 23k (that’s why it’s called G23)
  • Group 5: pace approx 19-20k

Isn’t that very clever? What’s also clever is that anyone may hop up or down a group, depending on these factors:

  • current fitness level
  • targeting a big goal ahead
  • wine the previous evening
  • coughs, colds, splutters or gammy knee problems
  • not enough on a given day to form a viable group
  • mixing concrete (anyone in the construction sector can substitute some gardening for this)
  • wanting to cycle with your bike-loving partner, or maybe wanting to not cycle with your bike-loving partner
  • add your own reasons here. All Facebook comments accompanying this post will be edited in, provided they conform to Burkes Biking Profanity Policy.

To this list, I want to add one further item. I rarely upgrade (definitely no wine previous 48 hours) but like to downgrade, simply to cycle with different people. In addition to my comment about the great structure within our club, most will agree that all our cyclists are just nice people, out to enjoy the bike and all that brings with it.

Enjoying the refreshments outside Mace Lismore. They know all about biker-bench-syndrome.

Last Sunday I downgraded myself. I joined Group 23 for a great 66k spin around West Waterford, with coffee and one sausage roll to assist with the headwind home.  The official DCC group captain’s log states:

11 cyclists took to the road for Sunday mornings Group23K/4 spin. They headed up the N72 on a breezy chilly morning turning left at the Welcome Inn and headed for Kereen were they turned right and headed to Villierstown and onto Lismore via Dromana and Cappoquin. They stopped for coffee at Lismore.  After re-energising themselves they headed out of Lismore town in the direction of Deerpark and then onto Cappoquin were they headed home against a strong breeze. The group captain would like to commend all 10 cyclists that made the spin an enjoyable and safe one and especially made his job as captain an easy one. The distance was 64km at an average speed of 22.6kph. (Tony M)

To be sure, I’ll be joining them again. They all enjoy their cycling, and “have the craic” along the way.

In Mallorca, its not cricket to leave your helmet on the table. Best just keep it on your head?

 

I sometimes use a nifty add-on to my cycling technology called RELIVE. It gives a birds eye view of the route, collected by the DCC drone in the sky. If you zoom in very closely, you will see the helmets on the table!

capture-dcc-g23
Click to run the video / amimation

While G23 headed west, my Group 3 went t’other way, and despite my absence, the rolling reporter reported back to me, just to let me know what I was missing.

On a very blustery but bright Sunday morning Group 3 were off on a field trip to the botanical gardens of Mount Congreve (well the general area anyway) on what one rider described as a very circuitous route!! What the group didn’t anticipate was in order to smell the roses there were a lot of nasty climbs to overcome. Climbing from the outset it was up the N25 to Lemybrien, over to Mahon Bridge and off across the peaks and troughs of Fews, Kilmac, up the five cross roads and up the “Mountcongreve Hill sprint” all 8% of it. A quick pit stop at the garden gates which happened to be closed so no botany lessons followed. Back in the saddle it was onwards and more ups to Kill, Bunmahon and the coast road home. An unexpectedly tough spin not at all helped by the relentless head wind for most of the spin but most enjoyable just the same. Kudos to our captain who never fails to turn up interesting and untraveled roads. 14 in the group, 900m climbing and 95k at 26.5kph. (Carol B)

Reading back through some of the recent Sunday Spin reports, it’s very clear to me that several important things are being done correctly in order to ensure that things run smoothly. First and foremost is that each group has a leader on the road. These captains did not get where they are today by being eejits. They’ve climbed the ladder of respect, and they pull fellow cyclists up, step by step. Equally, each group has a card-carrying journalist in their midst, watching and listening for worthwhile gaffes along the way! If you prefer not be mentioned in these insightful summaries, please cycle at the back at all times, and keep your mouth firmly dúnta.

Finally, unrelated to cycling, this gave me a great laugh during the week. What to you call a sheep with no legs? Answer: A cloud!

Do feel free to follow the blog on Twitter and/or Instagram @burkesbiking. I hear that the Twitters are losing money, and are letting lots of employees go. However, @burkesbiking goes on.

Better still, might you like to LIKE the Burkes Biking Blog on Facebook to receive updated posts? In the words of Mrs. Doyle: Go on, go on, go on.

All LIKERS will be entered for a grand draw. First prize is a week in Aglish. Second, is two weeks in Aglish.

And now finally, finally, anyone wishing to join us please be aware that biking is really good fun. You’ve got to be up for it. Take a peek at the upcoming Hallowe’en spins, courtesy of the DCC website & FB page:

“Plenty of chills and thrills on offer from DCC this Halloween weekend. Join us on our spooky spins…

  • Sat Club Spin: Ride with the ‘Friends of Frankenstein’ departing Kilrush at 9am. Lismore , Knockanore, Youghal Bridge, Geosh , Mountstuart, Kielys X, Old Parish. A spin for all!. 90 km avg 26 /28.
  • Sunday Club Spins Civic Office Plaza 9.00am
  • G2: ‘Bats out of Hell’ are flying to Colligan, Halfway House, Mill street, Cappoquin, Villierstown, Clashmore, Ardmore, Old Parish 95k
  • G3: ‘A haunting we will go’ taking in Durrow, Lemybrien, Crehana, Curraghmore, Carrolls cross, Kill, Ballylaneen, Kilmac, Griffins garage, 5 crossroads, Home. 90k
  • G23/4: ‘The Boo Crew’ will spin to Durrow, 5 Cross Road, Seafield, Kilmac, Mahon Bridge, Leamybrien, Knockeylan, Durrow, Home. 68k
  • G5: ‘Trick or Treat’ with group 5 to the Welcome Inn, Villierstown, Cappoquin, Lismore (coffee), Cappoquin home main road 50km. New people Welcome Inn, Kilmolash, Capppoquin, Lismore. Spin is at a very steady pace nobody left behind. All welcome.
  • Best wishes to club members taking part in Nire Valley Drop and Dublin City Marathon. Have a terror-ific weekend folks.”

Until next week, safe cycling out there.

Páraig

4 Things You Need To Know About The Wind

No matter how quickly you cycle into a headwind, you’ll never slow it down.

After a week in Pollenca, with temperatures reaching 25, it was back to bread-and-butter today. The DCC Group 3 met despite very strong winds, and forced their way to Lismore. 
It was here that the split occurred. After coffee and a chat, the ladies outnumbered the men four to three on the back roads to Deerpark and Kilmolash, while the remainder of the group inched their way to Inch in County Cork. 

The official group report was as follows:

14 riders rummaged through presses and boxes and pulled out the winter gear for Sunday’s group 3 spin. The group set off for Lismore in windy but dry conditions and at this point half of the group glad to be still dry turned for home. On to Knockanore and The Pike for the remainder where they were treated to blue skies and even some sunshine. Next it was on to Inch which was a first for the group to pay a visit to this area and then back to more familiar roads in Youghal. From here on the group cruised home with a strong tailwind covering 90k at just under 27kmh average. (Anthony D) 

DCC Girl Power

My rummaging through drawers and presses also included suitcases.  There was a long list of tasks needing attention before the spin:

  • Find overshoes
  • Get winter jacket from the winter bag. Now where did I store that bag last Easter? 
  • Get winter gloves from same bag
  • Double check the weather app, in case my eyes were deceiving me
  • Check a second app just in case the weather might be better there
  • Put pedals on bike. Note for next time we go to Mallorca: don’t pack the pedals at the bottom of the suitcase!

Boxes ticked, but I forgot to bring water and money. Just as well I’ve got good friends who remember all these important little things. 

We met a dog today. He was delighted to see us, and likely very annoyed that we shouted. Maybe the windy conditions had him thinking we’d be a soft target. Reminds me of the “Problem Dog” joke…

“I’ve really had it with my dog,” said the first guy to his neighbour. He’ll chase anyone on a bicycle.”

“Hmmm, that is a problem,” said the neighbour. “What are you thinking of doing about it?”

“Guess the only answer is to confiscate his bike!”

The weather today looked bad. But, the rain cleared after 8.30 and even though the wind took a bit longer, it eventually abated. For anyone who chose to stay home,  I was reminded of Sean Kelly’s famous quote… 

Kelly “I check the weather, I put on my gear, I go out and do my spin, then when I’m back do I decide if it was too wet or not”

‘You seem to like these conditions Sean?’ ‘I neither like or hate them, it’s just everyone else hates them. 

There are lots of things cyclists need to know about strong blustery winds, but here are just four:

  1. The prevailing wind in Ireland is south westerly. 
  2. Therefore, for us here in Dungarvan, it comes from Youghal.
  3. Some days the wind completes that distance in about 30 minutes.  
  4. No matter how quickly you cycle into a headwind, you’ll never slow it down. 

While all this was happening, Slovakia’s Peter Sagan won the men’s World Championships for the second year running, while Amalie Dideriksen (Denmark) took the women’s title. There was a very strong wind also in Doha. It seems even world champions have to cycle in tough conditions! 

Safe cycling out there, 

Páraig 

    Links:Strava and Relive

    Guilty As Charged

    Anyone thinking of joining the famous Group 3? Or perhaps, simply wanting to lurk by knowing what going on, without joining? Read on…

    The weather Gods were certainly in top form on Sunday and blessed us with beautiful autumn sunshine. Another day for summer attire as 13 turned out in Group 3 to take advantage of such a beautiful morning. The climb up Colligan in near perfect cycling conditions helped to wake up the legs and it was onwards to Clonmel. No shopping on this occasion as the town was bypassed in favour of Kiksheelan. A different day in the premier county as a cold fog engulfed us. Crossing back across the border and back to sunnier climes. A long drag up Kearneys road followed by a swift descent to Rathgormack. A right turn in Carrick and the pace increased significantly (lady rider guilty as charged) to give a speedy spin back to base. Good craic throughout as all were in top form, poor Declan on receiving end of some of that banter! 13 in group covering  95 kilometres at  27.8kph (Carol B) 

    • No photo today
    • No Páraig today
    • No shopping
    • No holding back.

    What’s the world coming to?

    Safe cycling out there,

    Páraig

    History Happens: Pain Brings Glory For Colin Lynch And Ireland

    Back in June when Marion and I cycled the Tour de Burren, we noticed a large number of the Paracycling Ireland team participating. Colin mentioned to me that about that time he spent seven weeks in Mallorca getting used to riding in hot weather in preparation for Rio, and look how that worked out for him!

    I tweeted my congratulations to world champion Colin Lynch during the week, and later he very kindly answered some email queries for me.

    The general public do not really know much about Colin Lynch, and many within the Irish cycling community may not be up to speed either. So, while I tackle some of the majestic roads of Mallorca (and write it up later, of course), it is fitting that I acknowledge Colin’s exploits. Colin represented Ireland very successfully at the recent Rio Paralympic Games, taking home a silver medal and followed this up by taking the Hour Record last week. He will go down in history as the very first UCI officially-recognised winner.
    While my cycling is at a predominantly leisure and endurance level, I am mindful of super-achievers too.

    Historic victory for Colin Lynch, former graphic designer, now full-time paracyclist with Irish National Team

    The details here are predominantly copied from Sticky Bottle:
    A silver medal winner at the Paralympic Games in Rio, Colin Lynch has added another special piece of history to his palmares in breaking the hour record. His 43.133km marker is the first paracycling hour record ever officially recognised by the UCI.

    But the former world champion also bettered by 2km the unofficial record set by France’s Laurent Thirionet in 1999 in the C2 category.

    He has also collected a range of other top achievements since making his international debut including taking the road TT title in Denmark in 2011 and the individual pursuit at the track Worlds in LA four years ago. He went into the London Paralympics on the back of those results and was bitterly disappointed to be pipped for a medal in the bronze medal ride-off by a mere 1/10th of a second.

    However, having run a successful crowd funding campaign for a new carbon fibre lower leg, (Colin broke a leg at the age of 16 playing rugby, and an amputation was necessary)  he has now secured a Paralympic silver and now the hour record, which he took on the Manchester velodrome. (October 1st)

    “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he said after what looked like a savage effort. When I contacted him with some queries, I was not surprised to learn that his mantra is “pain today means glory tomorrow.”  The glory arrived after an hour of pain, achieved after months and years of hard graft.

    It was near-perfect for the first 40 minutes but the last 20 minutes is where it really starts to hurt. With about five minutes to go I knew I was going to beat the record and was hanging on to make sure I set a strong new mark.

    In a nod to other aspiring paracyclists Colin says:

     I hope the record will stand for a while now, but also hope this will start other paracycling riders in all categories to test the record books.

    UCI president Brian Cookson extended his congratulations, saying Lynch’s achievement would “stand in history as the first ever paracycling UCI hour record”.

    Here it is from the man himself:

    Back in June when Marion and I cycled the Tour de Burren, we noticed a large number of the Paracycling Ireland team participating. Colin mentioned to me that about that time he spent seven weeks in Mallorca getting used to riding in hot weather in preparation for Rio, and look how that worked out for him!

    Silver medal ride in Rio 2016

    Many athletes are driven to overcome major obstacles. Even at local level, I am aware of some cyclists who enjoy their sport (not only cycling, of course) despite some physical difficulties. Recently, on the Waterford Greenway, I have seen some who are able to continue cycling using adapted bikes. The human spirit is strong enough to continue despite these difficulties.

    I’ll finish with a recent video take from YouTube which I think is awesome:

    And a final thought for the week:

    ..a disability is something within you. A prejudice is something within (others). Don’t look at yourself through their eyes. Look at yourself through your own eyes.”

    Richard N. Bolles, What Color Is Your Parachute? 2012: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

    Safe cycling out there,

    Páraig

    Group 3: Into The East

    Today’s group spin headed towards the eastern part of County Waterford. That’s pretty unusual, but cyclists will understand why. Generally, as Ireland has a prevailing south-westerly wind, we like to return to Dungarvan from that direction to ensure we have the wind behind us just when the bodies are beginning to get tired. Cyclists prefer to have the headwind for the first half of the spin rather than the other way round. Fussyboots!

    So, off they set into the east. Also unusual today was that I stayed home, had a big Irish fry-up breakfast, and afterwards spent some time gazing out the back window in  “I-wonder-where-are-they-just-now” mode. I finished most of the housework but was unable to complete the hoovering, due to balance issues.

    However, the trusted official report arrived promptly by early afternoon:

    Apart from the slight chill in the early morning air one could be forgiven for thinking it was high Summer with clear blue skies and bare legs still being flaunted in summer shorts. The climb up the Pike hill settled the group early on, a left turn at Leamybrien and off across the lumpy Carrick road. It had been decided to tackle  the Scrouty hill in reverse and it was certainly the lesser of two evils. Ably dealt with, a nice cruise through the leafy byroads of Portlaw followed. In near Mediterranean type conditions it almost seemed surreal to see a sign for the ‘Santa Express’. No sleigh needed  for G3 as we sped towards Kilmeaden and onto Kilmac via the N25, across to Ballylaneen and a return to base by the coast road. An extremely steady pace throughout with plenty of chat and banter. 13 in group, 95k at 27.2kph. (Carol B.)

    No photo available, but by all accounts it was “Another Super Sunday”.

    Prior to this spin, Dungarvan Cycling Club presented the proceeds of the Recent Charity cycle to Nadine’s Cancer Battle. The club held a fund-raising spin two weeks ago.

    Image: DC Images
    Image: DC Images

    Did you know? Cycling: Rule 48

    I googled “Scrouty” and got lots of videos, strava profiles and other stuff, but the one that caught my eye was Dungarvan CC notes from July 2013.

    “As the heatwave continues there was plenty of club members making the best of the sunshine and getting out on their bikes. This is why we put up with the rain and cold and misery and layers of clothing in the winter – for days like these. It was good to see plenty of people obeying the Euro rules as well, especially this one. 48: When climbing anything with a gradient above twenty (20) percent OR lasting greater than four (4) kilometers, the Euro Cyclist shall fully unzip his jersey and let it flutter freely in the wind. Make sure you have plenty of water with you in this weather though and/or money for drinks/99s.”

    Safe cycling out there,

    Páraig