THE AMAZING ALKMAAR 2016

December 2016.

Guest post by Elia Tutty (Dungarvan Cycling Club)

A JUNIOR CYCLIST’S PERSPECTIVE FROM GOING ON THE TRACK

We made it!

It was an early start on Friday the 18th of November, for me excited was an understatement that day. If you didn’t know, Aoibhe Power and I both from Dungarvan Cycling Club (DCC) went to Alkmaar, Holland for a training camp with Women’s Commission of Cycling Ireland in a velodrome. The days leading up to the trip were the most exciting yet nervous ones for me. I would be meeting girls from all over Ireland, the organisers of the trip and travelling with them to Holland by myself and let me tell you, what an amazing adventure it was!

Day 1:  Friday, 18th November

It began in Dublin airport where all I could see were people rushing and racing frantically to catch their flights. We met up with the organisers and all of the girls and within 5 minutes of being with them in the queue to check-in, I knew this would be a great weekend! I would get to experience track cycling and a new country – Holland!

My first view of The Netherlands was from the air, where I spotted a massive wind-farm in the sea. I had learned in geography that the Dutch use their waterways for everything and they sure do!

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Windmills, windmills everywhere

My second impression was in Schipol airport, where I managed to buy a refreshing smoothie and a brown roll for €1.80!! While I thought this was great, it still didn’t stop the group from trying to find the nearest ‘Burger King’ of which there are many, just like at home! The bus drive from the airport to the hotel was a pretty weird sensation. Firstly, I couldn’t get over how flat the land was, and secondly how many wind-farms we passed, I lost count there were so many! Once we had arrived in the local town Alkmaar, I began to notice all the bicycles, literally, bikes, bikes and more bikes! It’s incredible how it’s the ‘norm’ over there.

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Bikes, bikes and more bikes!

After checking in to our hotel we hopped on the local bus to the velodrome for a training session with the great Herman. I was about to experience my first ever time on this sort of (what I thought) Death Wall! I looked up at the curved walls that were towering over me and thought to myself how will I ever get up on that? I was so nervous on the track bike too, (no gears, no brakes!) I’ll never forget it! Lots of the girls on the trip had been on a track before, so some even considered themselves track cyclists. For some others and I, Herman warned us of the basic rules us ‘roadies’ would have to follow whilst cycling on the track. At this point I still couldn’t get the thought of falling off the bike out of my head! I soon learned from the others that had been on previous trips, that Herman never took ‘no’ as an answer. Even when I told him I was nervous, especially going up on the high wall he never took ‘no’ for an answer. I soon got over my fear. Before I knew it I was flying around the track! I was comfortable on the bike now; I just had to keep peddling!

 Day 2: Saturday, 18th November

The 7am breakfast in our hotel was very healthy, not quite your average Irish fry-up! We got the bus straight to the velodrome, for another incredible training session.

crossing
Colours of the rainbow

That afternoon we were all lucky enough to go back to the velodrome to see the Holland Nationals. I thought all the racers were semi-professionals until I realised that these were the juniors (U18’s) and I thought to myself how fast they were! It was unbelievable. Having been at the velodrome twice that day, by the evening, all of us were absolutely wrecked!

Day 3: Sunday, 19th November

Before we knew it, it was our last day. It was sad having to leave Alkmaar, but on the other hand, I couldn’t wait to see and tell my family about the amazing experience I had. We left the hotel and headed for another very early track session. This day was my favourite as we did lots of different races including team pursuits and individual ‘flying 200’s. At this stage of the weekend, I was really comfortable on the bike and wasn’t a bit nervous!

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Concentration

I found Sunday great for learning more about racing on the track because as you can imagine, it’s extremely technical! Once the training and racing came to an end it was time for the presentation and prizes on the podium. Aoibhe was delighted when she got a prize for winning the Omnium which was a fantastic achievement for her.

As a relative newbie, I was super excited to receive a jersey for the most improved rider of the weekend camp, who would have thought? All in all not a bad outing for the juvenile DCC girls! As well as having a great time cycling I made lifelong friends who share the same interest as myself and I hope to meet up with them soon for the 2017 race season.

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Who would have thought?

I would especially like to thank the Women’s Commission of Cycling Ireland, and especially Orla Hendron and her team who organised the weekend for us and of course Herman our coach.

I really hope that the Government will build a velodrome in Ireland in the near future so that all riders can experience what I experienced! I couldn’t believe how fast the weekend had gone! It was definitely one of the best weekends EVER!  It has been almost three weeks now though and I am still craving track!

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An amazing experience

Elia Tutty (right) is a junior cyclist with Dungarvan Cycling Club, Barracuda’s Swim Club in Dungarvan and West Waterford Athletics Club. Elia participates in a wide range of events locally and nationally. 

Aoibhe Power (left) is a junior cyclist with Dungarvan Cycling Club and similarly, participates in local and national events.

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This Will Blow Your Mind: Mudguards and Etch-A-Sketch

Even at professional level, it is very obvious that some are climbers and others are not, so don’t get your chamois in a twist. Just get over it. Literally.

November 27, 2016

Picture it in your mind. A Dub carrying a Kerry jersey for nearly 50km. There is no lovelier sight anywhere in the sporting world. It may come close to Jose Mourinho (or Gearóid) wearing an Arsenal tie, or Enda Kenny wearing an Easter lily. But it gets much better. It gets better because the context is a Sunday morning club spin with Dungarvan Cycling Club.

There was a white-Christmasy feel last Sunday, even though it was still November. Our recently reformed Group 4 headed towards Ballinroad in freezing temperatures, only to discover that the sunny south-east reappeared, together with mild air and ice-less roads once they crossed the river Deelish at Barnawee Bridge.

The spin proceeded as planned, as this fine group of 11 settled in to concentrate on the mountain of advice they had been bombarded with. The men among them were focused on their chosen item of advice, each having chosen a different item. As a result, there was very little chat. Keith was super busy taking his new winter bike on a virgin ride. A bit squeaky in places, we thought, but an entirely beautiful machine. The ladies, being multi-tasking cyclists, nattered on and successfully implemented the entire range of instructions received over the previous two weeks, including (but not limited to) …

  • cycling directly behind the wheel
  • cycling behind the wheel at a safe distance
  • refusing to engage in half-wheeling
  • chatting about cycling
  • refusing to engage in crossing wheels
  • practising cycling closer to the cyclist beside
  • using the small ring most of the time
  • more  chatting about Peter from iBike in Killarney
  • passing safety calls up and down the group

Meanwhile, the menfolk stayed single-minded. This brings me neatly to the bike tip for this week.

Bike Tip This Week

Thus far our group have focused on the items above and these ones also:

  • Being very predictable within the group
  • Not moving from inside line to outside
  • Not SHOUTING, except in an emergency

Now, it’s time to mention the dreaded word “hills”. Akin to life, there will be ups and downs. Overcoming hills brings. personal satisfaction, perspiration and exasperation because lots of extra effort goes into getting up them. We can offer some advice here. Hills are meant to by cycled on an individual basis. Do not try to scale a hill by comparing yourself to others in the group. Why? Quite simply because some of us are strong on the flat, others on hills, some like short spins others like long (very long) spins. It’s got something to do with the spice of life. We are all different. You cycle a hill against yourself. If you get it into your head that you are not good at hills, you disempower yourself. Ask yourself three questions:

  1. Who am I trying to be better than?
  2. Will anyone think less of me if I am not first to the top?
  3. Will others in the group still share coffee with me long after the hill is over?

Here is a nice way of looking at hills. Everyone in Group 4 will be slower on hills than Group 3 (well, nearly everyone). The strongest in Group 3 will struggle on a hill with the best of Group 2. The strongest in Group 1 will meet his match going one step up the ladder. Even at professional level, it is very obvious that some are climbers and others are not, so don’t get your chamois in a twist. Just get over it. Literally. Feel the burn and keep the mind speaking gently. “This is my best, today.”

Kerry, Dublin and The Nire Phenomenon
All smiling back at Group 5

As Group 4 approached Griffin’s Garage the ladies requested a disrobing break. There were no objections to this. A DCC jersey was doffed and packed into a back pocket, followed by Karen’s Kerry kit (just the jersey, alas). Dubliner Declan zoomed into gentlemanly mode by offering to carry the jersey on his super-duper back carrier. This must have been a very difficult dilemma, gracefully offered.

What happened next will blow your mind! (I got that line from FB posts about stupid stuff, in an attempt to get an uninterested user to watch crappy videos). As we all know, Waterford senior football champions, The Nire, were due to play a Munster final against Kerry’s Dr. Crokes in Mallow later that afternoon. Not surprisingly, our noble Nire native, Tony, intended travelling. All well and good, and most of us wished them well. However, the daring Declan proceeded to cycle in front of Tony for much of the remainder of the spin (bit of bloggers licence here…. it was only sometimes), and the sight of the Kerry jersey was like a green and gold rag to a bull.

Line-dancing after coffee. It has that effect!

Being a fair-minded reporter, Keith wisely omitted the episode from the local papers. Here’s his summary, and we thank him for it.

Once again, due to low temperature, the official route had to be altered in case of possible frosting on the roads. A group of 11 riders braved the cold and took off in the direction of the 5 x roads. The group decided to take the GreenWay as far as Durrow and and slip off back onto the coast road as road temperatures were starting to rise. A steady controlled pace was set with the group having to be cautious at the Crooked Bridge and the tree lined quarry road, but as road conditions got better heading into Kilmacthomas the group decided to venture onto the backroads of Fews, Mahon Bridge, Killrossanty and finally into Leamybrien for a well-deserved coffee stop at Applegreen. Refueled and refreshed the group were back on the bikes for the final push home, taking their regular back road route to Durrow and onto Ballyvoille where the group had to show caution and care while descending. Onto the flat of the coast road, it was back to business with the group executing constant rollovers at a good steady pace into Ballinroad, then down the Military Road and back to Dungarvan with an Avg of 24.3 for a total distance of 66 km… Very well done to all in G 4. (Keith M.)

Chopping off helmets to get the full-on socks. #priorities
3G Roaming On The N25

In reality, I almost wish I’d been with Group 3 last Sunday. They had none of this Kerry / Dublin silliness. Rather, the cyclists’ Christmas wish-lists were discussed, agreed, composed and emailed using 3G data roaming along the N25 home from Port Láirge. Just for a moment, imagine the complexity of this, all the while holding a straight line using safe group skills.

See for yourself:

G3’s numbers were somewhat depleted on Sunday probably due to the ongoing cold snap. Road scout Declan brought the news that the coast road was devoid of frost enabling the group of 10 to set off on the planned route. Once at Ballinroad it was almost balmy conditions that engulfed us and it was a happy bunch that continued on the Bunmahon. As suspected the gaffer had untraveled territory for us to explore as a left after Bunmahon brought the group on a rollercoaster of a ride up and down (more ups than downs) the Glen road, the Watertower road finally reaching Dunhill. Our procession finally took us to the bright lights of the city and the gang’s first time to cycle the full Waterford link road. Once we turned for home the pace increased aided by lovely smooth road surfaces. Chat on Sunday was varied but we did have time to compile our Santa letter…a new helmet for Pascal (the excitement of being back in the saddle last week led to him leaving it in carpark), new eyewear for lady rider(designer preferably), mudguards for all and etch a sketch for the boss (stop him drawing lines on map my ride)! Another great spin 80k, 800m climbed, 26.2kph. (Carol B.)

I really do begin to wonder why on earth anyone in their right mind would want to cycle with Dungarvan Cycling Club! New eyewear? Whatever next?

Then There’s Group 5

In contrast, I’m reminded of the ever-sensible Group 5. We met them for coffee at “DCC Corner” in Leamybrien.

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Group 5 are a much prettier group

This group also has its ear-to-the-ground reporter, who leaves no wheel unturned to get at the truth. Thank you, Rachel.

The welcoming and supportive nature of Group 5 was to the fore on Sunday morning. 3 returning riders with various ailments, or suffering from busyness were back in the saddle. As ever the group supported each other on a great spin out to Griffin’s Garage, Carrick Rd. The stop at Leamybrien where 3 Groups met up was very welcome – they’ll need to rename a corner there as DCC’s second home! Back via Durrow on a lovely calm day, 45km at a decent enough 19kph average speed. (Rachel N)

Dungarvan Cycling Club is based in County Waterford on the SE Irish coast and on the web at Dungarvan Cycling Club.

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Appendix 1: after they won the cup, they broke it!

Dr Crokes’ Johnny Buckley breaks the handle of the cup after lifting it up. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Dr Crokes’ Johnny Buckley breaks the handle of the cup after lifting it up. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Appendix 2: Any offence taken by anyone to anything is unfortunate. The motivation has been unintentional. Don’t get your chamois in a twist.

Finally, on a further non-cycling note I came across a wonderful tweet on Twitter (yep, that’s what happens there) during the week, but you’ll need to be sharper than a Nire forward!

 

Until next week, be safe out there,

Paraig

Instagram and Twitter @burkesbiking