Episode lV A New Hope

By Norman Hayes

So we’ve got a club name, cycling registration, a fancy club kit in the production process and an online presence that quite frankly looks superb. So what do we do with it all?

I for one have had an odd and ultimately disappointing cycling year IN 2016, not quite Cyclis Horribilis but more of an opportunity lost. I started the off season last year with twice weekly Personal Fitness training with our club friend Stevie at Core Fitness and by Christmas I was the same weight and had the same waist size as when I was about 22. I headed off with the family for the annual ski trip in superb shape with every intention of signing up to accompany another cycling friend to the Paris Roubaix Cyclo Sportive. I returned with my foot in an aero cast with torn ligaments.

I’d had a big “off” the previous year and managed to leave most of the flesh from my leg on a nicely surfaced road in Newtownards. I still completed The Grand Fondo 6 weeks later and The Ring of Kerry Sportive a month after that. So what did I do last year? Frankly NOTHING..

So I’ve decided that 2017 will be different. I’ve also decided to nail my colours to the Ride and Speak mast and use Kevin’s hard work and inspirational attitude to my advantage in setting some goals for the coming year. I’m ALL IN, so to (ride and) speak.

So why am I sharing this blog (whatever that is) with everyone else and not sitting in my garage plotting world domination while doing 2 hours at 250 Watts on my turbo trainer. Well for one I can’t cycle at 250 Watts for 2 hours but more importantly I’m more of a social animal and I find cycling with friends, even though it’s training (whatever that is) is so much more rewarding and enjoyable. A task shared is a task halved in my mind.

So here’s the pitch (I’m in sales after all-what did you expect) I know that there are quite a number of us who are unsure where to cycle next year. I’m also aware that while a lot of us love our pleasant social spins of a Saturday afternoon or Thursday evening they also feel the need for more challenging regular “club” runs. Everyone knows what Titanic Quarter and VC Iveagh have accomplished and I think that we should look to them for inspiration. I want Ride and Speak to develop a weekly timetable of rides that could see a number of club members develop their skills and stamina and empower them to enter events such as The Gran Fondo or The Tour De Connemara without trepidation, safe in the knowledge that they had “put the miles (km) in”

I do not propose that we arrange rides that set out to leave friends at the sides of the road because they can’t ride fast enough. We can leave that to others. I propose rides that seek to achieve distance and elevation gained- a bit like Strava, in fact a lot like Strava, and all with the promise that “no one gets dropped”, the pace will be that of the slowest rider- probably me!

Damian championed “bridging the gap” and the improvements were plain to see, take a bow Olivia. I hope that this is the next step in that process.

So this is a call to arms.

Get off the fence and off the sofa and let’s make 2017 a year to remember, of shared goals and shared accomplishments and all while Riding and Speaking (most of the time!)

I’m ALL IN. Are you?



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