It may hidden in the bowels of my copy this week, but it has surfaced again and no doubt will keep been revisited and that is the failure to have an under-23 team at the World Cycling Championships in Mendriso, Switzerland last September. And to make matters worse the High Performance Director Phil Leigh announces to all and sundry that the trio of Nicholas Roche, Philip Deignan and Daniel Martin should be de listed from the carding system. Did he think that statement through? Still the good news is that the Mid West Road Club in Longford is preparing for a birthday party…..there is a get together for the juniors and under-23 in Charleville (where they built a station for the cheese)……Round four of the Connacht Mountainbike League is in Newport…..Could it happen here in Dublin?…….finally that man in the West is the news again with the promotion of the Sean Kelly Hamper Race in Westport, Joe McGuire.
“Where it began….the Kelly/Roche/Early/Kimmage and the McGowans of Mullingar era was my introduction to cyling…and now 20 yeares on I am very involved with the Mid West Road Club in Longford who may produce a star worthy of Kelly and the lads, but if it does not we will not lose in any sleep about it”, so said Donal Madden
The love affair or call it what you like began last January and now we aged. Similiar to the horses who automatically add another year to their age, likewise Mid West Road Club in Longford will be celebrating their first year as members of Cycling Ireland. Plus there are proud and stand high with the developments in the last 12 months.
Well with a logo ‘it doesn’t have to be the latest lightweight machine and don’t be put off by some people togged out in expensive looking gear’.
And how did it all start? You have to go back to the days of the Mulingar CC and the McGowans who were heavily involved in the club. Father Seamus and son Tommy were highly regarded in cycling circles at national level. Seamus was a member of the governing biody for cycling in Ireland and also a commissarie and Tommy was the competitor who raced all the country in between his studies at DCU.
Talking with Donal Madden about his involvement in the sport and the development of this club in Longford.
“Well with a logo like We stress it doesn’t have to be the latest lightweight machine and don’t be put off by some people togged out in expensive looking gear.
“Mid West Road Club in Longford have started a campaign locally and afar to increase their membership. They are open to new members and potential members who are always welcome on their club run. The membership covers the counties of Longford, Roscommon, Leitrim and Cavan but we’re not fussy we’ll welcome anyone from anywhere
“We meet weekly on Sunday mornings at the Market Square, Longford (outside Centra) and aim to depart the square at 9.30am. All are welcome provided you wear a helmet and your bike is in good working order.
“Our routes are pre-planned and give everyone the option of returning to base relatively easy, if they feel tired. Each Sunday a nominated “sweeper” ensures nobody is left out on the road alone.
“This is our first year and all told we now have up to 30 people coming out from time to time. Each Sunday sees a group of 10 to 15 ride together. We can’t afford a web site yet but we have a Facebook page, which is regularly updated showing upcoming routes, etc. For any information people can contact Donal on 085-7343494.”
How it began in earnest in Longford……On a wet morning November last year, a number of people met by chance in Kevin Martins bike shop in Longford. None of us knew each other and a chat got going regarding the lack of a local cycling club as Longford C.C. had been defunct for a couple of years following internal fighting. I had not ridden a bike in 16 years and was a former member of Lakeside Wheelers, Mullingar. I noticed that there was a number of individuals cycling alone in the Longford area. We decided to advertise a get together so as people could hook up and ride together. In order to break the curse of Longford CC, we decided to form a new club, under a different banner and advertise it more of a cycling co-op than a club. In January 2009, Mid West Road Club was born. The club would be a clean start, so initially we had to deal with old problems which arose at the inaugural meeting.
“We decided to follow a few set principle’s, especially in our first year. It was agreed that under no circumstances would we seek sponsorship from local business’.
“The only subscriptions taken would cover fee’s to Cycling Ireland leaving no surplus funds. It was also agreed that no person would be turned away from the club as long as their bike was in good working order and that they were wearing a helmet. After that all decisions would be made by a simple majority vote where the need arose. It was also agreed that the club would not organise club gear in its first year anyway, so we could see how it was surviving. The core principle would be “Nobody would be left alone out on the road”.
“Eventually it started to really pick up. The An Post series of cycle tours became a target and after the Sligo tour a couple of guys mentioned the subject of gear and one of our principles went straight out the window, we organised club Jerseys and shorts. Lakeside Wheelers invited us to partake in their summer league and a number of people took part. A couple have decided to take part in open races next season and are busy away training already.
One of our members, Jimmy McDonnell, took part in every round of the An Post series. He completed the 160km event in each one. We’re not 100% sure, but it’s believed he is the only one in Ireland to do it this year. An Post awarded him with a full set of gear to mark his achievement and The Examiner paper ran an article on him in their health supplement. Jimmy’s achievement is made all the more remarkable by the fact that he’s retired and up to 2 years ago he smoked 70 fags a day. He joined us from the start and rode a hybrid wearing a tracksuit and runners. He has since taken delivery of a magnificent carbon Dolan and now lives in lycra.
“Unfortunately there are no clubs west of us until you reach Sligo, so to fill the gap, we have moved our spins to Ballinamore and Carrick On Shannon on various Sundays through the year to expand the club. The Carrick On Shannon spin on 8th November last was a great success despite the worst of weather.
“Approaching the end of our first year, we have 18 paid up members plus another 10 or so who regularly join us and will sign up come January next. The emphasis next year will once again be expanding the club to new cyclists. We have members who plan on doing open races right through to a couple of guys who are cycling for rehabilitation purposes. We will continue to partake in Mullingars summer league and who knows how many will start their racing careers there.
I have been approached by a local man, John Duffy, who took part in a sponsored cycle in New York last summer. He was taken aback by the interest and has set about organising a cycle here. The details are not available as yet but it will be probably early July 2010 and in aid of MS Ireland and a local charity. John has asked for assistance from MWRC, which will be no problem. He has already got Longford County Council, Local Sports Partnership and Longford Gardaí on board and as a prominent figure in the GAA scene, I believe he has secured facilities and assistance from local clubs. This has the potential to be one of the best fun cycles in the country. As soon as details are finalised, we’ll be straight back onto you.
Our committee this year has been Chair/Sec – Donal Madden, Treasurer – Aidan O’Halloran and P.R.O. – Niall Philips.
As theysay watch this space for further developments and I’m there will be many. Got the feeling, that maybe there are poker players who could trump you at any stage, so I’ll be keeping a watching brief.
Good news for all aspiring competitors in the the junior and under 23 bracket for the year ahead. The foundation was laid last year and now the block building begins at these two levels. Thankfully there has been an unprecendented level of interest for the weekend and no one will be turned away.
The work that Dan Curtin undertook last year was excellent on a domestic level and is set to continue into 2008 But for the absence of the under-23’s at the world championships in Mendriso which was a blight on all our copy books. When you think back to 2008 Cycling ireland had one of the favourites! YES, Daniel Martin was touted as a winner in the race held in Italy. But we were nowhere to be seen in Switzerland. Only as late as yesterday I had a discussion with a top ranking official and he was scratching his head as to how this happened that we had a great crop of under-23’s and with the championships in Melbourne next year! Was the likelyhood that we could see a depleted team. Nobody has admitted the error and the high performance director Phil Leigh touting the notion that Nicholas Roche, Daniel Martin and Philip Deignan lose their grant aid. This will come back to haunt him as they are our true ambassadors.
In its first year the Development Program exposed many Junior and Under 23 riders to top level domestic racing in a team environment. Some collected stage wins in various stage races nationwide but more importantly all went away with vital experience gained which they would not have been exposed to if competing individually or even not at all. The National Development program will continue for 2010. A training camp for any Junior and Under 23 riders will take place in Charleville, Co. Cork on the 5th & 6th December 2009. A great deal has been agreed with the 4 star Charleville Park Hotel of €50 for 2 nights B&B plus 2 evening meals. This weekend will be aimed towards selecting the panels for both squads for the 2010 season. Further queries contact Dan @ 087-2304365 You can Download the Application form Here www.irishcycling.com
Connacht MTB League
The Connacht MTB League enters Round 4 this Sunday. The venue is Shramoor, Newport, Co. Mayo.Round four of the All races sign on from 11am Youth race 12noon, Seniors 1pm Contact Martin @0872226260 or Darren 0872307821
Could it happen here in DUBLIN
Boris and Ken – as well as those kind folk at the City of London – have put in loads of cycle lanes for those of us who choose to save the planet on our way into work.
But vans keep parking in them, which means I have to swerve out into the middle of the road and hope that I don’t get clipped by a taxi.
The law, as I understand it, is that vans can stop to unload, but they are supposed to only spend a few minutes doing so.
In the City, they appear to be given rather more leeway than other parts of town which, if you are on two wheels, makes life more difficult.
My entire route is based on avoiding right turns where possible and I am not too keen on having to swerve around obstacles on what I thought was supposed to be “my bit of road”.
At the very least this has underlined how difficult it is to allocate road space and the only way in which our cities will work is if we share it.
Touch wood, my basic cowardice means that I have managed to avoid any road rage incidents during my embryonic cycling career.
But given the open warfare which seems to prevail on the capital’s streets I fear it is only a matter of time.
Motorists have, to date, been as good as gold. The only stroppy person I have come across to date has been another cyclist.
Mention, Westport, Co. Mayo and one name crops up. None other than Joe McGuire of Mayo Wheelers.
Well what is Joe up for the final event of the year. It is the Hamper Race which has found a new home in that town better known for its cleanliness and the ‘Tidiest Town.’
Mark it in your calendar for the 28th of December and the location is the Castlecourt where the hub of the action will be with the likes of Sean Kelly, Enda Kenny, John Maughan to name but a few.
it is in aid of the Western Alzheimer’s who are doing trojan work in the region. For further details give Joe a Buzz on 086.8702062 and remember it is fun event for 20 of the 40 miles.(8 x 5 mile circuit).