By Jerry Towey
Only in the door from Manchester Para Cycling Track International and then off to a two weeks training camp in the World Cycling Center Aigle Switzerland (I have a great life really) so before I head up to the Cycling Center in Ballinrobe to kick start back training I said I’d put together something for the Club website as a bit of a report, after a few weeks the memories are gone…
I didn’t realise that the club had such a strong affinity with the World cycling centre, Padraig Marrey, Martin Munroe, Willy Connolly, Isaac Speirs and Eoin Mullen have all spent time there, what an unreal place it is.
So how did it all come together ?? well being honest pure luck. Out of nowhere last July I pulled a 57.32 on a 40k Individual TT after two frustrating months of slogging out training with an Injury and since I can’t seem to do nothing wrong since. Got decent results at three International Competitions ( 4th, 4th & 8th) so when the Invite came for Riders to Apply to the UCI World cycle centre my application form and palamaries were impressive enough. I got the nod from UCI with the only thing left to do was to Register for my first track event.
A one week training camp in Majorca with the Irish squad in the velodrome two weeks before Switzerland was going to mean Id hit the ground running in terms of experience as Id no idea what to expect at the UCI camp.
After another tough Saturday on Sundrive track with Cathal Miller & Enda Smyth I was on the Boat Sunday heading for Manchester Airport for an Early flight Monday Morning. The matress in the back of the van & two bikes squezzed into the one box suggested this is budget racing at its best but a mate of mine got wind of my travel arrangments & booked me into the Clayton Hotel beside Manchester for the night.
Picked up in Geneva Airport with two other South African riders so chit chat on the one hour journey was formal. Bag drop off at the Hostel I was met with a gleaming smile of Kilkelly’s finest Lauren Gourley. Didn’t know she was there as her dad Ian thought it be better to have it as a surprise. Lauren from Castlebar CC doing an internship & watch this space she will go places in the sports industry.
Down with the bike bags to the Velodrome & no picture can prepare you for it. Hair stood on the back of my neck when we turned in. Everyone shuffled in with the goal for the evening was to get bikes built & get back to the hostel with a dinner in your belly.
Down the next morning to the centre and a road spin was first on the agenda. I spent two hours hanging out the back of four tandems absolutely mowing it up a narrow canal road but there was a purpose as the groups were split up, so what ever group you could hang on to that was your group. I felt I went from “an aul fella carrying a bit of weight” to “that’s ur man that stayed with the tandems” in Polish, Serbian or Greek lingo. There was no common language but from here on I was treated with respect and the guys slinging high fives & smiles from then on.
Our days were spent from 7—8 am breakfast at hostel, Cycle the 2k down to velodrome you had a locker for your tools/gears/track helmet & dry jerseys/togs. Managers meeting 9-9.15 riders meeting 9.15-9.30 then road or track, lunch 12-2 depending on how track time was working out. Warm up for track or gym 2-3 & road or track 3-5 with each day being alternated. It was busy as there was always some place to be. We shared track with the able bodied athletes that reside there including our own Ryan Mullen from Sundrive track team & the Aran Islands and ex Western Lakes CC member. Dinner was down at the velodrome canteen and the two kilometer cycle got harder & harder each day as we cycled back to hostel.
Steve Cornshaw (GB) was head coach & two of the trainee coaches had Olympics under their belt including Beijing & London on the track (able bodied) but the pedigree of everyone’s Knowledge on the technical aspects of the track was evident.
Managed to pick up a tummy bug which was offensive to say the least but as luck would have it only missed two track sessions. Drills on the track would include gate starts, pacing/derney pacing, flying laps etc, road spins were just recovery rides (apart from the first one) & allthough the gym worked on strenght & conditioning the real focus was on flexability/injury prevention. If I was to bring one thing back to the club from the course was what Brendan Butler started off prior to going to Scotland and Padraig Marrey keeps going all year that is core and flexibility training. So This year coming I am really going to work on my core and flexibility even if the first smell of a race next year that all goes out the window but it wont for 2016 for me. It cant, there’s too much at stake. Too many people have spoke of the importance of stretching & simple fundamental movement for it to be ignored!
Real fact is you are measured on results. 8th to 12th was the target for the kilo on Sunday with points for RIO for top 10 & I dug out 9th but the Pursuit on the Saturday will stay with me. Got into a Bronze ride off after the mornings qualifiers being a second faster than Adrian Jones of GB. Apparently the C4 medal ride offs stole the show that night all though I didn’t know much about it. Japan & GB rode for Gold & Silver.
In the ride offs if your caught its over & Japan tried to “kilo” Van Gass of GB which is basicially go out of the gate like a scalded cat and catch him. Japan got within 10M in the 5th lap & blew so when GB came around Isshi Massashi of Japan was rolling for the pits. We were on before & I was .4 of a second up after four of the sixteen laps. Jones took .9 of a second out of me in the next four & I reeled him back to .1 with two to go. The wheels were coming off the wagon as Smyth who was calling my lap splits was roaring “lines lines lines” in the last two. It wasn’t to be & Iv missed the third step of the podium three times this year on this occasion by .332 of a second but I wouldn’t swap that pursuit ride off for anything……..
Work done but loads to do!!
See ye Thursday at Spinning!!!!