|WESTERN LAKES ACTIVITIES 26 th July - 1st August |
Meeting at 6.45 in the Cornmarket and leaving at 7 sharp. It will be
a 45k spin which will suit all abilities, Ken Mccarthy and Eimear FlAnnery will lead the
spin and no one will be left behind.
Hollymount Wheelers 7 pm 45/55km
Western covey league not on this week
THURSDAY 29 th July
Leisure Spin from Cornmarket @ 7 pm, 2 /3 groups,All abilities Group leaders Joe Callaghan and Noel Gibbons
Challenge league rd 6 7 pm
SUNDAY 1st August
Group spin from Cornmarket 9 AM Imelda Hughes ,Joe Biggins ,And john Conroy to lead
Hollymount Club leaving @ 8 .30am 85/120k approx
A developmental league open to all racers who hold a current LC or full race licence. In 2021 its open to all clubs.
We have limited places available.
Most of the events are based in Srah near Tourmakeady
Sign up here https://eventmaster.ie/event/o2kxfk3tLm
Monday 7 th June
Hollymount @ 6.30pm 45/55km
Q & A with Marie Finnerty
Bike type: Kona Kahuna MTB bike, an extremely old Raleigh road bike (which I bought 2nd hand in Dubai) and my Grandmothers High Nellie.
Discipline: MTB and road
Cycle for fun (Leisure)
Questions in cycling
How long are you cycling and which discipline do you prefer?
My first cycle of any significant length was the Ladies Sportif in 2015. I was persuaded to do it by Ken McCarthy on an battered old hybrid. I barely knew the front of the bike from the back of the bike, most people would agree I still don’t. I prefer MTB in the Winter and road cycling in the Summer.
What’s your favourite bike? and if money wasn’t a problem which one would you get?
My favourite bike is my Grandmother’s High Nellie, which I plan to restore this summer. If money wasn’t a problem a purple Specialized Venge would be nice to replace my rickety old Raleigh.
What’s your favourite training route? To do it solo or in a group?
Clonbur/Cong Woods MTB spin in a group. I absolutely love hurtling past the Pigeon Hole in the pitch dark during Winter club spins.
What’s your favourite food/ beverage at a stop?
The WLCC Ladies Sportif has to have the best food stop of any sporting event. Club members come together to create homemade deliciousness that will surely make the ascent up Maumtrasna worth it. Anna Sheeran’s baked ham along with Clare O’Neill and Eimear Flannery’s deserts can only result in you thanking your lucky stars the next part of the journey is downhill.
What’s your favourite time of day to go out?
Mornings because you feel great then for the rest of the day.
Winter or summer time spins?
Both, Winter in the woods and Summer on the road.
Hills or flat?
Flat, although I made it my mission to cycle up the highest peak in the UAE, Jebel Jais, before I moved home in June 2019. Left Dubai at 1am and started cycling at 3am as the daytime heat in the Summer there would hit over 40°C. Cycling back down those hairpin turns was great fun! I also loved cycling the Máiméan Loop with the club last July. It’s a really tough climb but worth it for the beautiful scenery.
Most memorable or favourite events?
Memorable moments include cycling with Dan martin in the desert in 2018 and meeting Sam Bennett to wish him luck before watching him cross the line to win the final stage of the UAE tour in 2019. Favourite events include Ironman UAE and Spinneys 92 in Dubai, the Ring of Clare and Westportif. Great times with the best of company!
Favourite piece of kit?
My pink clip-ins and of course the latest Western Lakes kit.
How many times a week do you go out to train ? and how long is your average spin time. ?
Twice a week on club spins when we’re not in lockdown, average 2hrs.
Indoor session what’s your favourite: Turbo, Zwift, rollers, gym, classes or other ?
I don’t do indoor cycling. I’ll rather face any weather to be outside.
The best thing about club spins? The worst thing about club spins?
The best things are the camaraderie on group spins, making friends along the way and all sorts of random conversations, and being pushed out of your comfort zone to achieve more than you would alone. Worst things are feeling like you’re holding the group back on a club ride or crashing into trees in the woods.
Sum up cycling for you.
Exploring the great outdoors and having a laugh along the way. Can’t beat that feeling at the top of a mountain or after a long distance ride. If you’re not feeling great, you definitely will after a cycle. Joining Western Lakes Cycling Club has been a great adventure. I’m looking forward to our next club spin!
Over the next few months we are going to talk to as many members that will come forward and share their thoughts about their cycling experiences to date.
Michael Kelly our PRO will send you a list of questions you fill out and its as simple as that. Every member has their own personal story of cycling to tell and we as a club would love to hear about them..
Eimear Flannery one our youth coaches and is the club's OFF road Rep has a long history in adventure racing and now she brings her love of adventure to the off road scene..
Bike type Custom titanium MTB, Ridley carbon road bike, Kona Rove gravel bike.
Discipline Off road/gravel/road
Race or for fun (Leisure) I’d describe myself as “Competitive Leisure” !!!
Questions in cycling
Q. How long are you cycling and which discipline do you prefer ?
I cycled a bit when I was young but took it up again in 2012 when I entered a few adventure races. I joined WLCC in 2016 and was introduced to Off Road cycling in the Club in 2017 and fell in love with it immediately.
Q. What’s your favorite bike ? and if money wasn’t a problem which one would you get?
My favourite bike is my Titanium mountain bike which is a custom build. I will never be able to afford a bike like it again but I hope it’s a bike for life! I also love to use my gravel bike on local roads for solo spins.
Q. What’s your favorite training route ? to do it solo or in a group?
I love to train in Cong/Clonbur Woods or Derroura mtb trails, preferably with a small group.
Q. What’s your favorite food/ beverage at a stop ?
I love a good homemade flapjack or a slice of fruitcake! But you can’t beat a banana for a quick refuel.
Q. What’s your favorite time of day to go out for a cycle ?
I’d love to get out in the mornings more, but work and home commitments means that’s rarely possible.
Q. Winter or summer time spins ?
I really enjoy Club evening spins on the road in the summer, but my absolute favourite is a winter off road spin on a dark, cold, crisp night in the trails.
Q. Hills or flat?
Hills of course! Anywhere as long as there’s a good rocky descent! The Maimean Loop from Leenane can’t be beaten.
Q. Most memorable or favorite event?
Battle on the Beach in south Wales – Spectacular!!! Lakelander Gravel Grinder in Fermanagh was fantastic. Ring of Clare 160km on the road, great sense of achievement to have done it!
Q. Favorite piece of kit ?
Five Ten mtb shoes.
Q. How many times a week do you go out to train ? and how long is your average spin time. ?
Pre-Covid, two spins a week in Winter, three or four in Summer. Ave would be 2hrs.
Q. Indoor session what’s your favorite: Turbo, Zwift, rollers, gym, classes or other ?
Hate the Turbo but Covid has made it essential. Don’t use Zwift. Love a Club class for the banter.
Q. The best thing about club spins? The worst thing about club spins. ?
The social aspect is great, testing myself with stronger/faster riders gives me a buzz. Getting dropped on a club spin is gut-wrenching…
Q. Sum up cycling for you.
Cycling is Freedom. The outdoors, the fresh air, the break from work and stress, the health and fitness benefits. It’s fantastic for mental health and a gives me a feeling of sheer bliss!
By Jerry Towey
Lets start at the start. Someday, somehow you get a notion and it happened me walking down them very familiar bars in the Rehabilitation Hospital trying out a new prosthetic leg. After losing my leg in 1990 it was in 2010 an American Prosthetic Company cracked the age old problem on ways prosthetic s were fitted. With every limb I ever got having a hard life over the previous twenty years I was the guinea pig. After only taking a few steps with this new system walking limb I remember thinking I could cycle with this.
Spinning Classes held in CBD Complex in Charlestown with Western Lakes Racer, Donal Harrington opened the door to competitive racing for me and Western Lakes adopted me. I was involved in GAA and Soccer as a coach however with the aforementioned Donal Harrington training for his first RAS with Western Lakes, being honest, I never seen anything as grueling as the training the lads were doing and I got hooked. My first Cycling leg I designed it myself (obviously not the socket) but it was basically a bar attached to the socket that held a standard cleat so I was clipped in to the pedal. Next big step was getting Padraig Marrey on board. Based on the principal of working on your biggest weakness to make your biggest gain, we started to get every ounce of power into the prosthetic leg.
At this point I was competing in the National Para Cycling League and had one National League Title under my Belt so got the call up for my First World Cup in 2013 for Ireland. I also got the first Cycling Prosthetic leg made in Ireland over the line with Ability Matters for the event, together with my beloved Giant TCR, sponsored to me by a local business man for the event held in Spain.
People have a watered down opinion on disabled sport and you learn to live with that but reality is the guys that your racing against are almost all fully pro at International level.
I’m going to bring you on one of my experiences in 2015. A 6am start in Kilmovee for training in Sundrive Velodrome in Dublin at 9.30. I was after being picked by the UCI to train in Switzerland in the World Cycling Center prior to a track event in Manchester. I couldn’t afford any mistakes as Aer Lingus would not permit two bike cases for one passenger and I had to bring two bikes so I had to fit two frames in one case and get everything else into a suitcase, so it was back down to Kilmovee after training in Dublin to engineer this. A 4.30 am start on the Sunday and back up to Dublin to get the Ferry to Hollyhead and the drive to Manchester to catch a plane to Geneva on the Monday Morning. The spin from Geneva to Aigle has amazing views but If you’re a cyclist there is nothing like the view the first time you come out of Aigle and catch the first Glimpse of the World Cycling Center Velodrome with the back drop of the Alps behind it. I don’t care who you are it would put the shivers up your back. First morning in the hostel, there where a group of around 20 of us with various levels of disability. From Ghana to Texas to Poland to Mayo it was cordial around the porridge with language barriers but after getting road bikes built we were sent for a group spin that breaks down the barriers every time. Built up the track bikes that afternoon and it was down to business!
A 200M track as opposed to the normal 250M was great for training as the corners come faster and much more technical getting through corner one after leaving the start gate. Training was hard as there is nothing to hammer you like a track bike on a Velodrome. The environment we trained in was 100% professional as were all Coaches and Staff which included Lauren Gourley from Kilkelly who was on her journey to becoming a professional Coach. Padraig Marrey from Western Lakes also served his time in Aigle on his Cycling journey, Martin Munroe was there for a stent in 2006 as UCI trainee espoir and Eoin Mullen (Aran Islands)who has strong connections with Western Lakes was there when I was also being trained by UCI so the Mayo & Galway flag was flying all be it virtually. Ten days there and a flight back to Manchester to meet the rest of the Irish squad for a taster session on the track on the Friday night and racing proper on Saturday afternoon, remember this is the GB National Cycling Center.
I managed to get into the Bronze medal ride off in the 4KM individual pursuit against the GB rider which was described as the ride off of the night. I knew something was happening and I didn’t know was I going to get him into sight after every corner or was he trying to kilo me (that’s where you come out of start gate like a scalded cat and try to catch your opponent in the first few laps and its game over if that happens in the ride offs), but it was the fact there was never any more than a meter or two every time we crossed the opposite side of track that was causing the reaction to the handful of people that were track side. I knew there would be nothing between us as he only put a few seconds into me in Germany in a 20km TT a few weeks previous and only put 2 seconds into my time for the Bronze ride off. It wasn’t to be as Adrian Jones pipped me by .32 (yes point .32) of a second for the Bronze medal in the 4km effort.
I had better days and much worse ones on a bike but this was one of many experiences I had and I would like to thank everyone who gave me that platform which would not be possible without my Club Western Lakes and its members.
‘Cycling Safe Passing’ Signs
Noel Gibbons is a founder member of Western Lakes CC and has been involved in every facet of the club. Little did he know that his years in cycling would aid him in his role now as Mayo Road safety officer. Noel was instrumental in bringing loads of different safety intuitives to make our roads safer for driving and cycling. Here is a piece from 2002 where Noel instigated signage for the famous Srah circuit..
As Cyclists , whether we are leisure , competitive or we use the bike as a form of transport , we all know too well how important it is for our safety that motorist give us adequate space when over taking us . That’s why we were delighted when a new law was introduced on Monday, Nov 11, 2019, that stated drivers found dangerously overtaking someone on a bike will find themselves on the receiving end of a €120 fine and three penalty points.
In the ideal world, we would all be cycling on segregated cycle lanes , but that’s not the case we live in a very rural County and we find ourselves intermixing with all size of vehicles on these roads so we need to be fully focused and depend on motorists adhering to the rules of the road for our safety.
As a follow on from the introducing of the safe passing law in 2019 Minister Shane Ross has (June 18 2020) announced the allocation of €446,500 to 19 local authorities for the roll out of cycling ‘safe passing’ signs.
This new sign, which has been included in the Traffic Signs Manual, advises motorists of the need to leave adequate space when overtaking cyclists.
Motorists should know that dangerous overtaking of a cyclist is an offence and punishable by a fine and penalty points, and motorists are reminded by this type of signage located around the Country.
But did you know that one small cycling club in the West of Ireland working in partnership with its local authority, was the first in the Country to erect safe over taking signage as far back as 2002.
Western lakes Cycling Club committee members working with the local Area engineer Mr John Ferguson and the road safety officer Mr Michael Gormally saw the merit of erecting signage on three roads which then became know in the cycling fraternity as the Srah circuit . The 5 mile loop or in new money 8km loop was used regularly by the then three local clubs Western lakes , Castlebar cycling club and Covey wheelers (Westport) . It was used for training spins , introducing youth to road cycling and leisure spins . Once the signage was erected it be came the home for the Mayo League for many a year , where a lot of blood and sweat was lost and unfortunately a few bones broken also .
This circuit became the envy of other cycling clubs around the Country, grapping local and national media attention with articles appearing in cycling magazines and papers.
The specially commissioned road sign which has the image of a racer bike not the normal image of a bike attracts the attention of motorists to this day 19 years later and set the seed for the present signage been erected presently around the Country , to create a safer environment for cyclist to take to the road.
This shows a club in the west of Ireland can make a difference nationally when we work together as members and never has it been more important in these challenging times , here to a bright 2021 and looking forward to cycling with you all if not in person in the virtual world of teams or zoom, personalities will come and go but the one common love for cycling will always exist in Ballinrobe and its hinterlands.
I joined Western Lakes Cycling Club in 2009 as a relatively late comer to the sport in my late thirties, taking up spinning initially after knee surgery on the advice that cycling would be good for my injury. I spend my first two very enjoyable seasons clocking up steady miles with the leisure riders in the club and then ventured onto the local racing scene in 2011 to see if I could stretch my ability. I got some wins in league races and time trials, and felt I was getting stronger throughout the year. Driven by curiosity I asked Padraig Marrey for a fitness assessment at the end of the season, wondering how my numbers might stack up against seasoned racers. My test numbers were good, but I was really taken aback when Padraig told me that with the right training programme, I had Ras potential! This was big news to me, and not something I was going to let sit.
I went off with my homework for the winter, which I duly completed. Highly occupied working in a new company and with two young children at home, I needed to be super-organised and worked through most of the winter programme on my own. I showed up in the new year in the shape of my life, further boosted by joining the Ras team on a week-long training camp in Murcia. My first open race was in Navan, a real eye-opener navigating a big field of riders. No result, but I was near the front all day and finished top ten. I don’t remember how many races I completed that year, but have some specific memories such as going to Letterkenny on St. Patricks day racing at my absolute limit, again finishing top ten, and then to Westport the next day completely blowing up in Ras Maigh Eo. I never got on the podium that year mostly from a mixture of racing nativity and missing the final kick to take a sprint, but I was rarely far off it either and I was starting to believe the Ras was a realistic goal for me. I was determined that I was going to make the cut in 2013.
The previous year taught me the scale of this commitment, not just to training but to a full-on racing program especially focusing on stage races. Ras Mumhan 2013 was my first big stage race – a cold Easter weekend with plenty of climbing, then Corkman 3-day on the May bank holiday weekend, with long solo rides on consecutive days afterwards and one or two races on the weekends in between.
For me these races weren’t about getting results, but getting up the road into breakaways, being combative, and training my body to recover day after day. And then there were those long rides tucked in behind a car working on sustaining speed. Having stuck rigidly to the training plan, the race program, and the diet to keep my weight to that of my 18-year old self, I was ready for the Ras.
While my successes in cycling are extremely modest with very few results to boast of, taking part in the 2013 Ras is my proudest sporting achievement. That year’s Ras is well documented and debated for the 23 amateur riders eliminated having missed the time limit on Stage 4, of which I was one. There is an unlucky story behind every one of those eliminations, and I won’t go into mine, because my abiding memories are positive. What I remember is being treated like a professional athlete with full support team – manager, soigneur, mechanic, drivers, and sponsors. Signing autographs for kids before stages. The experience of moving along with the peloton often hitting speeds of 60km/hr on the flat, driven along at the front by professional riders like Sam Bennett and company. I was told the Ras is fast but covering nearly 160km in less than 3.5hrs at an average speed of over 45km/hr is amazing.
These are my abiding memories of cycle racing, and I am truly grateful to the people in Western Lakes Cycling Club for handing me that opportunity.
Mayo League – winning on a Giant Defy – I upgraded the bike after Mike Flanagan told me “you must piss off a lot of people when you beat them on that bike”!
Murcia training camp
Corkman 2-Day – can’t find the results online but finished in a breakaway of around ten on Stage 3, held off the yellow jersey and young Eddie Dunbar in the chasing group.
Bogman 2 day 2013
The Western Lakes Cycling Club Ladies Sportive was established in 2012 as an opportunity to meet likeminded female cyclists in a non-competitive environment without feeling a need to keep up or be elitist. The Ladies Sportive is for cyclists of all abilities and is not just for racers or cycling club members.
The inaugural ladies sportive took place on Saturday 20th of October and 30 ladies took part on the day. The longer route took the group to Clonbur and on to Ail Dubh and home by Cornamona. This route took in many of the hills of North Galway and South Mayo. Some of the participants took the shorter route which took them through Cloughbrack and Cornamona and this group enjoyed a well-deserved refreshment break back in Clonbur. Both groups returned along the same route back to Ballinrobe and had a very enjoyable lunch in Flannery's. Ladies from as far as north Donegal travelled to take part in this sportive and the feedback from the day has been positive with many already looking forward to next year's event! The images below show some of the ladies who took part in the inaugural ladies sportive Including the team of ladies from North Pole Cycling Club who travelled from Drumfries in North Donegal to take part.
The sportive stayed with the Ail Dubh route for a few years before changing to the current route of the lap of Lough Mask. This is the route for all cyclists taking part in the event. It is a 64km cycle starting in Ballinrobe and heading out to Partry before turning left to Tourmakeady.
On the morning of the sportive all participants receive a goodie bag, a cup of tea and slice of cake at registration. Eamon Marrey of Marrey Bikes is on hand on the morning of the event to pump tyres and supply any mechanical assistance needed before the sportive. The sportive rolls out at 10 after a briefing for all cyclists and marshals alike. The gentlemen of Western Laked CC ensure safe passage through Ballinrobe and from there the sportive heads out the Castlebar Road to Partry. In Partry the cyclists turn left and off the main Castlebar Road onto the Tourmakeedy Road where Lough Mask is always on our left. Here the group tends to split up depending on ability, but it always regroups again at Maire Luke’s Bar for a well-deserved food stop. From there the group head towards the first big climb of the day, Maumtreasna. From the top of Maumtreasna the cyclists take in the beautiful views of Lough Na Fooey before turning left for Finny. The homeward journey takes the cyclists through Clonbur and onto Ballinrobe where more refreshments await them.
Every kind of bike is used on the ladies sportive, from racers to hybrids, mountain bikes and even a tandem has been used for several of our sportives. Every ability of cyclist takes on the sportive, from racers to leisure cyclists and ladies who have never cycled 64km before. That was the aim of this sportive, to have an event which would be open to and achievable for women of all cycling abilities. Roisin Lenehan, a visually impaired lady from Charlestown completed the sportive on her tandem proving that her impairment was not an obstacle to completing the Ladies Sportive and the team at Western Lakes CC ensured she got around safely and had an enjoyable time on the sportive.
The sportive has also attracted ladies from all over Ireland with clubs from as far afield as Wicklow, Clare and Donegal being represented.
No lady is last at any stage, there are always two male cyclists at the back of the sportive who support and encourage everyone along. The lads are always on standby for punctures, mechanicals or assistance of any kind. The sportive is also fully supported with lead cars, support cars and a broom wagon. Support and encouragement are in plentiful supply on the day. Everyone gets home safe and always with a smile, some having achieved a distance that they never cycled before.
Over the years the Ladies Sportive has had several event directors. Marie Frazer was the initial event director and put together the template for the Ladies Sportive. Patricia Harte and Fergal O’Neill led the sportive after Marie and lastly Kenneth McCarthy who is the current event director for the Ladies sportive. There has always been a great team behind the sportive, made up from all members of Western Lakes Cycling Club who are always willing to help out wherever necessary to ensure everyone who takes part on the day had a very enjoyable experience.
The WLCC Ladies Sportive has contributed to various charities since its inauguration. Over the years the sportive has supported AIRC, a local Mayo based charity supporting children with disabilities, Jack & Jill, Rock Rose House, National council for the Blind and Diabetes Ireland to name but a few. The sportive is not a profit-making event and is always happy to support charities while promoting female cycling.
While the WLCC ladies sportive is for female cyclists, the male members of Western Lakes Cycling Club play a major part in the annual sportive. Our gentlemen are involved in all areas of the sportive from organising the sportive to marshalling the junctions and bringing the food to the food stop. As well as that each year at least 15 lads take to the bike to support the cyclists along the route from carrying excess gear to giving a helping hand up the hills and providing gentle encouragement where needed. The involvement of the lads is always to support the ladies on the cycle and to make the event as enjoyable as they can for everyone taking part. Pictured below are Gerry Sheridan and John Hughes assisting Susan Lenehan and her daughter Roisin as they ascend Maumtreasna on their tandem. The second shows Earnan Naughton leading a team of ladies on the sportive.
The food stop has always been a major part of the Ladies Sportive. In recent years Maire Luke’s Bar in Tourmakeady had hosted the food stop. While not quite the halfway point it provides a beautiful view overlooking Lough Mask and allows the cyclists to take in the required nourishment to allow them take on Maumtrasna which is only a short few kilometre on from Maire Luke’s. The buns, cakes and treats for the mid-way food stop and the post cycle tea stop have always been baked by the ladies of the club who we cannot thank enough and have always gone down well with everyone involved on the day.
Order Of Malta
The Ladies Sportive has always been supported by the Ballinrobe Unit of the Order of Malta and Western Lakes CC is grateful for the continued support of this dedicated team. In 2017 the proceeds of the Ladies sportive were donated to the Ballinrobe Unit of the Order of Malta as a small token of gratitude for all the Order of Malta does for the club.
The Western Lakes CC Ladies Sportive is very grateful to its generous sponsors for all their support over the years. Some of the female owned businesses in Ballinrobe have been very generous in sponsoring hampers which were won by one of the lucky ladies taking part on the day. Other businesses have been very kind in sponsoring items for the goodie bag and food for the food stops. The event is a real community event with lots of businesses getting involved every year and all of those involved in the Western Lakes ladies Sportive would like to thank the event sponsors for their continued support. The following image shows some of the local sponsors of the Sportive
Cycling Ireland Awards
In 2019 the WLCC Ladies Sportive was nominated in the category of Best Leisure Event at the cycling Ireland Awards ceremony which was held in City West Hotel in Dublin. Kenneth McCarthy represented Western Lakes Cycling club as event director for the Ladies Sportive. Unfortunately, we were not successful on this occasion but to be nominated for best leisure event is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all the team behind the WLCC Ladies Sportive.
This article was written by Kenneth McCarty, the current ladies sportive director.
For those of you who dont know John James Flaherty, a founder member of Western Lakes CC and the Twelve Bens cycling group. A hard man from Renvyle Co Galway..
The quite man seen here just beaten in a sprint but always a fierce competitor.
Did Trojan work on the front for our first Mizen to Malin bid in 2002
The man of the Bogman 2 day and Gogarty cup, JJ's ability to organise is second to none.
Fulfilling his dream of taking part and finishing the 2012 An Post Ras Tailteann
The picture that is still doing the rounds when it comes to portraying what county riders go through in the Ras Tailteann.
Have a read of John James (JJ) first race .. http://paulgannonheritage.com/?page_id=268