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Graduation Day, Catalina's Blog


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Last Sunday 8th March saw the “last” day of the beginners group. We couldn’t have wished for a better way to finish our stint as beginners. The weather was glorious, I would even adventure and say better even than in Lanzarote! We had a bit of a headwind, but who cares! We still finished strong! But first, let me give you a brief account of week 7 (if you are a bit pedantic, there was no week 7, as all spins got cancelled due to weather warnings, thank god) . Anyway, on our 7th spin, we met as usual at the Courthouse for 9. With a big group of the club lads in Lanzarote, we did not expected a big turnout, but it was as big as ever. Over 20 I recall, despite all the weather predictions by Fergus, who got it spot on. Route decided, we were going to Watergrasshill via Lisgoold, down to Glanmire and home. “Some” climbs, plenty of rain, hailstones, headwinds, you name it! As we were climbing most of the way to Watergrasshil, it was decided that we will regroup at the coffee stop. So off we went. It was obvious from the start that it was going to be a tough day…one of those difficult to forget! One of our ladies, Deirdre, called it a day, as she wasn’t feeling the love for the bike that morning…glad she did, because it was miserable to start with, and you really needed to be in top form! Once we made sure she was safe on her way home, we continue, some of the lads and Teresa, went ahead of us. And Mags, Fergus, Andy, Barry and myself just plod along the hills as best as I could…ie, I was the one slowing them down. There was a downpour at some stage, can’t remember if its was before or after “the twelve balls”, but we got soaked to the bones!! I can’t thank the guys enough for staying with us, as I think we couldn’t have done it without them!! By the time we reached the coffee stop, the “coffee” group has passed us on the other way (the did the same route only on reverse!), and the rest of the beginners had just left the designated stop and went on their way. At that stage, I was told it was only Pat, Teresa, and someone else whose name escapes me. No idea what happened to the rest of the group, as it was over 20. Ollie stayed behind having a chat with us. He was suffering as his hands were almost freezing and not responding well to the cold and wetness, so he also called it a day, and was waiting to be collected. It was indeed a hard day! The shop were we stopped was selling gloves, and some of the guys bough a few pairs t to change, as really our gloves were all useless at that stage. I regretted not having done so. When we went on our way, we felt the cold, as we were after warming up under one of the heaters in the shop, but at least it had stopped raining, and it was mostly downhill from them on!! Wrong!! There were a few hills. But let’s not dwell on that. The descent was brilliant!! I just love the speed of them!!! Andy tried to give me good advice, don’t go to hard on the flat and descent, save your energy for the hills…not sure if it went it to be honest, sorry Andy!!!! Just before we reached Glanmire, Fergus and Andy were leading, and we came to a T-junction, where someone decided to turn as Fergus was just passing….I was not too far behind, and it wasn’t pretty to watch, the car pulling, Fergus having to manoeuvre around the car…it was very scary indeed to watch what could have been a very nasty accident!! By the time I passed, the car was still mid turn, not sure where to go….We regroup just before Dunkettle, and cycle together to Midleton. Andy reported speeds of 40+ at some stage..it was fun ride back home. I had an almost fall coming to stop by Fergus’ car, who had just had a puncture as we came into Midleton (it wasn’t his luckiest day)..but he managed to stop me from reaching the ground! Thanks Fergus!!

After 8 weeks riding in freezing temperatures, ice, rain, wind, you name it, it was nice to wake up on Sunday to a lovely sunny day!! Route for the day was Midleton to Ardmore via Youghal bypass, Coffee stop in Ardmore and back. It was still cold, maybe 8 degrees or thereabouts, but the sun made a big difference. The group stayed together up until the bypass, where some of us still struggle to go up the hill and had to be waited for at the top…but we are getting better, and Ollie again was there to support me, and to his surprise, this time I was able to talk (unlike that time in Cobh )!! Short stop at the top, where we realised there was another Spanish rider among us (and I had just been chatting to him 10 mins beforehand in English and hadn’t realised! ) Nacho was with his brother in law who was visiting from Northern Ireland , he’s been living in Midleton for 4 years, and I might have convinced him to join the club!! Anyway, the trip to Ardmore was great, loved the descent from the bypass, where I recorded a 51kmh speed, and I overtook a good few people that were being more cautious than me!! But I love speed (you should see me driving!) The road to Ardmore wasn’t the best, but at least it was better than the one the coffee group took (They are all blaming Brendan…. ) We met the lads in the shop we stopped for coffee, where the lovely lady there gave us Christmas cake, in March!! Finally got to meet Richie Watkin in person (we email back and forth for the blog updates, but haven’t met till now!) We took a couple of pics of the two groups together, chat to some of the members that were just back from Lanzarote, and it was decided the coffee group will ride in front sheltering us from the wind, and that we just had to do our best to remain with them. Then, the group would split, those who felt like it, went back via the bypass, and the rest, via Youghal! I was sensible this time and stayed behind with Fergus, Gerard, Mags , Deirdre, Adrian and Ollie. John was with the front group, but fell back and joined us before we reached Youghal . We took it easy, we had averaged 25kmh from Midleton to Ardmore, and while we could have gone a bit faster, we took our time. Also, we got stuck in a traffic jam in Youghal, seriously!!! An oil truck was blocking the way, and it was not easy to pass the line of traffic…but we managed, and we regrouped after. At that time, we got into a very funny converstion about how best to wash cycling gear. Believe it or not we got good advice from some of the lads, Adrian said to wash it straight away or use non bio, Gerard said to give it to the wife (mmmm, must get myself one of those wives !!!). The craic we had was mighty!! We continued on our way, having lovely chats with Gerard (it was a pleasure to talk to him!). I found myself at the front for a while, and had to be told by Ollie to slow down a bit, go figure, there was no hills!! We stopped by the lake between Castlemartyr and Midleton, and decided to give ourselves a new name, from now on we are the “picnic group”, and next week we are taking backpacks with baked goodies (according to Ollie I am to provide those….), flask with drink of our choice (some mentioned shots!). I was just a bit conscious of time, as I know they were waiting for me at home (it was 13 at that stage! ) so the way from there I was trying to get a “fast” pace, even managed to stay at the top on the small incline after the “two mile inn”. Ollie was cheering me up, all proud of my progress!! When we got to the turn, I managed to break from the group, as it was cleared for me to go, but they got stuck. That was the end of the cycle, as I was near home, and didn’t meet them again (I was riding fast down hill!!!) But I know in the last 8 weeks, I have met fantastic people who have made me glad to join the club. We are not beginners any more, have to come up with a strategy of who to progress to the coffee group, or even get some sort of “in between” group. But the experience has been fantastic. I haven’t enjoyed as much as I did in the last few weeks in a long time. We are now connected mostly via Facebook, and I know Fergus is trying to put something into place to keep the momentum going. There is the appetite for a group like ours to continue I think, and the faster lads and ladies can join the coffee group if so they wish.

I would like to conclude my writing career (unless you want me to continue boring you every couple of weeks) saying thanks to everyone who has contributed to the success of the beginners group 2015!! Too many names to mention or remember. But you all have made this possible for us!

Go raibh maith agaibh!

Last Sunday 8th March saw the “last” day of the beginners group. We couldn’t have wished for a better way to finish our stint as beginners. The weather was glorious, I would even adventure and say better even than in Lanzarote! We had a bit of a headwind, but who cares! We still finished strong! But first, let me give you a brief account of week 7 (if you are a bit pedantic, there was no week 7, as all spins got cancelled due to weather warnings, thank god) . Anyway, on our 7th spin, we met as usual at the Courthouse for 9. With a big group of the club lads in Lanzarote, we did not expected a big turnout, but it was as big as ever. Over 20 I recall, despite all the weather predictions by Fergus, who got it spot on. Route decided, we were going to Watergrasshill via Lisgoold, down to Glanmire and home. “Some” climbs, plenty of rain, hailstones, headwinds, you name it! As we were climbing most of the way to Watergrasshil, it was decided that we will regroup at the coffee stop. So off we went. It was obvious from the start that it was going to be a tough day…one of those difficult to forget! One of our ladies, Deirdre, called it a day, as she wasn’t feeling the love for the bike that morning…glad she did, because it was miserable to start with, and you really needed to be in top form! Once we made sure she was safe on her way home, we continue, some of the lads and Teresa, went ahead of us. And Mags, Fergus, Andy, Barry and myself just plod along the hills as best as I could…ie, I was the one slowing them down. There was a downpour at some stage, can’t remember if its was before or after “the twelve balls”, but we got soaked to the bones!! I can’t thank the guys enough for staying with us, as I think we couldn’t have done it without them!! By the time we reached the coffee stop, the “coffee” group has passed us on the other way (the did the same route only on reverse!), and the rest of the beginners had just left the designated stop and went on their way. At that stage, I was told it was only Pat, Teresa, and someone else whose name escapes me. No idea what happened to the rest of the group, as it was over 20. Ollie stayed behind having a chat with us. He was suffering as his hands were almost freezing and not responding well to the cold and wetness, so he also called it a day, and was waiting to be collected. It was indeed a hard day! The shop were we stopped was selling gloves, and some of the guys bough a few pairs t to change, as really our gloves were all useless at that stage. I regretted not having done so. When we went on our way, we felt the cold, as we were after warming up under one of the heaters in the shop, but at least it had stopped raining, and it was mostly downhill from them on!! Wrong!! There were a few hills. But let’s not dwell on that. The descent was brilliant!! I just love the speed of them!!! Andy tried to give me good advice, don’t go to hard on the flat and descent, save your energy for the hills…not sure if it went it to be honest, sorry Andy!!!! Just before we reached Glanmire, Fergus and Andy were leading, and we came to a T-junction, where someone decided to turn as Fergus was just passing….I was not too far behind, and it wasn’t pretty to watch, the car pulling, Fergus having to manoeuvre around the car…it was very scary indeed to watch what could have been a very nasty accident!! By the time I passed, the car was still mid turn, not sure where to go….We regroup just before Dunkettle, and cycle together to Midleton. Andy reported speeds of 40+ at some stage..it was fun ride back home. I had an almost fall coming to stop by Fergus’ car, who had just had a puncture as we came into Midleton (it wasn’t his luckiest day)..but he managed to stop me from reaching the ground! Thanks Fergus!!

After 8 weeks riding in freezing temperatures, ice, rain, wind, you name it, it was nice to wake up on Sunday to a lovely sunny day!! Route for the day was Midleton to Ardmore via Youghal bypass, Coffee stop in Ardmore and back. It was still cold, maybe 8 degrees or thereabouts, but the sun made a big difference. The group stayed together up until the bypass, where some of us still struggle to go up the hill and had to be waited for at the top…but we are getting better, and Ollie again was there to support me, and to his surprise, this time I was able to talk (unlike that time in Cobh )!! Short stop at the top, where we realised there was another Spanish rider among us (and I had just been chatting to him 10 mins beforehand in English and hadn’t realised! ) Nacho was with his brother in law who was visiting from Northern Ireland , he’s been living in Midleton for 4 years, and I might have convinced him to join the club!! Anyway, the trip to Ardmore was great, loved the descent from the bypass, where I recorded a 51kmh speed, and I overtook a good few people that were being more cautious than me!! But I love speed (you should see me driving!) The road to Ardmore wasn’t the best, but at least it was better than the one the coffee group took (They are all blaming Brendan…. ) We met the lads in the shop we stopped for coffee, where the lovely lady there gave us Christmas cake, in March!! Finally got to meet Richie Watkin in person (we email back and forth for the blog updates, but haven’t met till now!) We took a couple of pics of the two groups together, chat to some of the members that were just back from Lanzarote, and it was decided the coffee group will ride in front sheltering us from the wind, and that we just had to do our best to remain with them. Then, the group would split, those who felt like it, went back via the bypass, and the rest, via Youghal! I was sensible this time and stayed behind with Fergus, Gerard, Mags , Deirdre, Adrian and Ollie. John was with the front group, but fell back and joined us before we reached Youghal . We took it easy, we had averaged 25kmh from Midleton to Ardmore, and while we could have gone a bit faster, we took our time. Also, we got stuck in a traffic jam in Youghal, seriously!!! An oil truck was blocking the way, and it was not easy to pass the line of traffic…but we managed, and we regrouped after. At that time, we got into a very funny converstion about how best to wash cycling gear. Believe it or not we got good advice from some of the lads, Adrian said to wash it straight away or use non bio, Gerard said to give it to the wife (mmmm, must get myself one of those wives !!!). The craic we had was mighty!! We continued on our way, having lovely chats with Gerard (it was a pleasure to talk to him!). I found myself at the front for a while, and had to be told by Ollie to slow down a bit, go figure, there was no hills!! We stopped by the lake between Castlemartyr and Midleton, and decided to give ourselves a new name, from now on we are the “picnic group”, and next week we are taking backpacks with baked goodies (according to Ollie I am to provide those….), flask with drink of our choice (some mentioned shots!). I was just a bit conscious of time, as I know they were waiting for me at home (it was 13 at that stage! ) so the way from there I was trying to get a “fast” pace, even managed to stay at the top on the small incline after the “two mile inn”. Ollie was cheering me up, all proud of my progress!! When we got to the turn, I managed to break from the group, as it was cleared for me to go, but they got stuck. That was the end of the cycle, as I was near home, and didn’t meet them again (I was riding fast down hill!!!) But I know in the last 8 weeks, I have met fantastic people who have made me glad to join the club. We are not beginners any more, have to come up with a strategy of who to progress to the coffee group, or even get some sort of “in between” group. But the experience has been fantastic. I haven’t enjoyed as much as I did in the last few weeks in a long time. We are now connected mostly via Facebook, and I know Fergus is trying to put something into place to keep the momentum going. There is the appetite for a group like ours to continue I think, and the faster lads and ladies can join the coffee group if so they wish.

I would like to conclude my writing career (unless you want me to continue boring you every couple of weeks) saying thanks to everyone who has contributed to the success of the beginners group 2015!! Too many names to mention or remember. But you all have made this possible for us!

Go raibh maith agaibh!


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