A friend of mine at the finishline of the last race of season, asked me this " ...and what will you do now that racing season is over?" I replied "Shoot the lads out training."
He laughed, at my enthusiasm.
A few years ago ,when I had notions of racing, I trained with the lads and one other girl, Sinead Dunbarr, of Kanturk CC. We would roll out from the small North Cork town, in cold, frosty, bleak , all kinds of conditions typically of Irish weather. The group made up of generations, 13 to 50s. All abilities.
I soon came to understand the terms quickly and etiquette of riding in a group. We had the Sunday morning craic and chat as we rotated in the bunch. Never being one for hills or long drags, my lungs often got the better of me, and forced me to shut up, which I am sure some of the lads were thankful of. Feeding was never my greatest skills , and often the "ping" of jellies let loose on spokes could be heard.
I got dropped, I suffered, I held on by a tread , was drafted by the club van....all part of the ritual of training. By the time I got home, my legs would be hanging off me. But the utter sense of achievement outweighed all the negatives.
This weekend I took myself and my camera back to that town, and photographed the lads. They are no longer boys, but Irelands finest racers in training. Eddie Dunbarr of NFTO led out the main group on his own training grounds.
Winter Training - Its the start ,the foundation, dedication, commitment, hours, the friendships.