“To be a cyclist is to be a student of pain….at cycling’s core lies pain, hard and bitter as the
pit inside a juicy peach. It doesn’t matter if you’re sprinting for an Olympic medal, a town
sign, a trailhead, or the rest stop with the homemade brownies. If you never confront pain,
you’re missing the essence of the sport. Without pain, there’s no adversity. Without
adversity, no challenge. Without challenge, no improvement. No improvement, no sense of
accomplishment and no deep-down joy. Might as well be playing Tiddly-Winks.” – Scott
I think we all agree with the author of the above. Why do we cycle? No matter the reason
you get on a bike it is going to involve pain. I hope you will bear with me and my reasons
for getting on the bike. I was missing something. Being involved in sport all my life I
enjoyed a challenge. From 14 years old playing Gaelic football for Castlewellan all I
wanted was a championship medal. It never came. The years went by – no championship
medals. At 30 years of age the spark was gone, I was tired. Did I want to go again? No. By
chance I was out one night in January on the beer in the Stables in Castlewellan and met
Wee Trixie. We talked about football and I told him I was quitting. “Don’t give up” he said.
Give it another go. A championship isn’t far away. He was always positive and a real
motivator. To cut a long story short – back to training I went. Fives weeks of stamina work –
not one ball kicked in anger. Just pain! Week one I was lapped one and a half times in the
five laps of the field. Week 5 I was half a lap behind. Had I improved? Yes but with a lot of
pain and a lot of satisfaction. Suddenly I had woken up to the fact that this was the hardest
training I had ever done but l also believe someone had to pay for it. I’m not training like
this for there to be no payback. After a topsy turvey season we reached the Championship
final and still faced adversity with two men sent off in the final, one either side of half time.
Lining up for the second half I thought about the pain in those winter months. Were we
going to let this slip – no way. At precisely 5.00pm on that Sunday in September 1993 and
at near 31 years of age and almost 17 years of trying, I won my first championship medal.
Nobody remembers these things only those involved will. It is still my proudest moment in
sport. I won three all-Ireland medals for athletics but none of these compared. I went
through pain for that wee medal and it give me the greatest satisfaction. I had played with
some of the Towns finest footballers. I now cycle with them also. It was worth the suffer.
I got back on the bike as I missed all that. At 49 years of age I needed that challenge. I
didn’t fancy middle age spread which had appeared and I battle with always. I guess that
is my challenge I wanted a healthier lifestyle. I now go through that wee bit of pain just
like everybody else to keep as healthy as possible. I admit that I am not a good sufferer.
That said a good set of friends/cycling enthusiasts pull me along (when I let them!). We
don’t realise it but when you are on your bike you achieve all the time. You have good
days but it’s on the bad ones you achieve and learn. A sprint up “The Cut”, finishing
behind Peter on Dree Hill or “The S” (being behind Peter is not a bad thing!) or just getting
up any of those hills is an accomplishment. Pain will always be involved. Some members
recently completed the Tour De Conamara. Had you asked them if they could have done
that 6 months earlier then I think the answer would have been an emphatic “No!” A wee bit
of pain got them there. I hope you don’t mind my former sporting life comparison with
cycling. Pain is pretty much the theme here. Some of it may be listening to the team leader
“get off the white line” “keep pedalling at the front”. We love him really! At the end of it all
is satisfaction and the pain & effort brings that. I will keep on complaining about the pain
and the hills. I will probably still be a pain to listen to. We all got onto a bike for a reason –
to achieve something, to prove someone wrong or just to prove to ourselves what we can
do. It brings improvement to you and I would assume your life. Whatever the reason –
keep doing it! Don’t play tiddly winks!
Monday on TG 4 @ 4:15pm
At the weekend 15 Shimna Wheelers Club members and one Velo Club Mourne member successfully completed a First Aid course. The participants gained valuable skills which could prove vital if an accident ever were to happen when out on Club Rides, at the Sprocket Rockets or at the Inter Club Time Trials.
The promotion, facilitating and successful completion of this First Aid course is a positive step forwards for the Club following on from the donation of the defibrillator to the Club by John Pell. The course was attended by a wide range of members from Club Stalwarts John Greene, Denis Ward and Heino McGrath to the Sprocket Rocket coaches and the mountain bike section representative Mickey Clarke. These members will now be able to go back into the Club and provide fellow members with the peace of mind that they have a trained First Aider available should they ever need assistance.
Photo courtesy of Patrick O’Hare @ the Mourne Observer
Our club kit order has arrived and will be distributed in the Avoca on Friday between 19:00 and 20:30!