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Saddle up for summer-6 weeks on.

The evenings are bright again, the sun is trying its best to shine and the cold winds and hailstones are having their last hurrahs.

It all seems a long time since 6 chain gang members sat down on 3 or 4 consecutive wintry evenings and plotted the “saddle up for summer” drive.

As far as the number crunching goes. We’ve seen in and around 30 new members participating in both the mentored and 22 groups. Over the 5 weeks the mentored group have covered close to 200 km and climbed over 300 metres! Great going!

On the road

Things are without doubt going from strength to strength. The 22 group have kicked on big time. With members showing their strength and ability in negotiating rides such as the Lacey Cup route, Landfill, Listowel and a very demanding Causeway, Ballyheigue spin in challenging conditions. The majority of these riders are well capable of moving up a level or two (some have) and making light work of the transition.

I feel immense pride with the mentored group. From day 1 they all huffed and puffed the 25 km to O’Riadis and back, feeling rightly proud of themselves. Over the next 5 weeks the distance and terrain have become more challenging, culminating in last weeks 45 km spin in conditions most seasoned cyclists would balk at. Wind, hail, rain and sun. Yes the sun did shine! A tricky hill at Currens (no-one had to dismount and push!) finishing with a head on cold westerly blast back along the N22 to Tralee. A stretch everyone’s suffered on at one time or another.

It’s great to see their confidence and strength improving on a weekly basis, as well as the hunger for more road and bigger challenges.

The whole thing wouldn’t have been possible without the help and enthusiasm of the experienced club members. We’ve seen them take the reins and lead with well thought out routes and strategies. Sharing invaluable help and advice to our new members as well getting a few extra miles in for themselves.

The future

So the curtain comes down on the 6 week mentoring course next Sunday. This is the day that we advance to a 50 plus KM spin.

The 22 group is now starting at 9 am like the other Chain Gang groups, giving cyclists the option to pick their preferred spin, right up to the last-minute.

I feel many of the Sunday cyclists are more than capable of making the transition to the Saturday 22 group and in time beyond. For now though, the options are:

  • Progress to Saturday and try the Chain Gang 22 group.
  • The option of forming a Sunday group. I know Saturday is not an option for some riders.
  • Join in for 40-50 km relaxed spin on Thursday mornings at 9am. This  starts from O’Donnells, Mounthawk. Everyone is welcome to come along. Note! this is not a recognised Chain Gang spin.
  • From Thursday 31 March a group of the mentored cyclists are getting together at the Kerry County Council buildings, Rathass, 6:45 pm for a training spin. The distance will be 30 to 40 km.
  • Finally! Watch this space for further developments.