FORMER professional cyclist Ciaran Power provided the highlight of the weekend as he guested at a coaching day for the members of the Marble City Cyclers (MCC).
Despite the damp weather a dozen cyclists - Pat Murray, Joe Ryan, Joe Griffin, Mick Burke, Mick Barron, Terry Brophy, Jim Fitzpatrick, James Kelly, Catherine Rice, Neil Butler, Eoin Hogan and Fiona Cooke - turned up for coaching on Saturday.
The day began with a three-hour group spin. The cyclists left their base of Hotel Kilkenny and travelled towards Ballyhale, with Ciaran taking turns with everyone offering helpful comments. Among the tips Power passed on was the alteration of several people’s saddle heights - positioning on a bike is often overlooked by cyclists, but is a hugely important factor to ride comfort and bike efficiency.
After Ballyhale it was time to practice strength training. Power took each individual through a series of low cadence high power intervals, following up with a series of short sprint exercises. The group then headed on to Mullinavat and turned for home via the backroads towards Hugginstown and Newmarket and then back into Stoneyford, before the pace was increased upon reaching the Waterford road.
After lunch at Hotel Kilkenny Ciaran held a two-hour question and answer session, during which time everyone had ample opportunity to quiz him on anything to do with cycling.
Fourteen cyclists turned out on a mild morning for the Sunday spin. The main group headed for Castlecomer, Ballinakill, Abbeyleix, Durrow, Urlingford and returned to Kilkenny. They completed the 110k in four hours, giving them an average speed of 28.5kms.
Part of the group split off in Castlecomer doing a slightly shorter route which took in Ballyragget, Durrow, Johnstown and then back to Kilkenny. This was a total of 70kms.
Tip of the week: Wear out your gears. You have lots of gears for a reason - to keep your cadence (rhythm) in the sweet spot. On undulating terrain you should always be adjusting your gears and aiming to maintain a quick cadence of over 80 rpm. Your cadence should not drop when you hit a drag; simply adjust your gears and try to maintain the same cadence. For silky-smooth gear changes remember to shift before a punchy climb, sprint, or tight switchback.
Marble City Cyclers meets for club spins every Saturday and Sunday at 10am from the gates of Kilkenny Castle.