The Weather Gods were less than kind to us for 'Coaching Day' this year. Nonetheless, 12 hardy souls, namely 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, all turned out to welcome Ciaran Power to 'Hotel Kilkenny' this morning. Having considered wind direction, Joe Ryan's expert knowledge of Mick Barron's weathervain, Terry's devout atheism, the rotation of the earth on it's axis, and the likelihood of an Irish victory in Stade Francais, we opted to head out along the exact same route we'd cycled for 'Coaching Day' last year.
We rode as a group as far as Ballyhale, with Ciarán taking turns with each of us and offering helpful comments. He seemed particularily keen to alter several people's saddle heights, and even there & then if someone had supplied him with a set of Allen keys. There was some reluctance to his suggestions from certain quarters (Joe Griffin, I'm looking at you), and despite some capacious-looking saddle bags, no one offered up the appropriate tools; weather may have been a factor.
After Ballyhale it was time to practice strength training. So under Ciarán's watchful eye we powered uphill 'in the big ring' and pushing as hard a gear as we could manage. Not content with doing this once, puff, pant, back down we sped for another go. I'm not naming names, but I suspect there was a bit of down-shifting going on on that second ascent, and once out of Ciarán's gaze..... A bit of sprinting-from-a-standing-start later, and we were on our way to Mullinavat to big-gear it up another incline!
A chance encounter with Denis Keogh, caught rotten out an a solo training spin, and our numbers were increased to 14. Next it was time to up the pace, and increase the rate of up-and-overs, and before we knew it (well, some of us knew all about it!!), we were through Knocktopher and back on the Waterford road towards home, Oh, and some sprints. Did I mention the sprints? Good.
After showering (not a group thing), we sat down to a tasty lunch. Mick Barron said 'Grace', well he mumbled something anyhow, actually maybe he said he was getting tri-bars, God was definitely invoked anyhow!!! We had the Dining-Room of Hotel Kilkenny to ourselves, and seated together at one table, the scene was set to squeeze every last ounce of cycling knowledge from Ciaran. For someone who has enjoyed such an illustrious career, it was refreshing to hear how laid-back Ciarán's attitude is to many of the things other people take overly seriously. He isn't a man for the turbo-trainer (on an un-related note, has anyone seen Pat Tobin lately? Anyone??), he reckons a cheese&ham sandwich is the perfect recovery food, and he wouldn't get caught up on the whole stretching lark. Perhaps the biggest nugget of advice he passed on though, was his emphatic encouragement of Jim Fitzpatrick to spend some quality time in a barrel! Oh and for the record, Ciarán weighs 73kg.
So, a Big MCC Thank You to Ciarán! And best wishes to him both in The Gorey 3-Day, and with his current career as a Neuromuscular / Sports Massage Therapist, check him out at 19 O'Connell Street, Waterford, details on www.ciaranpower.com
And Thank You also to Hotel Kilkenny for once again looking after us so well!