There is a guy who regularly comes into the shop called Katz Malackie . Now Katz is not an Estonian sprinter but a van salesman from just outside Clonmel . He never raced , but always had an interest in cycling and often fixes up neighbours bikes , and bikes he ‘pulls out of ditches’ . Obviously Katz was not the name chosen by his mother but rather a blocklayer from Ballynonty who noticed how often Katz referred to politicians , bosses , tipp hurlers, McDonalds burgers and just about anything that annoyed him as being ‘Katz Malackie’ .
Katz’s taste in bikes would be more of the Raleigh , Claude Butler , Falcon variety and when he called in for a few brake cables one afternoon last week I happened to be working on a Specialized S-Works . Never one to shy back from speaking his mind , he glanced over the bike and said ‘ Specialist , who the f**k are they , never heard of them . Some fly by night crowd again I suppose ! ‘ He then went on to tell me about a neighbour who bought one of those ‘Gant bikes and couldn’t get the hang of those fancy gears on the brake levers at all . Things like that shouldn’t be mixed . Sure ’tis like putting the handbrake in the gear lever on a car ‘
He came into town last summer to see the stage start of the Tour of Ireland . He wasn’t a bit impressed with the carry on of ‘your man Tex Livestrong’ . He remarked that ‘you wouldn’t see the likes of Henry Shefflin running around with a Bodyguard on the streets of Clonmel and sure a lot more people would recognise him than some oul cyclist from America ‘
Katz took part in a charity cycle once from Carrick to Galway . He says that he was set up . The boys told him he just had to get as far as Cahir and a van would be waiting to pick them up and bring them to within a mile of Galway where the intention was to jump out and cycle the last bit in before heading on the beer . It turned out that there was a van alright , but it was ‘ full to the gullet of bags belonging to the 50 men and women doing the cycle along with 5 bags of seed potatoes that the bollix in the van was bringing up to his cousin in Claregalway . They stopped in Cahir alright , but just for a bottle of feckin lucozade and a bit a fruit cake ‘. None of the women were trying to get their bikes to squash into the last bit of space in the van so he had to keep going , all the way to Galway . 14 hours later he says that he ‘ fell off the bike in Eyre Square just as a crowd were heading out of a pub and onto a disco . This was back in the eighties mind , so there was none of that red bull stuff on the go but didn’t I spot a young wan with a bottle of this west coat cooler tripe . I grabbed it off her , told her ’twas an emergency and downed it in one go before marching into Supermacs where ’twas like the parting of the dead sea . I was walking like John Wayne with me two legs spread four feet apart . I said ‘ layme up till I get something to bring me back to life and sure didn’t they all step aside and left me on up to get a few dry ould chips and a smokey cardboard burger . Sure twas pure katz malackie but didn’t it do the trick and bring me back to life again . Out I went and met the lads and we didn’t even bother gettin out of the cyclin gear before we got a few pints , only a few mind seen as I fell asleep on the bar of the pub we were in with the pure exhaustion and didn’t wake up until after closing time ! ‘
That seemed to put an end to Katz’s long distance cycling career , but he still manages a few spins every now and then , in woolen gear though , ‘couldn’t be wearing that spandex stuff , ‘twould only make me look like a bag a turnips on a pitch fork ! ‘