Throughout Ireland many people earn names other than those chosen for them by their parents. Usually these new monikers are inspired by the actions of the person involved. There’s ‘The Cake’, who fell into a wedding cake at a reception, ‘The Runbuddy’, a builder who constantly walks at a pace even Rob Heffernan would have a job keeping up with and a cyclist called ‘Highly Dangerous’.
‘You wouldn’t want to go down the main road after 3 in the afternoon, ’tis highly dangerous. You wouldn’t want to go down that hill at speed, ’tis highly dangerous. You wouldn’t want to take too many of them gels, ’tis highly dangerous.
Highly has had many a close call on the road.
He approaches roundabouts in the expectation that cars are going to pull out in front of him, which is no bad expectation in itself. But when he sees the car and sees the car driver seeing him he still expects the car to pull out in front of him. But the car driver having seen Highly seeing him slows to let him pass, but highly too slows to let the car pull out in front of him. Amidst the confusion the car eventually pulls out just as Highly realises that he car is stopping for him and the scene of Highly raising his fist shaking it at the car whilst the driver shakes his head in confusion is often played out.
He often crashes on descents. Not dramatic high speed flying through the air at 60 kph crashes, but low speed almost stopped straight into the ditch and roll over into the bushes type of crash which takes about 3 minutes of slow motion surely he won’t manage to actually fall off this time again type of crashes. He never takes his eyes off the ditch at any time before landing in it.
He punctures regularly by managing to find every pothole, piece of broken glass and discarded lump of metal on every road he travels.
He sometimes trains with a clubmate called ‘Blinkers’.
Blinkers is the most upbeat, everyday is sunny, complete dreamer that you could ever meet.
Blinkers is the total opposite of Highly. Blinkers expects and believes that he will win next years Ras without a shadow of a doubt. He has been looking forward to winning next years Ras for twelve years now and has yet to make it to the start line.
Blinkers rarely turns up for a winter training spin, manages to actually make it to two or three at max races each year but still expects and will actually tell anyone who will listen that he is going to win the Ras. He fully expects to win the Ras with less than 350k in his legs for the year whilst most Ras riders will have 350k per week hard miles ‘money in the bank’.
Both of these riders never managed to learn the full value of the fundamental lessons that cycling teaches.
Always look where you want to go :
When cornering or descending look ahead on the road to where you want the bike to go and surprisingly the bike will almost always follow that line.
Always have something to aim for :
Whether it be a race or an Etape or a leisure tour, by having a set goal that you are focusing on it will give structure to your training and help you get the gear on and the bike out the door when the rain is falling or the body is tired after a day at work.
It’s good to take calculated risks :
No race is won by being cautious and playing safe all the way round. There are times when it’s necessary to attack or to go for a small gap in a bunch sprint.
A good season is built upon a good winter foundation:
The Ras may not be won in January but it can be lost by missing out on the base miles that give the foundation for more serious training and racing as the season progresses.
It’s important to be realistically positive :
You can’t win big if you’re always thinking small but if you don’t look after the small things you never win big !