The latest rider to be profiled is co-organiser of last week's highly successful table quiz, Anne Dalton. Known almost as well for her prodigious cycling talent as she is for her caustic assessments of her fellow clubmates, it really is hard to believe it's been less than a year since Anne blew in and started to turn the place upside down. Read on to hear what makes her tick...
Years with Orwell: 10 months
How did you get into cycling? A Dare!
I was at a work function back in 2006 when a client said he would donate a sizeable enough sum of money if someone would agree, there and then, to cycle the Peter McVerry Dublin to Wexford Charity cycle the following month. I said I would love to oblige but fortunately I didn’t own a bike…..unfortunately he did - 5 of them - and was only too happy to lend me one. The following weekend I went for my first spin on a Road bike along the N11 and had to pull up 20 mins out and ring a tri-athlon friend to ask where I might find the gears! The bike went straight into the garden shed after that charity cycle and over the next 4 years it only ever saw the light of day for the annual charity cycle.
My main sporting interest back then was horse riding which took up all my time at weekends – so when I found myself at a bit of a loose end sporting wise this time last year I decided to dig the bike out of the shed and join a cycling club in order to try keep my fitness levels up.
What made you choose Orwell Wheelers?
The spins meet approximately 5 mins from where I live, so if I said anything other than ‘location’ I’d be lying.
You recently earned the Club ‘Cowgirl of the Year’ Award? Tell us (briefly) how you earned that coveted accolade?
Look it’s all silverware at the end of the day…. A minor drafting incident during a 25mile TT (I had my iPod on and so mistook shouts of “Get the flip off my wheel” as shouts of encouragement from the cyclist who had just passed me out…for approximately 22 of those 25 miles)…but I still stick by the argument that I used (in vain) with the officials at that TT - if your man was such a ‘speedy pants’ he should have kept going when he passed me out and not loitered about in front of me for the next 22 miles… Oh and I drove off after a race in Brittas one evening forgetting that my bike was lying against my car as opposed to in it…and would have happily kept going had I not looked in my rear view mirror to see a few mountain bikers laughing/waving/chasing my front bike wheel around the car park …. I’m sure these things happen to everyone, they’re just smart enough not to tell other people about it.
What types of cycling do you do and what do you enjoy about it?
Last season consisted of Touring at weekends and Racing during the week. I really enjoyed both and I think the fitness I gained from Racing stood to me in Touring and vice versa.
The Touring weekends away at the different sportives last summer were great fun -with the added bonus of seeing some pretty impressive scenery after some pretty impressive climbs. Then the racing was almost addictive – when I joined the club I had no intention of getting involved in racing but after my second or third race I was hooked.
What bikes do you own? Errr….technically I don’t actually own one, but I possibly have the equivalent of squatters rights on the one I ‘borrowed’ 5 years ago, a Trek 1000.
Your greatest cycling highs/achievements?
Getting placed in the Orwell Ladies Crit League 2010 having only cycled for a few months was a massive high.
Personally I would consider managing to hold onto a bike which I ‘borrowed’ 5 years ago as an achievement!
Your biggest cycling lows/disappointments?
‘Blowing up’ very early on and getting lapped repeatedly in my first ever race at the Ladies Crit in Sandyford…..contemplated throwing the bike into the canal after that, and possibly would have if it had been mine to throw!
Another low has probably been the realisation that if I am to be taken anyway seriously in (or possibly even be allowed to enter) races next season then I may have to leave my ‘gel saddle cover ‘ at home …Its getting harder to ignore the strange/disgusted looks from other cyclists, kids pointing etc.
Your favourite training route/coffee stop?
I like the Blessington route but really any training spin which involves a coffee stop makes it onto my ‘favourites’ list. Coffee Stops should be mandatory!
What music is on your MP3 Player now?
Quite an eclectic/tragic mix – everything from Kings of Leon to Spandau Ballet
Tell us about MAWS?
MAWS (Mags' and Anne's Winter Spins) was an idea that was hatched at end of summer 2010 after myself and my cycling friend Mags had cycled a number of sportives around the country with the Orwell Touring Group. We'd both only taken up cycling in the past 12 months and had really enjoyed meeting lots of other cyclists from other clubs on the different sportives. So, MAWS was a continuation of that in many ways – at weekends we travel to different cycling clubs around the country & join them for their Winter training spins. While it was initially just a laugh to give it an 'official' name, and do up a 'report' on the cycles, it seems to have caught on, and cycling clubs seem more than happy to have us along for their weekend spins! If anyone is really bored they can find the MAWS reports to date at http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056048090&highlight=MAWS
On top of some great training spins and weekends away with the different clubs we've also gleaned lots of useful information and advice on all things cycling, such as winter training, the Etape (which is part of MAWS' summer plan), how to organise cocktail parties, good cycling nutrition, who supplies good cycling gear in Ireland, how to keep your toes warm in winter (cling film and deep heat), all manner of province specific cycling lingo and so on!
Your cycling heroes/role models?
Mags Donnelly (co-founder of MAWS)….
You’ve progressed a long way in your short time in cycling with top placings in the Orwell Ladies Crit League 2010 and the Inter-Club League 2010. Where will next year take you?
The first half of this year will take me up and down the Sally Gap – a LOT, as I have signed up for the Etape du Tour in July. There is also talk of the ‘Tour of Flanders’ in April but that is still under consideration. On the racing front I’m hoping to do Inter-club, women’s league racing and maybe even give one or two of the women’s Nationals a shot. Aideen Collard and Paddy Doran are currently working on getting an Orwell Ladies Racing Squad together – so that should be good fun or carnage. Also the MAWS Tour has been extended into Spring/Summer 2011 due to unprecedented demand!
For better or for worse I'm sure we're all going to be hearing plenty more of Anne in the coming year. As Tommy Campbell might be inclined to say: watch this space!!!