With the Winter spins ticking along and Sportive and Racing seasons both about to kick off, now is an ideal time to rekindle our series of rider profiles before the front page is filled with news of results, and there could be no-one more apposite to be the next interviewee than the man who has been the friendly face of Orwell Wheelers to a significant majority of newcomers over the past few years. Read on to find out more about our current "Clubman of the year", the man known fondly as Uncle Denis...
Years with Orwell? This will be my 6th year.
How did you get into cycling? Tell us a little about your sporting history?
I had been a track runner since 1965. Approaching 2005 (which actually was 40 years since I started running) I decided to have a look at this cycling thing. I had been very interested since I first saw Stephen Roche win both the Tour and Worlds in 1987.
Each year, since then, I watch the Tour with interest. Each year I take time off work to watch the race live on TV.
So back to your original question, I got into cycling because I felt before I fully retired as an “Athlete” I would like to savour what Stephen Roche had felt back in 1987.
What made you choose Orwell Wheelers?
It was a mistake that lead me to Orwell. Myself and Stephen Hayden, also a member of the club, both set out one Saturday morning, late in 2006 to join St. Tiernan's. Nobody from Tiernan’s showed up so we decided to try Orwell, at Joe Daly’s the following morning. The rest is history.
What types of cycling do you do and what do you enjoy about it?
It falls into the leisure cycling bracket. Cycling helps me keep the body exercised.
What bikes do you own?
- A Claude Butler – Mountain Bike
- Two road bicycles; a Trek 1000SL and a Trek 2.5.
Your greatest cycling highs / achievements?
So far I can say cycling in Majorca last year. This gave me the chance to climb some very high mountains and also had the added enjoyment of cycling with Sean Kelly...
Your biggest cycling lows/disappointments?
What I class as a near fatal crash in Spring of 2008. I was cycling on my own in Glen of The Downs when I suddenly discovered a parked car about 10 meters in front of me. Broken nose, 9 stitches above my lip, blood everywhere. But amazingly the two wheels on the bike were still in good shape.
Your cycling heroes/role models?
My hero is not a person but the iconic TDF (Tour De France). I have been hooked on it since 1987.
Your favourite training route/coffee stop?
The hill (it’s not a mountain) from Enniskerry to Glencree.
What music is on your MP3 Player now?
Currently I am listening to Katherine Jenkins and Michael Bublé.
You have been very active in the Club in helping beginners. Why do you do it and how do you keep your patience?
I have been involved in “Athletics” since I was a boy and have enjoyed every minute of it. My best days as a competitor are now behind me, but what gives me the greatest satisfaction now is to see a person new to the sport of any age, who needs a little encouragement and guidance to allow them to fulfil their potential. That’s why I do it. What really frustrates me are people with “athletic abilities” who never push themselves to find their greatness and never achieve what was theirs to have.
The human body never ceases to amaze me, if you train it correctly – feed it and give it rest, it will do virtually anything you ask of it. That’s why we love to climb mountains.
Tell us something we don’t know about you already and you don’t mind the general public knowing?
I secretly know the 6 numbers for next Saturdays Lotto-but I am not permitted to tell.