How better to start this Season with Orwell Social and Women's Rep, 3rd place in the Joe Daly Cycles National League, Ras na mBan 2014 warrior, leader of the Ladies Beginner Group 2015 and of course Orwell Person of the Year - Ann Horan! .....It's also her Birthday today!

The Horan Sisters! Ann (right) and Helen (photo thanks to Ann)

Age: 33

Years with Orwell: Almost 3 years

How did you get into cycling and what sports were you doing before?
I never had a bike of my own as a child but there was a 'one size fits all' bike at home that myself and my seven siblings learned to cycle on.My older brother got a mountain bike for his confirmation and we used to race each other up and down our very pot holed passage. I had a really bad fall one day and decided that bike racing was a dangerous pursuit. I live 10k from Killarney so when I was old enough to get a summer job I got my own bike and used that to get to work. I played soccer in primary school and took up running and rowing in secondary school. I loved the hard training sessions we were put doing in the rowing club-weights, running up mountains and ergometer sessions. I packed in the rowing when I went to college but stuck with the running.

Who takes credit for getting all the Horans to join Orwell?
Being from Kerry it was the Ring of Kerry Charity cycle that encouraged us to build up enough fitness on the bike to complete it. Both myself and my sister Helen did our first Ring of Kerry in 2011 on really heavy hybrid bikes. It took us all day and we were absolutely exhausted after it. At the end of 2012 I bought my racer, took it for one short spin and rocked up outside Joe Dalys for a white spin.I was the only one wearing runners and with bare legs in the middle of winter. Helen and my cousin Breda joined the club shortly afterwards.

What types of cycling do you do and what do you enjoy about it?
I started out leisure riding in my first year and I’ve been involved in racing for the past two seasons.

Ann on the night where she cleaned up at the Awards! (photo thanks to Ann)

What bikes do you own?
A Giant Avail and a Trek Emonda.

What are your greatest cycling highs/achievements?
Crossing the finish line of Ras na mBan and receiving my finishers medal in my first year racing. Getting my first placing in an open race in the first round of the national league down in Blarney this year. I’d put in a really hard winter of training so it was nice to reap the rewards. I got a great buzz out of organising the women’s beginner programme this year and seeing the huge amount of progress the women made in such a short space of time.

Your biggest cycling lows/disappointments?
I crashed this year in a national league race on a wet descent and was terrified riding in a bunch for the rest of the season. Losing the team time trial in the club league this year despite our tactician Luke GJ’s intricate preparation.

Your cycling heroes/role models?
Orla Hendron, Monica Marconi, Ciara Kinch - they are all racing a long time now and they never seem to lose the enthusiasm to train and the appetite to compete. Luke GJ Potter. He leaves no stone unturned in his race preparation and really reflects on his performance after every race to see what he can improve on!

Do you have any advice to members starting out in racing?
I think it's important to get out of your comfort zone from time to time and give things a lash. If you always waited 'til you were 'ready' you'd never attempt anything.

​Ann and some of the hugely successful Womens Beginner Group who started in late Summer and did their 1st 100km Sportif at the Great Dublin Ride. Watch out for these girls as they aim to do the Wicklow 200 in 2016. Chapeau Ann, Chapeau all the new ladies... (photograph with thanks to Ross Pearson)