This week we profile Orwell Wheelers legend Aidan Hammond. Aidan is well known for his great performances on the bike doing Orwell proud and for his current work with cycling clubs and individuals throughout the country as a trainer and expert bike fitter.

 
Aidan en route to a top five result in the 1989 Waller Cup A race in Bohermeen, a race he would win a few years later.

Age: 46

Years with Orwell: Officially since 1985 but you could say since I was in a pram as my father and brothers were in the Orwell.

What made you choose Orwell Wheelers?
It was a bit like the Mafia, it's a family thing! However it's a wonderful club and I'm so proud of what is being done now in the club by everyone.

What sort of cycling do you do at the moment and what do you enjoy about it?
Just enjoy my bike these days and try keep fit maybe 3 spins per week of 1 1/2 hours each. Jump into the odd Time Trial and Triathlon for a laugh.

What are your greatest cycling highs/achievements?
Event wise I won Gorey 3 day, Dunboyne 3 day, Kanturk 3 day, I was 2nd in the Leixlip 3 day and finished 10th in the Blarney 3 day with 3 2nd places on stages in it(Now Ras Mumhain). I also have a number of National time trial and Leinster TT medals, I won Bohermeen back in the late 80's and had a lot of top 5 results in a lot of races (I couldn't sprint my way out of a paper bag) and I finished top 10 in the National Road race in Castleisland. My biggest high however is seeing how the Orwell has grown into, in my opinion the best club in the country for all types of riders.

Cycling low/disappointment?
The biggest disappointment had to be the 1992 Ras. I was in fantastic form and finished in the week winning break on the first day however the next day I was run over by the Italian Team Car on a stormy day and ended up in Galway Regional Hospital for a week and was badly broken up and took me a long time to get over physically and mentally.
The biggest low was losing my brother Kieran who supported my cycling so much and was such an influence on me. We were out cycling in 2002 when he had a massive heart attack.

 
Aidan and David Tansey presenting the prizes at the 2014 Noel and Kieran Hammond Memorial

The Hammond Memorial time trial is a top event run by yourself and the club, it is won by very prominent riders on the scene and is in a discipline you excel at yourself, how special is it to be able to remember your father and brother at this occasion?
Yes this event is special to me, it was a big road race for years, but with circumstances the past few years we have had to change it to a Time Trial. Yes I am honored that the club still support the event and remember my father Noel and brother Kieran, as most of the club will not remember them. Both of them in the past were passionate about cycling and organising events and producing the next generation on Roches and Kellys. I always think of Kieran at this event, when he was alive it was just the Noel Hammond memorial and when I rode it in the past I can remember him standing on the finish line on each lap slagging me off calling me a waster with a big smile on his face, it would just make me more determined on the day!

Favourite training route/coffee stop?
I don't do very long spins anymore, but I do love a spin up by Powerscourt Waterfall and up to Glencreee past Liam Horners memorial stone where I'll always give him a little wave, especially on a sunny day. I'm not a fan of the coffee stops but if I did have one it would be the little coffee shop in Ashford.

How do you find competing in the Orwell Club League?
I only rode a couple of Time Trials last year, but its great to see an Orwell only league again and that we have the numbers to support it. I remember riding it in the 80s when it was just Orwell then too, but in the mid 90's there was only a handful of us riding. The lads are doing an amazing job in running it these days when its so tough to put events on the road,it's a credit to them all.

You've had a profilic Ras career - riding 8, finishing 7, being involved in legendary moves (1992) and having teammates finishing very high in it, what would you say to any clubmates planning for a go at it next May?, for those preparing for their first or second attempts?
What I would say is, remember that it is not the only event on the calender, learn from it and put the form you get from it to good use after it, don't pack the season in when it's over, there are loads of great races after it. Also on the Ras take each day one at a time and never ever be afraid to have a go, be vigilant each day and do your very best to stay in the top end of the bunch every day. And remember at the end of the day it's your weeks holiday, so enjoy the experience.

Any particular favourite races and plans for 2016?
I have a couple of things in mind but that's where they are at the moment IN MY MIND!

Will you be having the banter at w200 in the Orwell peloton?
Would love to, however I help out on the day with the organising so I'll be busy, you will see me at the top of Sliabh Maan doling out the plain water, so be kind to me!

As an experienced cyclist and trainer, any advice to members looking to focus for goals in the new year?
Pick 3 goals over 6 months, write them down and tell your buddies and make them realistic. Talk to others in the club who have done something similar and don't ever be afraid to learn.

Having been in Orwell for your whole life, the first time I met you you told me you were in the club at its lowest point in terms of members - was this about 12 members in 1995 - what do you think of the growth of the club and where would you like the club to be in five years time?
The Orwell is in an amazing place right now and I'm so proud of everyone and the work the committees are doing, you know who you all are. I'm particularly proud of what Dave Mc, Jen Mc and Stephen Ryan are doing with the youth of the club, this is the future. Obviously I have racing in my heart and I would love to see these youngsters continue and become the next generation of Roches etc!

Tell us something we don't know about you already?
Hmmmm! I'm related to Hozier!

 
Aidan at the 2014 I.V.C.A. Hillclimb championships in Kilmacanogue (photo thanks to Brendan Culleton)

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