Our next profile feature is on Jamie Busher, a consistent A3 racer not afraid of a classic 'all or nothing' attack who, in addition to his personal achievements in A3 races, has really worked with the other A3 Orwell racers, culminating with victory for Orwell Wheelers in the A3 National Championships this year.


Jamie at the Suir Valley (photograph with thanks to John Coleman).

Age: 40

Years with Orwell: 5 years

What made you choose Orwell?
Orwell has a great reputation in cycling circles, prior to joining I'd been in many an Orwell train on sportives and they had always been a welcoming/fun group. I think the sheer volume of members was an incentive to select Orwell as it was obviously a club open to welcoming new members.

How did you get into cycling?
I'd been cycling from a very young age and owned various bikes from the ages of 5 - 16, my pride and joy was the Raleigh Mustang which was the envy of other local kids. Many a Sunday afternoon was a bike adventure on local Wexford roads with my father and 3 brothers.  In those days I viewed the bike very much as a mode of transport and it ferried me to school, shops, mates etc. Soccer and GAA were my main sports for the majority of my teenage years. In later years I'd developed a pretty impressive smoking habit so getting back on the bike coincided with me knocking the smokes on the head. Whilst back down home in Wexford my father who is a member of Slaney CC took me out on a spin and I took his hybrid, I arrived home after that spin a red faced mess. Old Man 1 - Son Nil.

What sort of cycling do you do, and what do you enjoy about it?
These days it's mostly competitive road racing. I love the Irish racing scene and the buzz around a big racing weekend.  I enjoy the process of training each winter and trying to get in shape for March when the racing begins. It can be a slow process, there are no short cuts other than hard work and experience but it's a challenge I enjoy trying to improve each year however small that improvement is. Another attractive aspect of the racing is you travel to parts of Ireland you may not otherwise see.

I'll still occasionally do some sportives and still love them, no doubt I will be back to them when I hang up the racing wheels.  I miss the annual pilgrimage to Dungarvan for the Sean Kelly tour of Waterford which I would have done with David Bradley and my father in years past.

What are your greatest cycling highs/achievements?
Gran Fondo Milan San Remo 2014 was probably my best cycling experience where I finished 11th overall. Lots of things can go wrong in cycling, throw in a foreign race over a 296km course in 32 degree heat and it has all the potential to be a disaster so I was really pleased to perform well and without incident.

Cycling low/disappointment
I don't get hung up on results so have very little in the way of disappointments, if I get across the line in one piece then it's been a good day. Losing Pat O'Brien this year was a particularly low point personally and for the club.

Favourite training route/coffee stop?
Anything around Wicklow. A particular favourite is Lamb Doyles - Glencullen - Featherbeds - Sally Gap - Luggala - Djouce - Enniskerry and home.


Jamie at the Suir Valley (photograph with thanks to Jonathan Ryan).

How do you find competing in the Orwell Club League? you often win the SS time trials - do you like time trialling?
The club league is excellent and we are really lucky to have this running each summer. The structure, volume of races and variety of disciplines means there is something for everyone from sportive riders taking the jump to racing to riders aiming for the RAS. The standard of racing is improving all the time within the league and there are always strong riders at every level to challenge each other which is great for the club. To be honest I can't really say I enjoy or even look forward to the the time trials as it's all about how much you can hurt yourself, there is however a certain amount of satisfaction to be gained when you perform above your expectations.

You've just finished off a really consistent year - what were the highlights of the season from a person and a club/team point of view? You made a gutsy move at the Laragh Classic but still managed to hang on for fourth place and bronze in the A3 Leinster Champs!
From a club and team perspective it would have to be the national A3 championships in Cong, Mayo. We had a team which was full of depth and strength who were all training hard, performing well in open races. Road races can sometimes be a lottery so to come away national champions was a great day for the team/club and will leave some nice memories. Following on from that race there was some really strong team performances in Wexford and Charleville. From a personal perspective it would be my Leinster bronze medal in the Laragh classic, it could well have been a better colour but in the end I was chuffed as it was a performance I thought that was maybe beyond my aging legs. I was close to my first open race win in the Tralee Manor GP where I took second and was beaten by the width of a tyre so hopefully I can go one better this year.


Jamie and clubmate Bernard English at the front of the A3 bunch on a descent during the Larragh Classic. Shortly after this the two launched an ambitious move, staying out for a good 30km, with Jamie hanging on to bag 4th place (photograph with thanks to Sean Rowe).

Any particular favourite races and plans for 2016?
The Nenagh Classic is like no other race I have experienced in Ireland, it's probably the most selective race I have ever done and the route is completely insane with sections where you descend a near vertical hill before hitting an equally steep climb on the other side, I'd encourage all the racers to give it a bash. Laragh Classic, Shay Elliott and Des Hanlon would be among my other favourite one day races. In terms of stage races top of the pile would be Suir Valley, the standard is super high and it is fully supported by the locals with a saturday evening criterium on the streets of Clonmel town which is a great experience.

Plans next year are for another season of open racing and I will probably target Gorey in the early part of the season and Charleville towards the latter end of the season. I like to do a foreign event each year in Italy and the Gran Fondo Felice Gimondi taking place in mid May is an event that interests me.

Tell us something we don't know about you already?
I played competitive snooker once upon a time until the snooker boom died in the mid nineties.

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