Tom Weymes won't mind me saying this but he is one of the elder statesmen of the club and is a real inspiration to all the younger Orwellians out there. At the ripe age of 74 Tom is heading towards doing his 11th Wicklow 200 this June and even has eyes on the 6 day iconic Alpine Classic Cols with the rest of the Orwell Alpine nutters (myself included!).
When some of the rest of the club look outside and see rain, mountains and pain....Tom smiles to himself and gets on the bike. He was a real inspiration for me for staying with Orwell in the early days and has proved himself to be a worthy president for life for the Beast, a great man to share a glass of vino with and above all a great man to say to others....'stop your whinging and get on with it'...this is the one, the only Tom Weymes....

 
Tom climbing the 18km monster that is the Galibier

Name: Tom Weymes

Age: 74

Years with Orwell: 5

What made you choose Orwell Wheelers?
Nearest cycling club + guys I met on the road on solo spins kept telling me about the fun crowd meeting every Sunday.

How did you get into cycling?
Cycled everywhere as a lad, did a couple of hostelling tours, me and my mates on our 4-speeds. Then abandoned it for a working lifetime, till in 1999 my friend Bill Morrissey, who raced in the 50s with the likes of Shay Elliott, Jim McQuaid and J.J. McCormack, had just bought himself a new, classier bike and passed on his old training bike to me with the instruction to make good use of it. I did three Wickow 200s on that steel MBK with the downtube gearshift, and only swapped it for carbon nearly 6 years later. Bill is still cycling as of course am I.

Did you try any other sports first?
Never tried a ball game I wasn't useless at - spent my life hillwalking with a few goes at rock-climbing. Gliding - real gliding, not paragliding or hang-gliding - was an important part of my life for about 15 years. A bit of coarse skiing in the last 7 years.

What sort of cycling do you do, and what do you enjoy about it?
Strictly leisure, hovering around the boundary between pale Yellow and White. Hard to define the completely pointless pleasure of going out and putting 50-100 km of tarmac behind you - but it gets me every time. Maybe it's something to do with endorphins. And the company, courtesy of the Orwell Speed Dating and Social Interaction System, aka the Leisure Group, is great!

 
A cycling legend and some young bloke from Carrick....Tom and the King after sharing a bottle of red

Cycling/Orwell high point?
Finishing the 2015 Tour da Beast along with the main group, 20 minutes faster than the previous year.

Low point?
Either abandoning the nightmare 2011 Wicklow 200 after about 50 km, or crawling along the Maurienne valley in 2015 in 40-degree heat, knowing that my hopes of finishing the Marmotte were totally out the window. (Enormous respect to the Orwell men and women who finished both those events).

Favourite training spin?
Probably the short Killakee-Sally Gap-Luggala-Enniskerry circuit.

Favourite Race/Sportif?
Has to be the good old Wicklow 200, with all its faults. Hope to do my eleventh in 2016, this time with an Orwell group.

Favourite coffee stop?
Kennys in Blessington - I LIKE the fact that it's crammed with cyclists, plus it has Orwell memorabilia on the wall.

Best cyclist you ever cycled with/against?
Couldn't possibly say - though sitting behind Stephen Ryan as he powered down the Baltinglass road at 45 kph during the 2015 Wicklow 200 was awesome!

 
Three legends of the 2011 Orwell renaissance....Tom, with Billy Parker and Eileen Byrne

Person in Orwell who has influenced/inspired you the most?
Both El Distinguished Presidente Denis Gleeson and Man of the Law Billy Parker, veterans both of the Etape and Marmotte, made me feel welcome from the first day I turned up for a Sunday spin and have enthused and encouraged me ever since. But the club is full of people whose goal in life seems to be to help others enjoy their cycling. (Even Garret, with all his mad enthusiasm for piling up the metres). Where would like to see Orwell in 5 years? It's already much more diverse than when I first joined, so that there's a group and a performance level for everyone. I just hope that environment can be maintained.

Anything you'd like to add?
The Orwell Ladies are collectively the most fabulous bunch of women I've ever met.

 
The Orwell 2014 Marmotte Crew

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