Some racing…

Conor Dunne

So the weather is still freezing! Although the sun has been making an appearance and I do live in hope that the end of the world is not rapidly approaching.

This past week I put in a good block of training with some long endurance rides and some motor pacing.

I also raced a kermesse in the middle of it all but punctured after 80km. The next 20 minutes were spent desperately trying to find the keys to the car. Racing lycra in 0 degrees, my body temperature was decreasing so rapidly I could actually feel panic rising in me, heater on high all the way home!

In preparation for the U23 Tour of Flanders I’ve been doing a lot of riding behind the motorbike. I think it’s fair to say that race is going to be EPIC! Two finishing circuits with Steenbeekdries (Dutch Wikipedia!), Taainberg, Eikenberg and Holleweg. More cobbles than tarmac! Super up for it!

That race is in a week, before that I will race in ‘Triptyque le Monts et Chateau’ a 2.2 UCI race with 3 hilly road stages and a 10km TT stage. A lot of strong teams from around Europe, so it’s going to be tough but I’m feeling in good form and think I have looked after myself well in the ‘tricky’ conditions. I love to get stuck into the racing, my aim is to give the TT stage a really good crack.

The aim is to come out it in good shape for U23 Flanders, La Cote Picardie and ZLM Tour the following week with the Irish U23 team. I’m really proud to be on the Irish team, especially as Irish cycling is on the up at the moment.

Provisionally after that I have a stage race in France and then one in Italy. Stage races means I’m going to have to cut back my porridge intake from 6 bowls a day to 5 bowls unfortunately. Racing comes pretty thick and fast for me now so an exciting month ahead.

The Ras in Ireland might also be in the pipeline for me. It’s an awesome race which I’d love to do again after my experience of it the season before last in my first year as an U23.

In between all the racing I also managed to work on my TT position at Gent Velodrome with my coach in Belgium Kristof de Kegel.

We did 8 runs trying out different positions. It’s an interesting experience, adjusting the bike to fine tune, then testing it and improving it. I learnt a lot from it. I want to take my TT skills up a notch this year, this is a step in the right direction.

Life in the apartment with my good friend and fellow Dave Rayner funded rider Josh Cunningham is going well.

Racing and training leaves important down time to recover, we have both developed an addiction to Words with Friends. It’s getting a little scary as now whenever I read things I’m trying to remember words I can use in the game. I also start my Open Uni course in Business next week which will be something to keep me occupied on recovery days. For me becoming a student means that watching Bargain Hunt and midday tv quiz shows will have to be put on the back burner, not the normal student lifestyle.

In preparation for academic endeavours we also managed to figure out how to buy an actual garden hose in an actual shop and fit it to a tap. A euphoric moment which will save us driving to a car wash with our bikes every other day.

Will write home soon to keep you up-dated!