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MAWS

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  • #2
    While the rest of country was turbo bound for December and January MAWS ‘Manned Up’ and managed some real cycling - a few ‘unofficial’ MAWS outings. On Dec 27th we headed south to the Ballyvaughan Charity Cycle & (optional) Run, and literally ran away with all of their silverware, and another ‘never drinking again’ hangover.

    A training spin with Barrow Wheelers on Jan 2nd saw Anne return, with Dirkvoodoo in tow, for their Sporting 100 on Jan 30th. Meanwhile Mags headed to sunnier climates for some winter training. The moral of this post is that ‘cycling’ along Venice Beach, CA, and wondering whether to go for ‘botox on the beach’ or ‘medical marjuana’ in the afternoon does not make for great winter training.

    MAWS 2011 regrouped and decided to kick off with the North Tipp Wheelers on Sunday, February 6. Mags and Anne headed for Nenagh with another ‘never drinking again’ hangover after organising the annual Orwell tablequiz. (We expect a better Boardsies show next year btw) However, due to severe wind and rain on Sunday morning Mags made an executive decision that the North Tipp Wheelers would never venture out in that kind of weather. Good call as within minutes she’d also realised the key to the Kryptonite lock – securing the bikes to the back of the car – was back in Dublin!!!

    The MAWS 2011 tour would now kick off the following weekend with Limerick CC. Our contact Michael Lynch told us to be at the tourist office at Arthur’s Quay at 9am – sharp. However, when we arrived once again our contact had failed to show – the MAWS’ jinx of our contact not turning up proved true for the fourth time and so once again MAWS landed to a sea of ‘who’ ‘what’ faces!

    Luckily Arthur Schmid took charge of introductions and after providing us with a brief outline of the route ahead (a five-hour option with no coffee stop or a three-hour option…with no coffee stop) he took charge of the 30 or so strong group, as we pulled off he nocholantly mentioned , “it‘s mainly racers preparing for the first race of the season in two weeks time” MAWS: WHAT? No sorry, we’re touring…crap they’ve started so we have no option but to follow.

    With about 3km under our belts Mags lack of serious winter training became apparent in a wheezing noise akin a dying vaccum cleaner. Only 97km to go – this did not bode well, nor did it as with the peloton speeding along at…well some ridiculous race training pace. word was fed to Anne that “that girl that came with you has fallen off the back already”….. Anne contemplated pulling up and waiting for Mags,…for all of three seconds before announcing, “she’ll be grand, she’d want us to keep going” – Luckily for Mags Eamon Horgan (Limerick Tri-athlon Club) and Bob Murray (Limerick CC) felt they owed her a little more loyalty and so went back in a bid to try get her back on – and despite some valiant attempts it was not to be and Mags decided on a U-turn at 25km and headed back for Limerick alone.

    And so the group powered on, with Kilmallock designated as the split point for those wanting to do the 5hour - 135km spin as opposed to the more civilised three-hour 100km spin. Anne opted for the 100km option, offering ‘Well I don’t want Mags getting cold waiting around on me’ as a feeble excuse. And so the elite group of 10 or so turned right for Ballyhea. Turning onto the quieter road Anne took the opportunity to explain the MAWS or in this case ‘AWS concept, different clubs, online blog etc. etc. – Anne suggested that Mags getting dropped might skew the report to which Seamus retorted that Anne dropping Mags might skew MAWS. Good point…and on we cycled towards Ballingarry - after an instruction from Pat to the group that everyone use the pseudonym ‘Bob’ from that point on when speaking with Anne to avoid identification in the report.

    The only let up was when Sean punctured - unfortunately not anywhere near a coffee shop – but it allowed for a photo opportunity and also for Anne to brush up on some Limerick CC facts.
    Some of the ‘best’ Limerick CC are currently in Tenerife, training for the Ras, although we were graced with the presence of Stephen Clancy who is on the U25 Irish squad. There was a lot of talk of the Limerick CC Sportive taking place this May (22nd) of 180km. It’s great Etape training they say – some ‘great’ climbs!

    Mainly a racing club – Limerick are the envy of every county with its 60-mile radius from the coast so they can always choose a route that follows the wind (at back)
    Puncture fixed we were all back on and we headed for Ballingarry, where hills were promised and delivered, before we headed onto Croom with Richie not quite getting/ picking up on the unsubtle hints from Anne around his place in France where he spends much of the year. Even offers that MAWS would babysit his children in France fell on deaf ears – but then again, he was distracted with trying to hide from the rest of the group that he was taking the hills in the large ring.

    By this stage we’d dropped two more off the peleton and with a small crew of five turned onto the main road for Limerick. The last ‘sprint’ back into Limerick was more of intervals, with attacks and uphill sprints all thrown into the mix.

    Seamus spent the last 5km convincing Anne that the Tour of Flanders was a must in the MAWS schedule – if he’s not on a retainer for it he should be – declaring it to be the ‘best sportive ever’ and a must on the Limerick CC calendar with Seamus taking part six times already.

    Martin and Arthur returned Anne to the Tourist Office start point with a request to pass their apologies on to Mags.

    Anne sheepish about the whole ‘sorry did you want me to wait for you?’ but when Mags produced a new dress, two tops and other purchases Anne wondered if she’d made the wrong decision, and off we headed for Galway for our spin tomorrow.

    After hearing half of the West of Ireland’s cyclists rave about Nigel’s Cycle Store on the Tuam Road, Galway, a stop was a must and we left after an hour of chats with Nigel and staff, it’s apparent why the shop is so popular with its great range of bikes and gear and friendly staff.




    A massive thanks to: Arthur Schmid, Pat Spade, Richie, Seamus, Pat , Martin, Steven Clancy, Philippe and all the other cyclists from Limerick CC and Limerick Triathlon Club for hosting us.




    Stats
    Distance: 71 miles
    Time: 03:49:04
    Moving Time: 03:47:36
    Elapsed Time: 04:02:12
    Avg Speed: 18.6 mph
    Avg Moving Speed: 18.7 mph
    Max Speed: 36.4 mph


  • #2


    WAD, this handy chart may help you predict likelihood of droppage in future.


  • #2


    What's this mph lark? Are ye 40+ or something?


  • #2


    Another attachment, the route map, at the request of MAWS


  • #2


    And so to Galway…

    Thankfully the bad weather predicted didn’t greet us as we cycled out the driveway of our B&B on Sunday morning (a bit achy and worse for wear from our previous nights drinking days cycling) for our 9am start the Kingfisher club, NUIG - where a large crowd made up of both Galway Bay CC and Westcoast Wheelers greeted us.

    The large turnout (60 or so at a guess) were split into two groups, a 95km with coffee stop, or 60km no coffee stop. Anne’s hangover caffeine addiction dictated that she would join the 95km Gort bound group, but Mags took a little more persuading after her pretty horrendous spin the previous day, and would probably have opted for the 60km group, had they not left while she was getting the 95km group together for a photo!

    However the longer spin option had the sweetener of the ‘Club Support Car’ – we kid you not! Joe the mechanic from Nigel’s Bike Shop accompanies the spin every Sunday, with a boot full of spare wheels, to ensure that any punctures or repairs are carried out quickly, allowing the rest of the group cycle on - MAWS only suggestion is that perhaps the Club Car could carry some substitute cyclists too for hills and stuff – but apart from that we were both very glad of it later in the spin and something which MAWS is considering incorporating into their own spins – once the funding from Cycling Ireland comes in!

    With Anne leading the way the group of 30 cyclists and took off at a good pace for Kilcolgan. We were lucky to get there, seeing as Anne had Keith Fox from Shannonside Wheelers (and also Murphy Gunn fame) for company up the front and it was only after going through the fourth roundabout that they each realised the other was neither a local nor a club member!

    Meanwhile Mags had spotted and befriended a fellow fan of pink – in the form of Aidan Reade whose Black Rose team bike and kit made her black and pink co-ordinated bike and kit seem ordinary by comparison.

    Club Chairman Aonghus ensured that the group stayed together with shouts of ‘soft pedal’ whenever the pace needed to steady and 25km in Anne had already offered the services of MAWS to Brendan Sheehan Club Treasurer (he was planning to do shout out at the coffee stop to remind people to pay up their club membership) Anne suggested he tell the group that Anne and Mags were actually from Cycling Ireland and had landed on to do a membership audit, the matching-ish pink cycling jackets could almost pass for a uniform…not necessary as a quick survey at the coffee stop revealed that all present were fully paid up – phew!

    Keeping tight, the pace was steady but fast despite miles and miles of potholes which would swallow a grown man – and indeed had, with one of the clubs members coming a cropper just three weeks previously, but excellent bike handling & prompt warning calls ensured a casualty free day. As we headed through the Burren a cold fog descended and the extra loop at that point was put down to some front cyclists not seeing the turnoff for Gort! Luckily Anne and Mags were drafting the self named Gonzo (his jersey may have had a subtle hint on it – although we never saw the Gonzo socks he claimed to be wearing), and despite the extra few miles the pace picked up heading into Gort and the coffee stop was much appreciated. Despite loitering around the Valentines section of the petrol station shop MAWS were pretty disappointed at the lack of flowers/cards/chocolates coming our way, but we’re assuming they’re in the post……

    With little warning for the newbies and visitors the coffee stop ended quite abruptly and MAWS were caught on the hop, gloveless and helmetless and busy chatting, as everyone else knew the cue and sped off. As we fumbled with gloves, lip balm and lattes by the time we were out on to the road there wasn’t a cyclist in sight such was the distance between us and them. How did we get them so wrong? They seemed so friendly, so hospitable - to then just abandon us…not so, we turned the next corner and there was Joe waiting for us in the club support car, hazards on and with MAWS glued to the bumper off he set and within five minutes we were back in the bosom of the group, or at least in its slipstream.
    We could have done with the car sticking around though as the pace picked up, with an average of well above 35km for the next 10km (Mags would like to take this opportunity to point out that she wasn’t being rude…she just couldn’t really breathe…so idle chatting was not a runner) and so it came as no surprise for us to learn at this point that Galway Bay CC had a Ras Team last year, some very strong racers overall and a few ironmen in their midst!
    And with such a speedy pace the signs for Galway City centre loomed quickly, hard to believe 100km had passed so quickly and pleasantly. Anne got chatting to Padraic Quinn from Velotec (the kit manufacturer responsible for kitting out clubs all over the country along with the smashing Galway kit - an eye catching blue and white - and Nigels shop-branded gear) on the final stretch and became so engrossed with thoughts of MAWS Pro-team kit possibilities that she overshot the turn off for base. Home safe and sound, Mags followed Brendan back to base along with Terry and Tony, relieved to have managed her first 100k cycle of the year, which finished in glorious sunshine.
    As Brendan was about to depart, who should appear only Dave Corcoran from the National School of Remedial Therapy (www.NSRT.ie) – who MAWS had met in their B&B the previous evening. With an offer of a free deep tissue massage extended to all three us, Anne, Mags and Brendan were superbly looked after by Dave, Austin, Brendan and Emer. NSRT was running a training day in the Kingfisher centre for students taking a course in sports and massage therapy and were looking for sporty volunteers to give up their bodies to science for an hour!
    However, science had its hands full and may have regretted its offer, firstly the students were taken aback that cyclists don’t wear underwear – deal with it – and secondly when Anne spotted four different therapists surrounding Mags while poking and prodding her legs/feet – to varying octaves of yelps and ouches from Mags. One ‘simple’ prod of an acute injury they found in one leg was enough to have her jump a foot high off the table in pain. For the second time in as many days a cock could be heard crowing in the back ground as once again Anne shook her head when asked ‘isn’t that the girl that came with you?’
    Food was the only thing left on the agenda and so with loosened muscles MAWS headed for a yummy tapas in Cava where meatballs, venison sausage, Spanish omelette, olives and goats cheese croquettes were all devoured by Mags, Anne and Padraic Quinn who discussed MAWS future kit. (No Brendan no frills, lace or halter neck options were put forward!)
    A massive thanks to Brendan, Aonghus and all the guys from Galway Bay CC & Westcoast Wheelers, Joe in the support car and Dave and his team in NSRT. (Mags will be in touch about donating her body for scientific research if MAWS doesn’t work out). To Nigel and the team in the bike shop for magicing Anne's bottle cage onto her bike free of charge (and apologies for telling your customers that 'we' were offering 25% off all stock while you were outside fitting it!)

    Back to the car and tired (but not achy - thanks Brendan and Emer) we hit the road for Dublin, just as the bad weather predicted for earlier that day begins to lash down. A great weekend – all in all we couldn’t have asked for a better start to MAWS 2011.
    Next week sees MAWS heading to the south east for a spin with South East Road Club and Arklow on Sunday, February 27th. A volunteer will be needed for our stats though, as Mags discovered her Garmin charger hanging out the door of her car Monday morning after going through a car wash. It may be clean but it’s certainly not working….

    Route: Galway – Kilcolgan - Ardrahan – Gort – Cappagh More – Burrin – Kinvarra – Ballinderreen – NUIG
    13 Feb 2011 09:07:37
    Ride Time: 3:13:30
    Stopped Time: 22:56
    Distance: 103.76km
    Average: 30.93km/h
    Fastest Speed: 54.40km/h
    Climb: 320m
    Calories: 3318


  • #2
    The 95/103km crew from Galway


  • #2
    And then there were nine…

    After a very good spin with the Orwell Ladies Training Squad on Saturday (thanks to Aideen and Dave) to Meath and back, MAWS were off to the South East Road Club (SERC).
    The time has come for MAWS to do/learn some basic bike maintenance – Anne had to go into Joe Dalys bike shop on Friday evening in order to get her back wheel reattached to her bike having taken it off after the previous MAWS spin for transportation purposes…. Mags being somewhat more self sufficient – put her own back wheel on but managed to mangle her back brake in the process – and her own mechanical effort to rectify matters left her with two spare parts – when there was only three to start even she knew that didn’t bode well - luckily our SERC contact, Derek, was able to make sense of the ‘Mags bike jigsaw’ strewn across the foot path outside Revolve Bike Shop in Gorey, which greeted him on Sunday morning and make the bike road worthy for the spin.
    Now, cycling groups are funny things – there’s always lots of politics, internal and inter-club rivalary – and the SERC has its fair share of all this. But, one thing it has sorted quite nicely is the official twinning of the Gorey and Arklow arms of the SERC. Gorey is home to one half, while Arklow is home to the other, and it’s seldom the twain meet - however an exception was made this weekend and so the Gorey contingent headed off out the road to rendezvous with the Arklow arm.
    As we headed out the road, we met two cyclists coming the opposite direction - assuming this was our Arklow contingent MAWS made to do a U turn and join on – thankfully Derek quickly pointed out that these guys were actually Ironmen Derrick and Garreth out for a training spin, and were probably cycling to Cork and back as a warm up before running 50km… so we agreed to let them on. But 10 minutes later about 30 cyclists appeared around the bend and these was our guys.
    Leisurely spins though don’t seem to include coffee stops, despite Mags’ gentle suggestions beforehand, and MAWS’s usual group picture took place on a roundabout! Mags dashing across to the central island while trying to avoid the Sunday morning Mass traffic was no mean feat in cleats – see, there really is a need for a coffee stop! Back on again it wasn’t long before some of the younger cyclists were dropped out the back – but fair play for 12 year olds to hang on as long as they did!
    We soon cycled through Courtown and on for Ballygarrett at which point the pace started to rise as we went up the little drag by Ardamine and on through the village of Poulshone and the breathing started to become laboured as Frank O’Leary from the Arklow arm set the pace. Some very audible grumbling from behind did nothing to slow him down, but the abuse might have led to his early departure back to Arklow.
    As we passed through Ballygarrett and the windmills of Ballywater were on the horizon, Derek used his “I have a pregnant wife who was due yesterday” card and turned off and took a shorter route for home, taking Reece, Mark and Mick Considine with him (for their midwifery skills possibly?)
    The group stayed together well considering most had been out on a long spin together the day before and some seemed to still be recovering from the previous weekends over night Valentines’ Spin to Kilkenny (Did we mention they are a ‘very’ close club?) Speaking of which Derek would like to clarify one last time that those noises which kept everyone awake in Kilkenny were NOT emanating from his room!
    Two of the more ‘senior’ cyclists, Michael and Mike, are planning on taking part in the Paris-Brest-Paris randonnee this August. Mike has a 66% success rate in the event, from three starts, but it will be Michael’s first attempt. It’s a 1,200km ‘spin’ with a series of qualifiers and rules and the goal is to make it within 90 hours. Team tactics between M&M have been honed to tee, Michael told us. If one is wrecked = dumpsville!!! Sounds no different to the usual MAWS team spirit really.

    Roads were every bit as atrocious in Wexford as all over the rest of the country with one club member telling Anne they sometimes just call when there is a bit of good road as its easier! From Kilmuckridge the pace picked up further and the pack started to drop riders, unbeknownst to those towards the front and MAWS ended back in Gorey with just seven companions! Derek was there to greet us (his early departure due to his expectant wife washed with no one, and MAWS suspects he doesn’t even have a wife….well so Claire said!)

    MAWS voiced their concerns as to the number of dropped riders and their possible where abouts. Derek seemed worryingly unconcerned though, claiming they started out the year with about 500 members but seeing as they drop a few each weekend are now down to about a core of 40 or so members…and counting. It was at this point Derek announced that he had SERC polo shirts for MAWS with ‘MAWS on Tour’ printed on the back of them to mark the event! To say we were chuffed was an understatement. He was also savvy enough to announce they were both ‘mediums’ rather than risk insulting anyone with his own guesstimate….So while MAWS were well chuffed, Claire, Gerry and the other club members didn’t seem so impressed. We shuffled quickly towards the car, to leave Derek explain the whereabouts of club members’ polo shirts and see if his ‘my wife was due yesterday’ excuse would work again!


    Distance: 60km
    Average Speed 25km
    Max Speed: 51km
    Cycling time: 2hr 21


  • #2


    MAWS are delighted to announce the launch of An Post MAWS RAS 2011! A few weeks back we had a novel idea and decided to invite a few semi pro/pro teams from around Ireland and the world to join us on an 8 day racing tour of Ireland, taking in towns such as Portumna, Kilrush, Castleisland, Castletownbere, Blarney, Tramore, Kildare, and Skerries over the coming week. The up-take from proper racing cyclists was phenomenal & as a result An Post contacted us and asked to sponsor the event!

    Then the nice people at An Post suggested that rather than have us cycle the route, they would give MAWS an An Post sponsored car (2L TDi....woo hoo) to drive ahead of the race for the week and act as official 'Crowd Warmer Uppers'...I know??!!
    Mag's & Anne may not be race fit for the rest of the season as a result....but are determined to last the week despite rumours/wagers within Orwell that we will be sent home by day two...

    We have free stuff to give out, an An Post Ras sponsored car, 'Access All Areas' authorisation, and a wager to win..... coming to a town near you - you've been warned!

    Also we will be sporting our new MAWS Kit while stalking/standing close to aforementioned proper racing cyclists...so hopefully some picture updates over the week...perhaps even a podium appearance!!!!


  • #2


    MAWS wrote: »
    ....taking in towns such as Portumna, Kilrush, Castleisland, Castletownbere, Blarney, Tramore, Kildare, and Skerries over the coming week....

    Does anybody else think someone should phone ahead and warn them??? They may be prepared for The Ras, but are they ready for MAWS.......;)

    Lock up your menfolk......


  • #2


    Lock up your menfolk......

    The night stages are world renowned for good reasons........

    Jan Kirsipuu was once spotted at 0300 the night after winning a stage looking for a club with "sexy women" (after a rumoured 15 rum and blacks).
    Still finished 4th the next day as well...


  • #2
    Two day and one night stages survived and we spotted Captain Havoc and Hail to da Thief lusting after hot cyclists in Kilrush today!!!


  • #2


    Two day and one night stages survived and we spotted Captain Havoc and Hail to da Thief lusting after hot cyclists in Kilrush today!!!

    Captain Havoc was very impressed/distracted by the "hot cyclists"! So much so that he only narrowly failed to drive his car into a ditch on the drive back to KK. Clearly his mind was wandering!


  • #2


    Fairly sure I saw a MAW at brekie this am.


  • #2


    If I was 20% younger and 100% less married......


  • #2


    Is somebody celebrating the end of the Rás?


  • #2
    So, after a quiet spring with just a few club cycles MAWS hit the road again. This time in a car. And a very nice car it was too – thanks to An Post and leaseplan.ie we joined the Ras as Official Crowd Warmer Uppers sporting a jazzed up 2L Skoda VRS.

    Stage 1
    Sunday (Dunboyne – Portumna)
    With neither Anne nor Mags ever having driven an estate car previously, parking our MAWS mobeel proved to be quite the challenge and upon arrival at Dunboyne Castle on Sunday morning May 22, we managed to draw the attention of a number of bystanders, including the Gardai – FARK – Mags’ cousin is one of the Garda motorbike cavalcade with the Ras for the week…..this would either turn out to be very beneficial or not for us. Fear not the tone was set early on as The Loobster (see pic – we did not give him this name!!!) and Co were amongst the first to join us at the bar in Hayes pub in Portumna for a few drinks on the first night of the Ras. Having been warned of the tough week ahead, for us and the cyclists, we left the bar at a reasonable hour and got to bed in time for a sleep before breakfast...starting as we definitely didn’t mean to get on!


    Stage 2
    Portumna - Kilrush
    Gael force winds and torrential rain - Monday was difficult, for us too in the car. Even with a couple of hundred An Post t-shirts and our not inconsiderable luggage in the back of the Skoda, we were all over the road at times, though that may be our driving skills.
    What do you do when an icon light resembling a tyre comes on the car dash? Ask a Garda? “Go to a garage and tell them it’s a bit soft on the bottom all round” was the most helpful advice we received from the guffawing traffic corp – which wasn’t all that funny an answer Mr Garda, especially not with Mags’ thinking that car and bike wheels are kind of similar and so should probably take the same amount of tyre pressure (somewhere around 100 whatever on the wheel pumper up thingy was her aim). She almost had one end of the car considerably higher than the rest (it was at 75 whatever) when a random passer by thankfully intervened and took the wheel pumper up thingy off her in time. So, despite Mags best efforts to wear the front wheel on her face, we got to Kilrush in one piece, handed out 400 t-shirts and headed back to our hotel where we met up with Robert Haws from the Burren Cycling Club who’d just completed the Race the Ras stage, the SIS Ras team whom we discussed (harassed) future MAWS sponsorship deals with (thanks for the water bottles – it’s a start), along with mechanics/masseurs/managers who were more than happy to chat to us till the early hours. Mags, who was spotted trying to negotiate more alcohol from the night porter at 3am took the Stage win in Kilrush with a post 4am finish time.


    Stage 3 Tuesday
    Kilrush to Castleisland
    Stage 3 and we were in the swing of things. With race commentator Ted Crowley leading the way & trying to keep us on the straight and narrow as we drove the Ras route some 10-20 minutes ahead of the peleton, we asked for a promotion with Ted and he duly obliged. We’d gone from been described as ‘An Post girls’ to ‘Women of the Ras’ over his megaphone as we hit every town. It wouldn’t be long before personal details of road frontage and phone numbers would be announced before we got to every town!
    Our base for night Stage 3 was the Earl of Desmond which saw Mags crash out in spectacular fashion. One red wine and one gin had her grumpy and in bed for the night by 9pm. However, in true MAWS spirit Anne flew the flag (high on the news that she had managed to win bronze that evening is the Women’s Criterium league…while drinking wine in Tralee!) with Trish and Sandra, who after a failed attempt to commandeer a Ras judges motorbike in the carpark (see photo), eventually settled for a lift into Tralee in the back of a van with a couple of Gardai, judges and ‘Sign On Here’ signs. The fact that the sign-on signs may have been pointing towards the MAWS room the next morning was just a happy coincidence!


    Stage 4
    Castleisland to Castletownbere
    What does one geographically-challenged receptionist, the HAWT Rapha Condor team (complete with yet to be disqualified Stage 1 winner), and a 12k run in some woods around Glengarriff have in common? Not a lot, but on Tuesday night it was MAWS. So, Mags and Anne set off on separate jogs, in different directions, from the hotel in Glengarriff, manage to bump into each other in the woods and promptly get totally lost. An hour later we manage to run our way back out of the woods, and bump into the Rapha Condor team at dinner….who joined us for a drink in the bar. Serious athletes? Them = yes. Maws = looking less likely with each glass of wine. Ben Greenwood just seemed scared of us, but James McCallum, Dean Downing and Casey Munro showed nerves of steel when bombarded with MAWS-type questions. Nevertheless, we all had a laugh, and MAWS suspects Dean Downing’s later disqualification was, in fact, a deliberate attempt to rejoin MAWS for a proper night out!


  • #2
    Stage 5
    Castletownbere to Blarney
    Into Castletownbere for the start of Stage 5. Topaz coffee is now banned by Anne, although Mags is less fussy. The jury is still out on fruit or not in scones.
    Castletownbere though will hold fond memories for us for a long time. Never have we had so many men fuss over us – ok our radio, not us. But with Alberto Elli sorting us for coffee and a plethora of Ras official men sorting our radio just moments before the Ras took off, we were in business for the day.
    This stage also saw Dean Downing being banned from the race, much to Mags’ delight as she figured if Dean ain’t cycling…..pants, word reached the MAWS camp that he was on the first flight home following his disqualification. Never one to be knocked at the first hurdle though, it gave Mags an idea and she cornered the Ras commissar Gary McIlroy (who was by now the part-time mechanic for MAWS) and requested that he only disqualify HAWT cyclists for the remainder of the race…surely at least one of them would stick around and need a shoulder to cry on!
    It should be pointed out that we had managed to commandeer a flashy orange roof siren light and an ‘officials’ race radio from the RTE jeep which was following the race - this allowed MAWS a license to (in our opinion anyway) park where ever, beep whenever and generally disregard the rules of the road/local Garda. It all could have turned a bit sour when Anne was a tad over zealous on the beeping going through Bandon, a local squad car coming the other direction was not in the humour and to MAWS horror they watched the squad car do a U-ey and follow them into the petrol station where MAWS pulled in to refuel (diesel and coffee). With Anne at the petrol pump doing her best to avoid eye contact, Mags abandoned ship and ran for the shop. Crap, according to the ve-hicle they were driving it was the ‘Armed Garda Unit’, which Anne knew might aswell have said ‘No Craic Unit’ as she furiously tried to think up of valid excuses for her unruly behavior - the Garda approached donning his cap…he walked straight up to her and said; “Any chance of a few Ras t-shirts?”
    Stage 5 also saw some flashing other than the flashing orange light on top of MAWS car….but, to allow that boardsie maintain what’s left of their dignity we won’t name names. It was over dinner in Blarney that night that Mags thought it appropriate to hi-jack the CEO of An Post with a view to allowing MAWS do podium girls for the remainder of the Ras. He seemed rather hesitant/scared and so Mags suggested he think about it while we wandered off around Blarney looking for a suitable spot for an early evening tipple. We found one and both of us put in a sterling performance that evening but the stage win in Blarney went to Anne with a very impressive 4.30am finish time – it was Anne’s turn to drive the next day, that didn’t happen!

    Stage 6
    Blarney to Tramore
    A very ropey start in Blarney saw MAWS leaning being held up by against their car at Race Sign-On. Sunglasses were a mandatory part of the MAWS An Post Ras uniform at this point, as much to keep out the hangover inducing day light as to allow them to check out pro cyclists – bikes – undetected. However, the lack of sleep was starting to take its toll and Anne was beginning to take issue with people looking for free t-shirts??…especially the lady who asked her for “a size 9 and a size 11”. Anne just said ‘Yeah sure’ and handed her two ‘XL’s’.
    By 12pm and technically working on her own, Mags had come up with a new plan which involved just slowing down slightly as we drove through villages, opening the drivers window and offloading a load of t-shirts out in the general direction of the crowds. We arrived in Tramore, blatantly abandoned our car on a double yellow line, threw the remaining t-shirts at some nearby Gardai and stationed ourselves in the best possible position to watch tired competitors cycle sloooowly passed us along the steep uphill finish…sun glasses on: Check!
    The night stage in Tramore involved an official Ras/An Post entertainment evening. MAWS went, MAWS drank, MAWS conquered!
    Anne managed to get into rounds with some of the Engraveit.ie team after one of them accidentally knocked over her drink at the bar, a move he later regretted as she was overheard calling competitor Stephen Gallagher (Ras Winner 2008) ‘No craic’ for opting out of round number 4 at 1am! Meanwhile, Mags decided to corrupt the traffic corp, rather than the cyclists, and headed off with them to Tramore’s finest niteclub….she was back less than 30 minutes later. However the fresh air had taken its toll on Mags and again Anne took the stage win with a fine 4am finish.

    Stage 7
    Tramore to Kildare
    We are actually not sure who drove this stage…..but one of us must have because we arrived in Kildare about 800 t-shirts lighter than when we left Tramore. It was clear we were getting cocky or disimproving as our refuel (coffee and lunch) stop saw us get passed by a breakaway group. Mad dash back to the car, and luckily our flashy light and nerves of steel and close relations in the traffic corp allowed us to get back in front of the race in a very speedy manner. It did mean we had to share a sandwich.
    Kildare town was pumping with people…fark! This time we parked the car in its entirely up on a footpath because…well because we could with our flashy light. Mags headed off to find Robfowl (official Ras doctor) for some magic potion to try relieve our constant state of ‘near death’. Re-hydration sachets and some placebos kept Mags from hooking herself up to the IV drip, while Anne single-handedly fought off the masses of people who ‘more than anything in the world’ it appeared, needed a green t-shirt that afternoon.
    The cyclists arrived…we whooped and hollered…a little less than on previous days possibly.
    Stage 7 also saw Anne’s enthusiasim earlier in the week come back and bite her in the ass. She had been annoying traffic corp, judges and marshals alike for “a go on the back of the motorbike” all week – unfortunately for Anne the Ras judges Eddie and ‘Shocks’ came good Friday evening in Kildare (unfortunate in that Anne had found sitting upright in the car a challenge on that specific day…) and so Eddie gave up his spot as pillion passenger to allow Anne a motorbike ride from Kildare to Dublin…..she arrived at the Greenisle hotel, dismounted and took off the helmet to display a rather green complexion!
    Being the eve of the final stage some of the cyclists were a bit more amenable to ‘chats and drinks’ at the bar in Greenisle that night. We assaulted (no other phrase for it) most of the Rapha Condor team, Anne also used this window of opportunity to try lure some of the unattached (in every sense) Ras cyclists to Orwell, while Mags posed for photos with the New Zealand team having taken a curious interest to Shane Archbold’s hair style. With the end in sight Anne was unwilling to let her lead go and took yet another very impressive 4am stage finish. Mags knew it was a good thing that the week was nearing an end as next morning at breakfast when all the talk was of the Firebrigade who had stormed the hotel the night before with full flashing blue lights & sirens, Anne turned to Mags and said “Firebrigade?”

    Stage 8
    Kildare to Skerries
    Once again, Mags drove...super Domestique! Upon arrival in Kildare on Sunday morning she propped Anne against a telegraph pole with a bundle of T-shirts and went about the usual MAWS morning leering 'meet and greet' session. Spirits were high on the last morning and cyclists, mechanics and Ras crew were all in good form…lots of farewells from cyclists with one even saying we had ‘brought a bit of glamour’ (their words, not ours!) to this years Ras!
    It was with a heavy heart that we put the flashy roof light going, spilled more coffee on the race radio and pulled out ahead of the ‘Men of the Ras’ for the last time…and then quickly screeched to a halt, Anne had spotted the entire Ras Traffic Corp lined out for a group photo, MAWS bolted from the car straight into the middle of the photo, in fairness they didn’t seem to mind and some had even hinted that MAWS might make a good cop duo – back into the car and off we set for Skerries.
    With our ‘access all areas’ badges MAWS plonked themselves right in front of the stage in Skerries and like two demented groupies clapped, whooped, hollered and leered at each of the teams as they went on stage to accept their Ras Medals. Shane Archibald showed his appreciation by coming down off the stage and giving the bunch of flowers which he received for his Stage 8 second place and for his first in the points competition to Mags and Anne.
    The Ras week was an absolute blast, it was everything we hoped it would be and much more…..as we left Skerries on Sunday evening the An Post official called us back to say that they had already discussed the situation and they were hoping MAWS would consider coming back again next year – and to bring dresses as a podium appearance was on the agenda! Woot woo



    MAWS wish to say a massive THANKS to the following:
    • Rob Fowl – Ras Doctor for allowing us to be fully functioning alcoholics for the week
    • The Traffic Corp…especially Garda Lubricant
    • Judges and Marshalls (Eddie in particular)
    • Shocks – for calling Anne’s bluff re motorbike ride
    • Gary McIlroy– for fixing our race radio – it never actually worked though?
    • All of the An Post Ras crew….Aileen, Fergal, Quigs, Ted Crowley…
    • This years An Post Podium girls for making it possible for us to get the gig next year…..


  • #2


    Great reports of hard-fought efforts!!!


  • #2


    Always with the road frontage.


  • #2


    Is there a prize for anyone who spots a ride bike in any of the photos?


  • #2
    WW200: Tick…done…over…never again

    After an utterly disasterous (for both of us) Carrick Wheelers 160km Sportive trip the previous weekend, MAWS needed to do some serious pedaling at the WW200. Come hell or high water we were finishing the WW200, end of.
    So, frantic trips to Cyclesuperstore, Joe Dalys, Cycle Surgery and Tesco on Saturday meant we had our body weight in food & food supplements, oh and heated insoles - not that they were of much use seeing as Anne opened the packets on Saturday evening to have a look at them….these were ‘single use’ insoles which heat up upon contact with air (As CLEARLY stated on the packet) and hence were rendered null and void by about 8pm Saturday evening – doh!)
    Our basic plan is to get there early, sign on early and finish early. That gives us the whole bloody day to tootle around if necessary, because we ARE finishing it. Although a pre-cycle offer from another Boardsie of ‘If you end up on your own give me a shout’ = ‘I’ll collect you IN a CAR’, in Mags’ head, was dangerous talk.
    So off we set at 06.30, in relatively nice conditions. It was actually sunny, but a little overcast for the first hour or so, and we got to the top of Sally Gap before any sign of rain. Putting on rain jackets Mags discovers that her gilet has in fact got a mesh back…so where does the rain go? Ah yes, straight through the mesh….
    Our super early start meant we could tootle along at a very handy pace, but the turn in weather at the top of SG meant we ate our quartered bagels (thanks JT – great advice and best food we had all day) at speed heading down off SG. At least with the lack of cyclists around us we could speed on, we stopped briefly in Hollywood/somewhere for a quick tea in a shop and so ignored the first feed stop and head for Slieve Mann. It’s not pretty. We’re not pretty. Life is pretty miserable at this point and Mags suggests “we don’t really need to finish it” (vague offers of a lift IN a CAR are ringing in her ears). But no, Anne is having none of it and off we go again, another 20k in rain before we need to contemplate proper hills.
    At this point we split up. No, we didn’t have a row, just differences in pace, and Anne joined in with a speedy group which passes while Mags sticks to her guns of ‘I’m tootling around today’ and settled into her own company for the next 40km.

    Let’s be honest here Slieve Mann is disgusting, even at the best of times. First off there was a hill before it, where the man from Tullamore asked Mags if this was Slieve Mann. “Nope, sorriee”, but at least you’re not the dude in the Pink Floyd-esq jersey on the Ridley whose chain broke at this point. Mags’ nod towards sympathy translates into a hollar of “sh*t” in his general direction as she pedals off. It’s not like she could offer any assistance, unless he was interested in quarter of a turkey rasher bagel.

    Anne, meanwhile, had left her speedy group behind with a mantra of ‘just get this farking thing over and done with’ propelling her along at a good pace. Having never cycled up Slieve Maan before she was one of the large number of cyclists that day who smugly thought they had reached the summit of Slieve Maan, wondering what all the fuss was about only to turn the corner to see….Crap! Slieve Maan’. She also began to question the sense in MAWS decision to leave early in order to avoid the crowds….Cycling 101: crowds = shelter!
    So, with delirium setting in she continued on her solo cycle until she met with fellow Orwellians John L and Stephen S at the top of Glenmalure, where she surgically attached her front wheel to the back of John L’s for the spin into the second feedstop in Rathdrum.
    Further back, Mags trundles up Slieve Mann and Shay Elliot, it’s lashing rain, with hailstones and the mist on top means you can see nothing, but hear some odd beeping. Is there a car coming down? No. Is there a car on the top? Yes. Actually, there’s about eight, beeping, whooping and cheering, complete with foam hands!
    Down off Glenmallure and into the feed stop at Rathdrum. It’s a bit like a scene from Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ once you go in the doors…people shivering, laughing nervously and generally looking completely disheveled, and that’s just Mags. At least there are some friendly faces from Orwell Wheelers, with John L, Stephen S, Stephen H, John T and Leo all looking decidedly the worse for wear, but remaining remarkably cheery.
    Anne, unable (not trying to hard) to find Mags at the food stop and after having had far too much ‘me time’ already that day took up the offer to continue on the remainder of the journey with John L and Stephen S, she bumped into Toblerone1978 outside who really seemed to be having a day of it, having forgot a few fundamentals on route to Dublin that morning for the WW200….his registration card, his number, his energy bars and oh yes….his bike?? Meanwhile, abandoned once again by Anne, Mags moseies around the feedstop and finds DirkVoodoo being attended to in the medical room. Pah, useless, he’s not even doing the WW200!! But seeing an opportunity Mags commandeers a blanket, strips top layers off to dry on the radiators and has more tea. Twenty minutes or so later all her clothes are dry and Mags and Dirk face the last 65k home. Ten minutes later and Mags is completely soaked through and all she can think of is, f*ck there is still Wicklow Gap to negotiate. It’s an awful sense of dread to hit 140k, 150k, 160k, and 170k all the time expecting another horrid hill to pop up around the corner, and while there was two – that sharp steep left turn (what was that about??) and out of Avoca, it transpires Wicklow Gap is not on the route anymore!
    Anyway, having someone to cycle with home is great – Padraic from Mullingar touring group was more than happy to chat with Mags and share the work load.
    Up ahead, Anne finds herself partaking in a team time trial back to Greystones, some sort of turbo boost homing instinct has kicked in with the two guys and her options are to either dig in and stick with them or resume singing deliriously to herself in a bunch of ‘1’...team time trail it was!
    And eventually Greystones rolls into sight, although Mags with her sadistic sense of forebearing is CONVINCED the route is going to go up Wind Gate, just for the laugh…
    As Anne is scanned back in by Paddy Fitzsimmons (IVCA)…hold on, he looks familiar…do we know each other, no it’s not one of those ‘Coppers’ moments, well actually it sort of as Anne exclaims ‘Paddy its me, Anne from The Ras’ - Paddy was in charge of ‘Communications’ on the Ras and Anne had approached/tormented Paddy on the morning of the Castletownbere to Blarney stage (when quite frankly I’m sure he had better things to be doing) and suggested that the ‘flashy orange roof light’ not working on their An Post car fell under the remit of ‘communications’ – and fair play to Paddy, he sorted it!
    On the way back to her car Anne runs into Toblerone1978 who was in surprisingly good form given that he had crashed on a decent somewhere after the last foodstop – serious chats ensued; ‘are we mentally unstable cycling 200km in these conditions’, ‘has this cycling lark gone a bit too far’, ‘maybe we should consider other pastimes such as ‘lawn bowls’ or ‘bridge’ …..as they part company to head home tired, wet, cold, sore and weary:
    Anne: I hear Tour de Burren is on next weekend
    Pat: Yeah, and I hear the weather forecast is f*cking sh*te again for next weekend.
    Anne: So you doing it?
    Pat: Sure am.
    Anne: Yip, me too, see you there….

    Wicklow 200 - Epic cycle – Done.


  • #2


    Hello, I saw you on Sunday during the Burren cycle and was wondering where you sourced your bespoke cycling gear. Would you give me the name of the company?

    Many thanks, AvidIrishReader

    WW200: Tick…done…over…never again

    After an utterly disasterous (for both of us) Carrick Wheelers 160km Sportive trip the previous weekend, MAWS needed to do some serious pedaling at the WW200. Come hell or high water we were finishing the WW200, end of.
    So, frantic trips to Cyclesuperstore, Joe Dalys, Cycle Surgery and Tesco on Saturday meant we had our body weight in food & food supplements, oh and heated insoles - not that they were of much use seeing as Anne opened the packets on Saturday evening to have a look at them….these were ‘single use’ insoles which heat up upon contact with air (As CLEARLY stated on the packet) and hence were rendered null and void by about 8pm Saturday evening – doh!)
    Our basic plan is to get there early, sign on early and finish early. That gives us the whole bloody day to tootle around if necessary, because we ARE finishing it. Although a pre-cycle offer from another Boardsie of ‘If you end up on your own give me a shout’ = ‘I’ll collect you IN a CAR’, in Mags’ head, was dangerous talk.
    So off we set at 06.30, in relatively nice conditions. It was actually sunny, but a little overcast for the first hour or so, and we got to the top of Sally Gap before any sign of rain. Putting on rain jackets Mags discovers that her gilet has in fact got a mesh back…so where does the rain go? Ah yes, straight through the mesh….
    Our super early start meant we could tootle along at a very handy pace, but the turn in weather at the top of SG meant we ate our quartered bagels (thanks JT – great advice and best food we had all day) at speed heading down off SG. At least with the lack of cyclists around us we could speed on, we stopped briefly in Hollywood/somewhere for a quick tea in a shop and so ignored the first feed stop and head for Slieve Mann. It’s not pretty. We’re not pretty. Life is pretty miserable at this point and Mags suggests “we don’t really need to finish it” (vague offers of a lift IN a CAR are ringing in her ears). But no, Anne is having none of it and off we go again, another 20k in rain before we need to contemplate proper hills.
    At this point we split up. No, we didn’t have a row, just differences in pace, and Anne joined in with a speedy group which passes while Mags sticks to her guns of ‘I’m tootling around today’ and settled into her own company for the next 40km.

    Let’s be honest here Slieve Mann is disgusting, even at the best of times. First off there was a hill before it, where the man from Tullamore asked Mags if this was Slieve Mann. “Nope, sorriee”, but at least you’re not the dude in the Pink Floyd-esq jersey on the Ridley whose chain broke at this point. Mags’ nod towards sympathy translates into a hollar of “sh*t” in his general direction as she pedals off. It’s not like she could offer any assistance, unless he was interested in quarter of a turkey rasher bagel.

    Anne, meanwhile, had left her speedy group behind with a mantra of ‘just get this farking thing over and done with’ propelling her along at a good pace. Having never cycled up Slieve Maan before she was one of the large number of cyclists that day who smugly thought they had reached the summit of Slieve Maan, wondering what all the fuss was about only to turn the corner to see….Crap! Slieve Maan’. She also began to question the sense in MAWS decision to leave early in order to avoid the crowds….Cycling 101: crowds = shelter!
    So, with delirium setting in she continued on her solo cycle until she met with fellow Orwellians John L and Stephen S at the top of Glenmalure, where she surgically attached her front wheel to the back of John L’s for the spin into the second feedstop in Rathdrum.
    Further back, Mags trundles up Slieve Mann and Shay Elliot, it’s lashing rain, with hailstones and the mist on top means you can see nothing, but hear some odd beeping. Is there a car coming down? No. Is there a car on the top? Yes. Actually, there’s about eight, beeping, whooping and cheering, complete with foam hands!
    Down off Glenmallure and into the feed stop at Rathdrum. It’s a bit like a scene from Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ once you go in the doors…people shivering, laughing nervously and generally looking completely disheveled, and that’s just Mags. At least there are some friendly faces from Orwell Wheelers, with John L, Stephen S, Stephen H, John T and Leo all looking decidedly the worse for wear, but remaining remarkably cheery.
    Anne, unable (not trying to hard) to find Mags at the food stop and after having had far too much ‘me time’ already that day took up the offer to continue on the remainder of the journey with John L and Stephen S, she bumped into Toblerone1978 outside who really seemed to be having a day of it, having forgot a few fundamentals on route to Dublin that morning for the WW200….his registration card, his number, his energy bars and oh yes….his bike?? Meanwhile, abandoned once again by Anne, Mags moseies around the feedstop and finds DirkVoodoo being attended to in the medical room. Pah, useless, he’s not even doing the WW200!! But seeing an opportunity Mags commandeers a blanket, strips top layers off to dry on the radiators and has more tea. Twenty minutes or so later all her clothes are dry and Mags and Dirk face the last 65k home. Ten minutes later and Mags is completely soaked through and all she can think of is, f*ck there is still Wicklow Gap to negotiate. It’s an awful sense of dread to hit 140k, 150k, 160k, and 170k all the time expecting another horrid hill to pop up around the corner, and while there was two – that sharp steep left turn (what was that about??) and out of Avoca, it transpires Wicklow Gap is not on the route anymore!
    Anyway, having someone to cycle with home is great – Padraic from Mullingar touring group was more than happy to chat with Mags and share the work load.
    Up ahead, Anne finds herself partaking in a team time trial back to Greystones, some sort of turbo boost homing instinct has kicked in with the two guys and her options are to either dig in and stick with them or resume singing deliriously to herself in a bunch of ‘1’...team time trail it was!
    And eventually Greystones rolls into sight, although Mags with her sadistic sense of forebearing is CONVINCED the route is going to go up Wind Gate, just for the laugh…
    As Anne is scanned back in by Paddy Fitzsimmons (IVCA)…hold on, he looks familiar…do we know each other, no it’s not one of those ‘Coppers’ moments, well actually it sort of as Anne exclaims ‘Paddy its me, Anne from The Ras’ - Paddy was in charge of ‘Communications’ on the Ras and Anne had approached/tormented Paddy on the morning of the Castletownbere to Blarney stage (when quite frankly I’m sure he had better things to be doing) and suggested that the ‘flashy orange roof light’ not working on their An Post car fell under the remit of ‘communications’ – and fair play to Paddy, he sorted it!
    On the way back to her car Anne runs into Toblerone1978 who was in surprisingly good form given that he had crashed on a decent somewhere after the last foodstop – serious chats ensued; ‘are we mentally unstable cycling 200km in these conditions’, ‘has this cycling lark gone a bit too far’, ‘maybe we should consider other pastimes such as ‘lawn bowls’ or ‘bridge’ …..as they part company to head home tired, wet, cold, sore and weary:
    Anne: I hear Tour de Burren is on next weekend
    Pat: Yeah, and I hear the weather forecast is f*cking sh*te again for next weekend.
    Anne: So you doing it?
    Pat: Sure am.
    Anne: Yip, me too, see you there….

    Wicklow 200 - Epic cycle – Done.


  • #2
    Hello, I saw you on Sunday during the Burren cycle and was wondering where you sourced your bespoke cycling gear. Would you give me the name of the company?

    Many thanks, AvidIrishReader


    Velotec (Padraic Quinn) in Galway.


  • #2


    Will MAWS be making a comeback this winter?


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