Rás: a few words from Mike and Kenneth

It’s very rare to ever get these two lads to write up anything for the website. Sure Kenneth barely has his letters and numbers from school and the only writing high rolling Mike does is on cheques. Before them, we have a few words from a man more known for his flowing locks than his flowing words, Ronan O’Driscoll

“Once three lads from Nenagh CC
Went on a grand tour of the country
From Dublin to charlevile and dingle to sneem
On through cork and kilkenny, without end it would seem
What tomfoolery was this you might ask
Twas surely an impossible task
Please tell me who are these three clowns
There was Scully and Kennedy and one called Browne
Eight days of suffering, pure hardship and misery
None would be champion, none will taste victory
But at the end of the day
You will hear them say
“Ní raibh mé bás,
I’m a man of the Rás”

now, some words of ‘wisdom’ from Kenneth…..

My emotions on the rás range between two extremes – “you’ll be grand you’ll get through it” to “WTF are you doing, you’re 40 this is ridiculous”.

Training: started in October and with the ras 7 months away it would be easy to take it handy for the first couple of months but luckily we have Shane in our ranks which is just as well because the time has arrived and I don’t think we could of done much more.

Training is something I really enjoy, it was never a problem to get up at the weekend and head out on the bike and training with the club makes it even better. We have a great club with the best in the club (Shane) right down to the worst (William Rymer) cycling together. It makes for a great club atmosphere and hopefully encourages more of our cyclists to improve and move up the cycling ladder. Nobody was dropped more than me in my early days of cycling (well maybe Keith!!). So what’s the difference, well for me it’s training consistently, heading out on a lake cycle knowing you’re going to be dropped but loving it anyway.

Goals: The goal for the ras is to finish it. If it’s DFL I’ll be happy. I have an idea of what lays ahead having followed the lads two years ago so the fear is strong. I have to keep repeating my own mantra, it’s only a bike race, what’s the worst that can happen!

And lastly…….To the club members that have been with us training this year thank you for your support. It was always great to come around the corner of the Abbey Court after been out at 8am to see another 20 plus rider’s  to roll out with and have a chat.

and now Mike…

In the beginning,

A couple of years ago, I sat in the sun with Dan Hogan, Eoin Woolley and Ken Hassett down in Kilkee talking about the last Nenagh CC squad to do the Ras and how they were, as Jimmy McGee would say, in a “different class”. Little did I know that I would shortly thereafter put my triathlon ambitions on hold and embark on a mission to become a member of the next Nenagh CC Ras team. The journey from then to now has been, to say the least, interesting.

When I started training with Kenneth, Shane, Gary, Hugh (where is he now??) and the other racing members of the club, I routinely got dropped somewhere in the middle of nowhere with the remainder of the spin to do with my legs hanging off (In case you are wondering, yes they did leave me for dead). I’m sure many of you are familiar with this experience. As the weekends passed however, I managed to get a little closer to home until eventually I managed to get back to Nenagh with the lads.

A new bike, 2 new helmets, 3 of the worst freezing’s of my life, 4 crashes, 40 odd races and countless hours on a turbo listening to Shane’s views on life, religion, politics and Einstein’s theory of general relativity later, here we are.

The one thread that has run through all this time is the support and encouragement of everyone in the club and I am certain that I speak for all the Ras lads past and present when I say “thank you”. To my fellow teammates, it has been a true pleasure training with you over the past couple of years. This is my first and probably last post on the club website so I also want to take this rare opportunity to publically express my thanks and admiration to my wife Sabine who has endured far more pain and suffering in dealing with 3 boys under six than I have on the bike. Your patience and support has been unbelievable. Without you Sabine, I would not be headed for the Ras this Sunday.

Why, oh why?

Every week or so during rain, pain, cold, puncture repair or other discomfort, I hear someone comment “Why do we do this to ourselves?”. It’s certainly a good question and here’s my attempt to answer it. I do it because I can and so I don’t look back in 30 years’ time regretting that I didn’t at least try to be as good as I can be. I do it so I don’t look back wondering “Would I have been good enough to do the Ras”. At least now, good or bad, I will get a definitive answer and put the wondering to rest. I do it for the shared experience with great people and so that my kids and family might have something to be proud of.

So for any of you thinking or wondering whether you are good enough to achieve some dreamy goal you might have, stop wondering and get on with finding out. Don’t let the fear of failing hold you back and give it a go. I’m certain that the next Nenagh CC Ras team is in our midst every weekend and not far away. With the right people around you and enough hard work, trust me, you’ll get there.

What’s this Ras thing all about?

So what am I expecting….I don’t know is the answer! I’m guessing at a lot of pain, countless gels, a moody and smelly Shane Scully and Kenneth Kennedy and lads pointing at a lad called “Fred” (He must be the race favourite because I hear people talking about him everywhere I go). But to balance all the aforementioned, there will be Dan Hogan’s eternal optimism, Ma’ee’s wit, the beautiful finish line of each stage and Sinead Kennedy’s cooking………(I don’t know if that’s good or bad???). It’s lucky for Sinead that she has grown up in a house full of lads because she is going to have to call on all the skills acquired in that time to put up with us for a week!!

Recently I listened to an interview during which Padraig Harrington talked about the “joy” of being nervous and how this basic emotion is present at every milestone event in life. As he described this, it dawned on me that, with the Ras, this is one of those events that, in my case, I will only do once and for that same reason should try my utmost to enjoy every second of it despite any nerves………..So I plan to…..Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the club corner of “ Le Col de Shallee” and thanks again for all the support and good wishes!!!!

Hopefully we can get some more words out of the lads at the end of the rás, once the shock has worn off! Best of luck.

Stay updated on the progress of Kenneth, Mike, Shane – read Shane’s Daily Blog on the website

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