“In at the deep end”

As most know, locally, Velo Club Iveagh is a club with ambition, yet remains fairly small in comparison to many of the larger clubs within Ulster. Punching above our weight has always been a requirement in order to achieve our goals and attract talent and it’s fair to say, how we operate is key to any of our success.

From those bringing fresh ideas, to those turning those ideas into reality, equally much of what we are, is about the individuals, the personality they bring, the spirit in which they participate and the fellowship they convey.

As written about in previous articles, whilst retaining the necessity to provide something for everyone, VC Iveagh have to a degree, become a little more competitive with many now focused on race performance. In fact it wouldn’t be unfair to suggest that whilst many of our leisure and sportive riders have eased back over the winter, those intent on racing have kept their proverbial boot to the floor.

As an insight into club life, having on the weekend past, entered his first races, with a back to back Annaclone and Phoenix GP, we thought we would take the opportunity to ask one of our newer members and already a formidable rider,  Johnny Burns a few questions to get to know what makes him tick..

VCI – Well known and a popular sportsman around Banbridge, when did you start cycling Johnny?

JB – Started cycling in September 2015 with a few short rides, before stopping for 5 months or so, starting again in April of 2016 when I joined the club.

VCI – What got you started in cycling?

JB – Started really to keep myself at a good level of fitness, after quitting hockey and also knowing a few guys in VCI

VCI – What are your goals in cycling?

JB – I’m not really one for setting goals, but having started A4 racing at the weekend and feeling extremely competitive, I suppose my goal this year is to gain some points in A4 and continue my training. I’m also keen support and do well in the club level Time Trials and Race League events.

VCI – What bikes do you have or use?

JB – Two bikes at present, a Cannondale Caad 8 which has become my winter bike and a recently purchased Giant Propel Advanced 1, in bright and in your face orange.

VCI – What’s a typical weeks riding for you?

JB –  I try to get in 150 miles a week usually, with a ride Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I also like to throw in a Turbo ride were I can and dependant on what I’ve done or weather. Not easily put off though by weather

VCI – Are you following any training programmes?

JB – Not following anything specific. I do read a lot of stuff online and use them from time to time. I tend to look at a weakness and work hard on that before reassessing.

VCI – You played hockey before cycling, how long for and who with?

JB –  Played hockey for Banbridge first team for around 12 years, then dropped down a level to play with the seconds team for 6 years.

VCI – Has hockey helped you in any way as you start in the cycling world?

JB – Yes hockey has helped in the fact that it is a fast, edgy and extremely competitive sport, similar in a way to cycling. It was physical and I have become used to pushing myself to my limits and beyond when needed. Fitness was key then and this has helped me today.

VCI – This weekend was a hard start to racing for you with back to back races. Can you compare the fitness level requirements in both sports, or is it still too soon?

JB – I’d say the fitness levels in both sports are reasonably similar… cycling perhaps is slightly more intense as I’ve been learning. As an example, this weekend I found myself almost flat out for most of each race. Again there is no question, you’ve got to be in good physical shape in either sport if you want to be competitive.

VCI – What’s your favourite colour?

JB – Blue

It is unquestionable that Johnny is a strong, yet quiet character within the club and no stranger to putting himself up against his threshold. I think most that know Johnny will be watching with interest to see just how far he can reach. Our thanks to Johnny, for being a good sport and sharing a little about himself with us. Our best wishes. Now go get those podiums!

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