Tom has a long and varied background in sport, ranging from playing for the Kerry minor football team to being the first person to do a solo-circumnavigation of Ireland by kayak. In his 50s, when work and family circumstances allowed, he set about finding out how good he could really become at bike-racing and he is now in the over-60 age cohort.
Cycling always interested Tom and his first major tour was around Iceland in 1981. Cycling’s rich heritage also deeply interested him, and he authored the acclaimed book – ‘The Rás: The Story of Ireland’s Unique Bike Race’ (Collins Press, 2003).
He worked in a range of capacities in education and completed his full-time career in 2014 with the Special Education Support Service, where he led the design and implementation of teacher professional development programmes. A PhD collected along the way gave Tom a strong appreciation of evidence-based research and he has a particular interest in reading the science on physiological adaptation to training, particularly in older athletes. He also worked for a period as Manager of A1 Coaching after retirement.
Among other things, Tom continues to lecture in education on a part-time basis, coaches a small number of cyclists, and runs Independent Writing Services Ireland (www.iwsi.ie) which he founded and owns.
Tom hopes to retain his All-Ireland track title and to improve on his 5th place in the All-Ireland Road Championships from last year. He also aims to return to the World Masters Track Championships and improve on his best 6th place, also set in 2015. Continuing to enjoy the local racing scene is also a big part of Tom’s plan. However, the main aim for the year is to remain healthy and competitive, and to explore other aspects of cycling such as cyclocross and trail riding.
Blog: - Articles written by Tom are on his Masters Cycling Coaching Website
Occupation: Retired from full-time work in education; does part-time lecturing; runs a support, mentoring and coaching service for older cyclists - Masters Cycling Coaching ; and has set up a copyediting and writing services business – Independent Writing Services Ireland.
Sport: Currently cycling
Pre-race Ritual: Oatmeal breakfast 2.5 hours beforehand; sip hydration drink on the way to the event; set up bike and gear and then ride the final kilometre a few times; do warm-up ritual and visualize the finish.
Favourite Cheat Food: Some of Lidl’s dark chocolate range – at 70% cocoa it must be good for you!
Favourite Form of Cross Training: A little swimming and twice-weekly conditioning and core work during the winter, tapering to a once-weekly maintenance session during the competitive season. With slowing recovery because of age, effort is focused on the bike: ‘specificity … specificity … specificity’!
Cycling Career Highlights: