I first met Dave at an Irish XCO training camp. Something about him screamed performance.
Dave has been taken under our wing for the past two seasons; A national junior champion in cyclocross and XC mountain biking. There is much more to come.
Realising all the cool kids at school played sports, and the really cool ones played field hockey, I ended up as close to playing a sport as a chubby, arty kid could be: goalkeeper. Between hockey and school, I’d play around the house on my bike, hopping up and down kerbs and trying my best to wheelie. Many pinch-flats and sore bums later, I found that you could ride bikes in forests too: Mountain-Biking! Awesome. I started doing this as often as I could, on the weekends that I didn’t have hockey matches. As I started cycling more, I also seemed to get better at keeping hockey balls out of the net. To this day I never really think I was much use, lots of cycling just meant that the goalkeeper beat all of the out-field players in fitness tests, and I ended up on Ulster and Irish teams before I knew it. Unfortunately my real passion was with ragging my mighty GT Ruckus hardtail around the local forests. Riding on my own got a little boring, and I wanted to see how I stood up against other people my age.
After much begging and pleading, my parents eventually let me miss Church for the first time to race my bicycle. I rode the National Cyclocross Championships U16 race on my GT Ruckus that had become a mini-DH bike and got to the top of the podium. This, with a lot more begging and pleading got me selected for the Irish XC Development Squad in 2011. I had never ridden ‘XC’ as such, and wanted to race DH, but the DH Development Squad had already been chosen, so I went for the next best thing. In 2011 I got to race some XC and DH. Turned out I fell off too much to be as competitive as I wanted in DH races, but I realised there was enough time to fall off plenty in XC races and still podium; I was hooked!
As an U16 in 2011 Winning my first National XC Championships. Finishing 2nd just behind the British NPS winner in my first ‘out of Ireland’ race, and getting to compete in the UK School Games multi-day event in Sheffield.
As a 1st Year Junior in 2012 Winning the National XC Championships (by 9mins). Winning the S2 & Junior categories in multiple XC NPS rounds. 3rd Senior and 1st Junior at the Ulster CX Championships.
Injury has been much too prominent a feature in my racing, so my main goal is to get some consistent training done. Late this year I got to the root of my last 2 years of injury and have had an awesome Winter so far.
I’ve been selected for the Irish Junior Road Development Squad, and will be racing as many domestic road races as possible, I aim to be as competitive as I can in these races and be selected for bigger races with the Development Squad. I’m hoping to attend some of the British XC NPS rounds this year; I aim to win every one of these I get to. I will be racing as much of the Irish XC NPS series as possible. Racing as a Junior, thus starting with the S2′s a minute behind the S1′s, I aim to be competitive in the S1 field. I also aim to win the National Junior XC, Marathon, and CX championships.
That’s not too much to ask?
“I genuinely couldn’t ask for more from Greg/Stoic Focus Coaching; as a coach, as a teacher, as a friend and fellow bike rider. As I look back to when I met him, as Asst. Coach/Manager on the Irish XC Dev. Squad in 2011, he was one of the main reasons I pursued XC racing rather than the DH that I preferred at the time. My ultimate goals lie within the realms of professional bike racing, and I knew Greg’s help and support was something that couldn’t be replicated if I left the XC Squad to pursue a career in DH. The only disadvantage I found from working with Greg, was the idealistic impression of coaches I’ve been left with. Through different teams and squads I have met many other ‘coaches’, but the thing with Greg is that, he cares. His passion and personality are just as important as his attention to detail and high-performance studies. Anybody can hand you a training program and tell you to get down to business, which I’m sure, if that’s what you want, Greg can do. I remember asking Greg for a training plan back in 2011, before my first XC Nationals, Greg didn’t give me one. At the time, as you can imagine, I was kind of surprised, ‘isn’t that what coaches do?’. But I think this is a perfect display of Greg’s character, and his role in my life; he knows what’s best for me. I could go into so many reasons I’ve gone on to see why what I ‘wanted’ back then would’ve ruined me, but I think the proof is in the pudding, ultimately I wanted to win that race, with Greg, I did.. and have kind of won every race ever since. Greg is an abundance of mature knowledge and experience; his impression has been a definitive influence in my life and attitude.” Dave.