Orwell's national track sprint championship medalist Donal Bailey was selected as the Irish domestic male cyclist of the year in the Cycling Ireland Membership awards. In the latest instalment of her regular series, Aideen Collard catches up with the man who is anything but a short distance only cyclist.





Age: 25           Years with Orwell?: One


How did you get into cycling?

I always loved cycling for fun but when I was in school I was into other sports.  In second year of college I did the Focus Ireland charity triathlon and the Wexford cycle home charity ride.  After that I got into racing Olympic distance triathlons on the Triathlon Ireland development squad.  The bike leg of tri had always been my strongest and about a year and a half ago, I heard about the talent ID program being run for the track team pursuit.  I progressed through the program and left triathlon behind.  Then in January this year I decided to give sprinting a good go.  And so far it’s going well!


What made you choose Orwell Wheelers?

You mean besides the fact that it’s the best Club?!  Orwell is my local Club but also I’ve done a bit of training with Michelle Geoghegan who explained to me that Orwell is the best!


What types of cycling/racing do you do and what do you enjoy about it?

In terms of racing, I’m focusing on the match sprint on the track at the moment, I love the nature of the match sprint; it’s so intense and exciting!  When you’re up there against your opponent it’s gladiatorial, there’s nothing else in the world as soon as the race starts.  It also has a huge tactical component which I don’t have the experience for yet but I enjoy working on.  Most of my training in the past has been long distance on the road.  There’s nothing like a good solid 5 or 6 hour cycle to clear the head.  For me it’s kind of like the feeling you get when you turn off your phone on holidays, cycling time is holiday time but every day!  Sprinting is just as enjoyable but in a different way.  When you finish sprint sessions you feel even more exhilarated then when you started… once the lactate and nausea wear off!


Have you done much road/track racing?

Not really, most of my racing history has been in triathlon.  I competed in two college level bike races, a TT in Belfast and a race in the Phoenix Park a few years ago.  Other than that I started racing the track in the last year or so.


What bikes do you own?

Let’s see…

Cervelo P3C TT bike 2007

Cervelo P3 track version 2009

Cervelo S1 aluminium road bike with SRM 2009

Dolan Track Champion

Giant Bowery for commuting


I like Cervelos!


Your greatest cycling highs/achievements?

I’m really happy with how this season went on the track.  The National Track Championships 2010 were a great experience and my biggest success in the saddle.  I was surprised to set a new track record on Sundrive Road and equal the national record for the outdoor 200m TT with a time of 11.84 seconds- that gave me such a thrill!  Then when I won bronze in the match sprint it was definitely my cycling high of the year!  I couldn’t believe it when I heard I was named Cycling Ireland Best Domestic Male Rider of the Year 2010!  It’s a real honour! It’s really encouraged me to keep with the sprint training, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do next year!


Your biggest cycling lows/disappointments?

I was a little disappointed with my racing in the Edinburgh GP this year.  I was knocked out in the second round of the keirin and match sprint.  My 200m time was poor too.  Anyway, I’d love to give it another go next year!


Your cycling heroes/role models?

Well, I’d have to say Chris Hoy seeing as he’s been the big cheese on the track.  To have a power output like that… wow!


Your favourite training route/coffee stop?

My favourite route starts in Dundrum, up the Sally Gap by Johnnie Fox’s, around behind Blessington – espresso and cake in Blessington, delicious! – then time trial back in to Dublin on the N81 and back to Dundrum.  All told on a good day it’s about three hours- I don’t know how many times I’ve done that route!


What music is on your MP3 Player now?

Mainly I have a mix of some AC/DC, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Muse and then for when I’m really putting the hammer down I listen to dance music from DJ Tiesto!  It depends on the type of training.



You’ve progressed a long way in your short time in cycling.  Where will next year take you?

Well I’m doing a postgrad in London this year.  I’m hoping to get to the indoor tracks in Manchester and Newport whenever I can to get some more experience and see how it goes.  I’m looking forward to racing the National Track Championships again next year and with a full year of focused training, I’d like to improve my explosive power and my kilo time.  We’ll see!



Tell us something we don’t know about you already and you don’t mind the general public knowing?

My favourite flavour PowerBar gel is vanilla!

My longest ever indoor turbo session was 6 hours straight… with lots of vanilla gels!