After several profiles with members who race primarily, we also wanted to profile Sinead Kennedy, one of our active and consistent members in the leisure/touring section. Sinead Kennedy participates as part of the Orwell gang in a calendar of events and she was part of the gang that took on the epic Marmot in 2014. In addition to cycling and during the season, Sinead takes part in adventure races, marathons and most recently trekked up to the Everest base camp in freezing weather.

Sinead at the end of the 2015 Tour de Conemara with Orwell clubmates Aine Greene, Luke GJ Potter, Stephen Terry and Galwayman Charles Greene

Age: 40+

Years with Orwell: 6

How did you get into cycling and what sports were you doing before?
I used to cycle to school and then to work, I always had a bike. I was more of a gym bunny though and used to do a lot of weight training as well as spinning and step aerobics. Yoga and pilates of course!

What made you choose Orwell Wheelers?
I lived abroad for many years and when I came home I knew no one! I always enjoyed cycling and wanted to find a club with a social side, to meet people. Billy Parker told me about Orwell Wheelers. At the time there was a ladies only Saturday spin run by Aideen Collard. So I bought a road bike and joined!

What sort of cycling do you do, and what do you enjoy about it?
I am very much a leisure cyclist. I really enjoy sportives and I am happy to push myself and do the longer routes. Since joining the club I have been to so many parts of Ireland that I never knew existed or would never have seen otherwise. I enjoy the amazing scenery plus the often challenging conditions/routes. I love throwing the bike in the car and heading off for the weekend. Guilt free enjoyment!

As a health/fitness professional, how does cycling fit in with your philosophy for long term health and well being?
Cycling for me is more than just a workout or way to keep fit. It has been a great way to meet new friends and travel to cycling events/holidays. I like to push myself out of my comfort zone and challenge myself regularly whilst having the safety net of club members around me. I would be absolutely lost without the club to be honest.

What are your greatest cycling highs/achievements?
Everyone will expect me to say the Marmot, but really the Tour de Burren last year was a cycling high/most memorable! It was lashing rain and I really wanted to go home. I was ready to turn off but the peloton of two others I was cycling convinced me to keep going. We were soaked, cold and utterly miserable! Aine Green, who is from the Burren, had some local knowledge! We took a cheeky pitstop at her parents house and threw all our clothes in the drier! Her parents arrived in to find three soggy cyclists sitting in her mum's dressing gowns drinking tea with ham sambos!! We waited for the rain to stop and our clothes to dry. We had a lovely second half, with sunshine and photo stops!!

Cycling low/disappointment:
Still not being able to keep up with the oranges. I just can't seem to break out of yellow! Though it's early in the year .... Watch this space!

Best cyclist you cycled with/against?
Paul O’Donoghue from Sorrento is a gentleman and an amazing cyclists, as well as our own Eugene! They are always a joy to cycle with though I can never keep up! I did cycle beside Nicholas Roche at the classic so I suppose technically he is the best!

Person in Orwell who has influenced/inspired you the most?
Gerard Coffey. He is always there to pick me up off the Tarmac and vice versa!

Favourite training route/coffee stop?
Anywhere in Wicklow. I really love it. Luggalla for scenery. Pancakes in Roundwood are good too! I often cycle up to the Blue light car park in the summer and watch the harbour/airport comings and going! That's my favourite "coffee shop."

Sinead with Orwell clubmate Gerard Coffey just ahead of a wet wicklow200

What is it about epic challenges like the Marmot or the Marathon, or more recently the Everest Base Camp that inspire you time and time again?
My passport is one thing I couldn't live without! Traveling is my biggest passion and the further the better! As for marathons and Marmots, I actually don't think a lot of these things through!! I usually just get out the credit card and sign up. I'm too organised and have it all booked , then I realise what I have done and just have to get on with it! Probably for the best though, if I had thought about everything properly and realised the challenges ahead, I wouldn't have done half of them.

Have you any plans for 2016? Will you return to the w200 to be part of the Orwell train?
Yes most definitely. For the W200 I am hoping to join Greg's group. Plans for 2016 so far include Spain, Beara, Lap the Gaps, Giants Causeway, TKAS and Tour de Burren. I have never been to Donegal so most definitely will be headed there too.

Where would like to see Orwell in 5 years?
I will probably be looking for a knitting club in five years time! A club house would be great of course. Olympic medals from Tokyo (2020) perhaps from some of the current juniors. I think the club is super for leisure people like myself, coffee spins and weekends away, that's all I want!

Tell us something we don't know about you already!
I really hate mushroom!! I won't touch them. Yuk!!!

Sinead during the Marmot