“It’s been almost two years now since I’ve caught up with my old mate Felix English.
Before meeting each other a few years back we both believed each other to be… well, arseholes to be honest!
Turned out quite the opposite really – cycling is great like that, some proper plonkers out there (like every walk of life) but some of the best friendships are there to be had also.
Felix has an all new venture going at the moment, one he has always been very passionate about.
We love the ‘take bull by the horns mentality’ and we feel it’s projects like this that we as the Irish cycling fraternity need to support and get behind if we are to make a consistent impact on international track cycling.
And finally get that ‘airy fairy’ velodrome (in case you didn’t know Ireland doesn’t have a velodrome) for our young aspiring athletes to train in – without having to take weeks off school to travel to a velodrome elsewhere.
Below is an account on what’s lead Felix and fellow international Fintan Ryan to begin the trackproject.ie
We wish the lads at the trackproject.ie the very best of luck. – Aaron Buggle
TrackProject.ie was founded by myself and Fintan Ryan in early September after we both agreed we wanted to spend more time racing on the track through the summer, we also fancied a new challenge.
I’ve raced for UK continental professional teams for the past 5 years; most recently Madison-Genesis and the 4 years previous at Rapha-Condor with A1 coaching’s own Aaron ‘watermelon head’ Buggle.
I had my ups and downs in those 5 years; winning the Tour Series, holding jerseys in stages races across Europe/Australia and racing in Asia have been highlights but I also had my fair share of injuries and consequently periods of very low motivation.
The whole process of creating a team that’s our own, has been challenging, time consuming but at the same time extremely refreshing.
I’m convinced that solely training and racing gives you a steady decline in IQ over the years – or at least you forget how to access it and become very good at doing nothing – which for me (and melon head Buggle) is something I’ve become increasingly aware of.
There has to be a bigger picture.
I know for me personally, all I’ve done the past 5 years is raced, trained (sometimes) and sat at home ‘recovering’. So it’s been really nice to have something to else to concentrate on.
Fintan and I have put a lot of work into this team in the past 4 months and we’re really happy and proud of what we’ve achieved so far, but we are very aware there is still a long way to go.
The 2017 season will only have the two of us riding under the teams name but we hope to expand in the coming years. We wanted to ensure everything was correctly in place and if there was any teething problems throughout the year, we could amend them without effecting any other riders.
I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know plenty of people within the industry through the years and using these contacts we’ve thankfully been able to bring on the partners we need for the year ahead. We’re hoping with the team’s successes we can offer enough return to keep them on-board (pardon the pun) for 2018 and then build from there.
We have a provisional racing calendar planned out at the moment with our first race in South Africa at the beginning of March – a 6 day Madison event.
Our focus will then be fully on the UCI Track World Championships in Hong Kong where I wholeheartedly believe we can return home with 2-3 medals.
Youth track cycling scene
Another primary motivation in developing this team, which wasn’t apparent immediately is that we’re both looking to help out on the youth track cycling scene in Ireland. It’s very apparent that Ireland has the talent and ability but again, with the ever talked about velodrome you miss out on a lot of that talent.
We’re hoping that if we’re proactive enough throughout the year at our track sessions and share our stories of international racing on the track we can inspire some of the younger generation to think about a future career on the boards.
Right now I’m in Mallorca, dodging the rain and trying to build that last little bit of fitness for the upcoming UCI Track World Cups in Cali and LA. I’ll be riding the Madison in Cali and both the scratch and Madison in LA.
We’re hoping to replicate Mark Downey’s success in Apeldoorn in November and bring home some more gold medals.
Hopefully we gain some attention at home and people get behind our journey and believe that Ireland can have a big future in track cycling.