Meet the Clubs IT Officer - Rob O'keefe

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As some of you will know at the AGM Rob was elected to the new position of IT Officer. To introduce Rob to those of you that don't know him, we thought it would be good to ask him a few questions.

Q: What sort of riding do you enjoy?

A: What a question and there is no one answer. I grew up jumping BMX bikes, upgraded to a Mountain bike and fell into the world of downhill racing and cyclo cross. I love the speed, the adrenalin but unfortunately the inevitable injuries led to me taking up road riding in 2012 after a big crash in Les Gets bike park. I fell in love with fast road riding and enjoy the speed and precise handling. With Cyclo cross machines evolving to use hydraulic brakes (which has existed for years on mountain bikes!!) I bought a Cyclo Cross in 2016 and have not looked back. In short, I enjoy it all.

Q: Is cycling the only sport you do?

A: I played squash for ages and got quite good until an injury put a stop to that. Now I get myself to the gym and pilates on a regular basis. I've been known to go parachuting, hang gliding or kayaking down rapids in France. I'll try anything if it looks fun.

Q: How often do I ride?

A: Once or twice a week in the winter and I up this to 2-4 rides in the summer with the later evening light. MDCC really helps me get out in the cold winter months.

Q: Other than cycling what are your hobbies?

A: I enjoy motorbiking. I've been a biker since 2003 and ride fairly regularly. I started on smaller machines and eventually ended up owning a 200bhp Yamaha R1 superbike. Alas, this was a serious risk to my license so I currently own a Yamaha MT10 SP. 160bhp for 200Kg it's quick enough without breaking the law at a twist of the wrist. My son Benjamin recently turned 17 and bought his first bike. He's been on the back of my machines since the age of 7 and it's strange to think he's now on his own machine!

Q: What is your most memorable ride.

A: Without a doubt it is the Megavalanche. It's the craziest thing on two wheels. Starts on top of Alpe d'Huez on a snow glacier at an altitude of 3,300m and we cane it downhill to 760m. That's more than 2.5Km vertical descent! It's not a race for the fainthearted and sticks in the mind more than anything else I've done.

Q: Why did you join the MDCC?

A: Good question and I think everyone has a unique answer. Personally speaking I found that my circle of friends were into Mountain Bikes and I wanted to find company to ride road routes on a weekly basis. I rocked up at the Clocktower one day and I've not looked back since. The only regret is not finding the club at an earlier point in life!

Q: Does anyone else in the club cycle?

A: Yes, Benjamin rides a Trek Domane 5.2 for commuting and rides it to school on occasions. We bought the frame off a guy living in Bath and we built it from scratch. It's a one off machine and looks the business. He loves it and because we built it together and that's the most important thing for me.

Q: If you could have any bike what would it be?

A: Tough question. I think it would be Chris Boardmans 1992 Lotus 108 upon which he won the Olympic Gold in the Track Pursuit. The bike broke all the rules and is a materclass in design. It's a piece of history and something I lusted over as a teenager.

Q: Do you have any cycling events planned this year?

A: I think it's always good to have a planned ride. It sets a goal to work towards and my goal this year is the Etape du Tour which takes us over 2 big mountains before finishing the 3rd on top of Val Thorens. In my opinion it's the best road event in France. I've done it three times before and it's tough enough that if not properly prepared the broom wagon sweeps you up. At the same time the scenery is stunning and the atmosphere is electric, it's definitely a bucket list ride for roadies.