Following a return from injury last year, Aaron Buggle is enjoying his first prolonged period of uninterrupted racing. With a good Ras under his belt he is returning to France with big goals for the weeks ahead. In the first of what will be regular dispatches, he writes about his uncle and friend Paul Healion and how his attitude’s changed after Paul’s passing. He also looks ahead and outlines his hopes of progressing further in the sport and of catching the eye of a bigger team for next season.
Cycling started with me following after my late uncle and mate Paul Healion everywhere he went. I was like a bad smell to be honest. I got mad into cycling very fast and learned a lot from him; mostly good things but some insane stuff also!
In 2009 I started to do some of the track camps with the team pursuit squad and although I wasn’t yet strong enough it was a great learning curve. I had an eye on the TT champs from early in the year.
In August 2009 after Paul was killed in a car accident everything changed for me. My approach towards the sport definitely became more serious. Not long after Paul’s passing I changed to my current coach and started training. Hard.
I won the National U23 TT Champs that year with a time fast enough to get second in the elite championships. To this day I have never had legs like it. I only really started hurting in the last few kilometres. I had a point to prove and was running on pure adrenalin.
That was a big day for me and quite emotional after everything that had happened. To be honest I think it showed some people I wasn’t messing around. From there it was off to the World TT Championships in Mendrisio, which was mind boggling for me at that stage.
Then 2010 saw me head off to France for a season with UV Aube; a well renowned team in Northern France.
Everything was a shock at first; the lifestyle, cooking and cleaning, not to mention the much more intense level of racing of course.
I had a very progressive season and again took the TT champs – winning the U23 title in a time fast enough for the bronze in the elite race. I also finished just outside the top 20 in the U23 European Road Race Championships in Ankara.
With a very motivated head and looking to do a big winter, I headed to Australia for training. And while the plan was to knuckle down very hard, it was Down Under where disaster struck for me.
I had a few weeks off, enjoying myself and doing other sports and activities before I jumped into a biggish week on the bike. At the end of the week I couldn’t turn the pedals. I was upset and thought ”damn another week off’”. Little did I know what would follow with a very difficult knee injury that despite needing surgery was never fully diagnosed.
|Paul Healion And Aaron Buggle|
I faced seven months of no bike and nine without racing. I hit a major low and was devastated. It cost an estimated €10,000 between operations and other treatments.
However, I tried to do other things that would aid my cycling when I would eventually be able to return to the sport; a nutritional course proving very helpful.
When the layoff hit six months I started to lose faith and my family and a few friends helped me as much as they could.
I then started to see David Murphy in the pain relief centre in Kilcock in Co Kildare. He believed that a weights programme to strengthen my inner thighs, along with the use of his very rare FSM machine I could improve. An FSM is a ‘frequency specific microcurrent’ machine, used to treat pain and tissue problems.
We decided to give it one last shot and for the weights programme David sent me to Padraic Murphy in Blackrock Clinic in Dublin.
On the first day in Blackrock – keeping in mind that walking was a struggle at the time – I was on the squat rack. It hurt but I could handle it. Just two weeks later I was turning pedals again on a back and six weeks later I was on the podium of the National Road Race Championships. I got third in the U23 race behind Sam Bennett and Philip Lavery. It was mental, but great.
I put in a big winter in Australia last year – structured and very disciplined. And at the start of the season I was wondering were the time had gone. But while I am at a new level this year I feel I’m yet to hit a real high. I genuinely believe there is a lot more to come.
If someone was to ask me what my goals are, it would be to put in some good rides at major races and hopefully do enough to catch the eye of a bigger team for next season.
Like a lot of riders, I have very few contacts – if any – in terms of trying to attract the attention of a bigger team. But I’ll be looking next to the National Championships in Clonmel later this month for a result.
After that I’ll be doing some big races with the team in France and then there are the U23 European Championships in Holland in August. And following that there are the U23 World Championships in September in Valkenberg.
I haven’t done much since the Ras thanks to a chest infection but seem to be over the worst of it and managed to get second in the Swords GP at the weekend behind Ronan McLaughlin. I’ve now just arrived back in France.
When I was home for the Ras, Steven at ChainDrivenCycles sorted me a new Bottechia Supernova; a first class machine. So I have no excuses now. I just have to stay positive and continue building the form in the next few weeks – sounds easy!