North Tipperary Wheeler, John Caulfield will head to Belfast next week to take part in the World Police & Fire Games. He will compete in over 70’s category of the ¾ mile Hill Climb on Wednesday, July 31st, the 18 mile Road Race on Saturday August 3rd and the Time Trial (12 miles) on Sunday 4th.
John kindly agreed to break from his training schedule and answer a few questions about his cycling career to date.
John started cycling in 1956 or 1957 at the age of 15 or 16 in his native Kilkenny. Back then they competed on a local grass track at sports meets. In the 50s there was huge growth in Road Racing especially in Thomastown where John originated. Billy O’Sullivan from the Kilkenny People was a cycling fanatic and he was instrumental in promoting Road Racing locally at the time. John says that this sparked his keen interest in the sport.
In his career, John has competed in the Rás no less than 5 times, 1959, 61, 62, 63 and 64, missing out on 1960 due to his Garda Training Schedule. In the Rás, his best performance was 20th in General Classification and he also took a number of stage places.
The World Police & Fire Games has taken John all over the world. He competed in Calgary, Melbourne, Colorado Springs, Barcelona and Indianapolis and even though he was injured, he travelled to Memphis as support for competing colleagues – there were rumours he was seen in a white sequined jump suit somewhere around Graceland, but I don’t believe them! To date John has won 17 World Police Games Medals, 5 Gold, 5 Silver and 7 Bronze.
So what advice has John for people taking up cycling? It’s simple – “persevere, train hard, watch your diet, don’t drink, don’t smoke and compete regularly – you learn something new at every race” John says.
Finally, I asked John what his favourite cycling discipline is. His reply “I love the cut and thrust of Road Racing most of all, it’s as much about tactics as anything else and you have to be cute to win”…..for any of you who have cycled with John, you’ll know what a cute fox he is!
Best of luck next week John, we’ll all be rooting for you.