Lockdown Q&A: Maura Claffey

Today’s lockdown Q&A is with Maura (Maurabellla) Claffey of Brother UK/Onform who is based in Dublin (Ireland)  and has her my own physiotherapy practice – Beyond Baseline Physiotherapy

Lockdown Q&A: Maura Claffey

Q: Where are you based & what was the highlight from 2019
Maura: I am based in Dublin, Ireland. I live, train, and work here; It’s a great spot for training; plenty of hills close by in Wicklow as well as some great options of coffee stops. I have my own physiotherapy practice – Beyond Baseline Physiotherapy.

2019 was a great year on the bike for me. It was a year where I developed a lot as an athlete and a rider. I put a lot into my training and started to enjoy the process a lot, so there were a lot of high points for me throughout the whole year. To pick one highlight however, was getting two top 10 results in Irish stage race Rás na mBan against some really talented international competition. It was a great result for me and really demonstrated to myself how far I had come and developed over the year.

Q: What has been your career highlight so far and why?
Maura: For this, I’m going to pick a special race to me; The Larragh Classic. It is my favourite race on the Irish race scene. The Laura Classic route is one of the toughest races on the Irish racing calendar; it’s a hilly attrittional course, which I love. It also holds a special meaning for me because it encompasses some of my favourite training roads, in a very scenic area called Wicklow.

Q: Your last race was and how did it go?
Maura: Unfortunately I’ve had no races this year. I did however have two great training camps in which I got a super block of training banked, and emerged with great form; One in Aguilas in Spain and the second in Calpe, which I had just returned from prior to the COVID-19 restrictions and measures hitting.

Q: With racing outdoors cancelled, what’s a typical week training wise for you?
Maura: With racing outdoors cancelled, my typical training week has changed; I do a lot of hours on the Turbo instead and use the permitted 5km radius to do some shorter outdoor spins. I also try to incorporate strength and conditioning once a week into my programme, and one full rest day as Turbo miles can be pretty tough on the body.
At the moment, I also tailor my training week to include a race day on Saturday where I’m participating in the Cycling Ireland Zwift League. I’m really enjoying it (to my surprise!). That gives me plenty of intensity, and definitely replicates some race feel which is a huge plus with racing outdoors being cancelled.

Q: Are you in lockdown at home or having to work?
Maura: Since the COVID-19 restrictions have come into place in Ireland, my physiotherapy clinic Beyond Baseline Physiotherapy has been closed. However, I decided to initiate a remote physiotherapy service and trial on line consultations.
I’m really happy with the results and enjoying the experience. It’s not something I would have ever even thought to try or been comfortable trying prior to this period. I will definitely be open to continuing these services beyond the removal of current restrictions.

Q: How’s life on the turbo for training?
Maura: Since the onset of the COVID-19 restrictions, I’ve really tried to change my attitudes and be more open to the opportunity of E-racing so I’ve got involved with Cycling Ireland’s Zwift League. I’m really enjoying that; I use a Wahoo Kicker and pair it up to Zwift for the races. If I’m training on my turbo, I’m also a big fan of having an interesting podcast/ Spotify playlist or sporting documentary in the background.

Q: If you are e-racing/riding, what are the biggest things you have had to learn during this period of no racing outside?
Maura: ‘Pack erasing’ is certainly something that requires a very different skill set to road racing, it’s really tough in the intensity of efforts but I’m really enjoying it and taking to it quite quickly.  The biggest things I’ve learned so far in my six weeks of E-racing;
#1 Have a good room setup with a fan ready, window open, and water/food close by. You won’t be getting off that turbo once a race kicks off!
#2 Make sure that you have had a good warm up. Probably even more important than warming up for an outdoor road racing race as E-racing races tend to go from the gun! You need to be ready
#3 Examine the route. In the same way as you would do for a road race, look at the gradient, where the hills are, etc. Make a plan how you might moderate your efforts, where might be the best places to attack. Develop a strategy for whatever race you’re participating in.

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Q: Where do you do the majority of your training outside?
Maura: I’m very lucky because within my permitted radius, I have access to lots of hilly terrain. I find these great for doing all sorts of intervals, and sometimes just for enjoying the scenery and enjoying the climbing.

I like rewarding myself with a nice fast descent after too. It’s also nice to break up the intensive indoor stuff with just enjoying the road, and being outdoors again.

One of the things I miss the most at the moment during lockdown, is not being able to see and train with my usual training buddies. It’s really made me appreciate how enjoyable it is to have a group to train with on the road. Looking forward to seeing them all again soon 😊

Q: Besides cycling, what’s your biggest distraction during lockdown?
Maura: My biggest distraction during lockdown…I’’m not usually a huge Netflix fan but I’m hooked on the Michael Jordan series, The Last Dance. 11/10 – can highly recommend as a very worthwhile distraction whether you are a basketball fan or not.

Q: What’s the bike that gets the most use by you and what is the best thing about it?
Maura: The bike that gets the most use; I’ve been riding my beautiful Liv Langma for my road spins. I just love it. All round, it’s the best bike I’ve ever ridden. I particularly love the Cadex wheels; they are light, fast and just beautiful to ride. I also have a beautiful customise detail with my name on the downtube which adds a little character.

Q: Do you ride solo or with some one from your household.
Maura: I tend to ride solo at the moment and I quite enjoy it; Helps me tune out of the day and switch off completely.

Q: What has been the best ride so far during lockdown?
Maura: The best ride so far during lockdown has to be a sunrise ride that I did one day just for fun. Before sunrise, I went up to a nearby hill. Just watched the sun coming up; did more sitting down than riding but it was beautiful.

Q: Finally, what race will you miss the most if there’s no racing outside in 2020?
Maura: What race will I miss the most? I guess I was really looking forward to targeting both the Irish national road race and time trial so naturally I will be really disappointed to not compete in either of those this season.

Thank you Maura … stay safe and take care and good luck for 2020

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