UBC TSC Cycling Athlete Profile: Declan Kelly

Hi, I’m Declan (the tall guy with long hair). I’m in my fourth year in the faculty of Forestry majoring in Conservation. I’ve always been inclined to the outdoors and competitive sports but only took to cycling last season on a whim as I enjoyed the rush of adrenaline with the speed and intensity of a sport such as cycling.
Two years ago I did the Penticton Axel Merckx Granfondo Okanagan, or PGAMO, or just the Penticton Fondo as it is more commonly known. As I signed into the booth one of the organizers told me I was a bit big for cycling, maybe not the average build of a cyclist but I took that a little personally as the competitive athlete I am. With not much of a clue on how to do this endurance sport I bonked at the 100km mark, really hard. Never had I seen such a wall hit me as hard as this one, but I survived and it was a grind. A month later I was flinging myself around the coast of Ireland with my dad for 3000 km and 30,000m of total elevation, which in a month was a substantial feat for someone of my immature cycling ability.
After one season with the UBC team, a summer of Tuesday night crits, months of going as far and hard as possible –  just to see the extreme extent of my abilities, I would say I’ve become more of the cyclist I initially thought of myself as. This year I managed to shave off an hour of my previous Penticton Fondo time, albeit I didn’t bonk, but I managed to finish 82nd out of 600+ people, with a water shortage among the friends I was riding with we were forced to stop but I figure there is still room to improve with the ceiling I’ve set for myself.
Regardless of my personal feats, I enjoy cycling for many of the externalities it brings. From new connections, to reasons for more coffee breaks and shameless cookies, and finally looking ‘good’ in spandex, it’s a sport I can imagine myself pursing throughout most of my life. Competitively or as a medium for keeping up fitness it is a great way to get outside and keep your brain oxygenated, because you know, you kinda need that.
Why did you decide to join the UBC Cycling Team?
I joined the UBC Cycling Team because I wanted to meet more people my age that ride bikes. Rather than spend most Sundays with my dad and his friends, no offense dad, I wanted to get out with people who I could push myself with and reciprocate that motivation.
How do you balance schoolwork with training and other extra curriculars?
Schoolwork is much easier when you’ve got your wiggles out. When you can set or come close to physical/mental barriers in cycling it really puts other things in perspective, not to sound too profound. Your social life can become your cycling life too, that’s what Musette Caffe is for.
What has been your favourite memory as part of the UBC Cycling Team?
Mashing for cash.. Just kidding. Probably my first race because of how I finished but also that  I had never really challenged myself against others before, and who doesn’t love competing.
Do you have any tips/recommendations for prospective Athletes?
Get good at going up hills. Easier to get faster physically rather than make marginal gains through technological improvements. one pound = twelve seconds on Cypress (could check facts or just trial and error it yourself). Bottom line, the more your ride the better you get.
What is your favourite route to ride in Vancouver?
Four peaks because it hurts, but it hurts good (Four peaks is Cypress, Grouse, Seymour, and Burnaby Mountain all in one go).
What is your favourite race you have ever completed?
Probably OSU’s race, had a good hill finish to separate the bunch and show who was the realest. Go Beavers!