10 Years and 11 Days to Go

In 2004 I hung up my oars. We were on a training camp in Hazelwinkel in Belgium, preparing for the World Cup season with Münich that weekend. It was me, Sinead Jennings, Niamh ni Cheilleachair and Heather Boyle if I remember correctly. I had been relegated to the single scull and, not happy…at all. Struggling to make the 59kg weight, every morning I stood on the scales and saw 62.5kg. I was asking myself “what is it all about?” We failed to qualify for the Olympics, and I had been in a training regime since I was 15 years old.

For those of you who fantasiize about the life of a professional athlete, it is not all it seems! For me, the pressure was something I got tired of handling. I felt like it was a constant competition. Living in close quarters with two other rowers, who are your teammates, but at the same time, the enemy.Tying to be friends with those you would go to battle with is a really hard situation to be in. Then, sitting at the starting line of an important race, a World Cup, a National Team Trial, a World Championship – so nervous that you can’t stop shaking – so much that the oars are wobbling in the water.

3,2,1…green light GO! Yikes. I would think – “keep it under control – do the minimum to stay in touch and save it for the last 500mtrs, thats where the race is won”

Knowing that the outcome of those last 500mtrs will determine how much money and support you will get over the coming year was very tough.

And now, here I am, preparing to race my first rowing race after a break of 10 years from the sport! What is the difference? I do this for fun. I love it. I have found a way back to the sport I took up when I was 14 years old. I love the feeling of the water under me, the peace it gives me for those couple of hours in the evening, the people at the rowing club are like family, young and old and all of them, rowers.

What about the weight? Let’s see on the day – it looks ok, I wake up, stand on the scales and usually see 60kg. If I time it right, making 59kg shouldn’t be too much of a squeeze. On the 12th of July I will race in the Irish National Championships, in the Intermediate Double Sculls with Monika Dukarska under Killorglin Rowing Club and that afternoon, in the lightweight single sculls. I don’t know what my speed is like as I haven’t had any values (I have been training on a river so it hasn’t been easy to get real values) but going by feel – the boat is moving well, the stroke rates are there and well – lets see how it goes on the day!

No pressure – just how I like it.


Its Been a Long Time…new town, new job, renewed passion

It’s been a while since I’ve said hello here! Although I’m still the sporty Fiola, and there has been plenty of that…life has taken a shift in other directions as I focus more on my job and building a life in Solothurn where I now live.

It has been a great 1/2 a year, time has flown. The coolest thing that has probably happened on a sporting front is re-discovering rowing again. Solothurn is situated on the Aare river and my house is just over the bridge from the beautiful, old Solothurner Ruderclub. The club has welcomed me with open arms, which I really really appreciate! I have a single scull, in perfect condition, which I can basically use whenever I like as the demand isn’t so high. Most of the members are rowing bigger, stable training boats.

Here are some pictures to help you imagine what it is really like.

Sale: Argon18 Gallium Pro 2013 – Size 48

The time has come to part ways with my beloved Argon18 Gallium Pro.

Ridden for one season, its got all the good stuff on it. Here is what Road.cc have to say about it: http://road.cc/content/review/77437-argon-18-gallium-pro 

Its in mint condition, and outfitted with 3T everything, SRAM Red, Rotor 3D Cranks, 3T Ergonova compact handlebars, and comes with a Vision Team 25 Wheelset with about 1,500kms on them.

Its a very stiff and responsive bike. If you want to do some racing or just love the feeling of going fast then this is a great choice. Looks pretty awesome too. I’ve got a bunch of unused saddles from Fizik and Specialized that could also be an option should you look for a saddle too.

Price: 3,500 chf

Contact: fiolanifhoghlu@gmail.com




Ireland Rides

Despite the raging storms and rain…I managed to get a good bit done over Christmas in Ireland. About 800km over 9 days. So it paid off! The days we did get out, for those few 3 or so hour windows, were absolutely stunning. When the rain stops and the sky clears the magnificence of Kerry is revealed. You feel like the lukiest person on earth to be privvy to its beauty.

The Devli’s Elbow on New Year’s Eve

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Lyrecrompane, North Kerry


Bealach Beama


New buddies – Micheal on the left


The McGillicuddy Reeks


Approaching Bealach Oisin


Kell’s Beach c981f55a73b611e3a8eb12ae041a82b9_8

Out with the Old, in with the New
















New job, new town, new challenges.

2013 was a mixed year, great in so many ways; many wonderful experiences and new people to share them with. But the end of the year was very bittersweet. I gained something great in the form of my dream job at BMC, but I lost someone very close to me too.

On a lighter note, there will be a lot of positive things happeneing in 2014. How will I manage it all? A question I constantly ask myself. But somehow I always do!

Work is busy and so is cycling. In 2014 I will ride the domestic Swiss races for Bigla, one of BMC’s sponsored teams.


But my new passion is: TRACK, track > track > track > track > track > track > track > track > track > track > track.


You’re going to hear a lot more about it! I did my first race just before Christmas and I loved it, the adrenalin, the excitement – it all goes so quickly, and it burns!