Nenagh CC: A race report from Kevin Sherlock after his 3rd place finish in the A4 race in Loughrea
Sunday morning and it’s pouring down rain; with the wind blowing a gale I was waiting for a phone call to say one of the lads was not travelling. Sure enough half nine and Keith and Andy roll up. You couldn’t pick two better men to lighten the mood. For the first five minutes while putting the bikes on the car the discussion was between are we a bit nuts cycling in this crap or we should we just tell the boys we finished in the main bunch and not go at all. Anyway the fraud squad set off and the conversion was priceless the whole way down in the car.
Once we reached Loughrea, we went inside registered and had the usual banter with others about whose wheel you were going to be following. As we walked back to the car the weather was still miserable. We decided that a good warm up was needed so we all got togged out and sat back in the car. To lighten the mood Andy starting making his mockumentary called “the smell of shite” about three cyclists with the fear of God in them.
I decided at this point I would rather be too warm than too cold and decided to wear a Jacket for the race which I would regret later. We jumped out of the Car did a 5 minute warm up and went straight to the start line. Here we met Con Kennedy (another team mate). After the messing I did in last week’s race there was no way I was trying any breaks or trying to be a hero. The plan was to sit in and wait for the sprint as per instructions from the directeur sportif Shane Scully!
The first 15k was very slow so I stayed tucked in behind Keith and Con. Any time the boys moved up to the front I followed them. I had checked the course map that morning and new the first climb was coming around 22k and the finish was around 57k. So as soon as I got to 20k I moved up to the front and tucked in again. Once the first climb started people started flying out the back. Con was flying and was really pushing the pace up the hill with a couple of others. Andy came past me and was really climbing well so I decided I would jump on his wheel. We were in the top ten the whole way up the climb. Getting near the KOH I was starting to feel the pressure and kept thinking if I just stay with them it will relax over the top. I was wrong, once over the top there was a split in the bunch there was about 22 of us. Con and a few others started flying down the hill and really pushing the pace. As I was at the back of the group I could look back and see we had a gap.
The next couple of miles were tough over rolling hills and the pace was kept high. A few in our group started to get dropped. At this stage, I was starting to recover and the more people who got dropped, the better for me. The pace started to drop a bit in the final 10k. I kept thinking that the main bunch would end up catching us and then my chances of scraping a point would be halved. A few guys tried to get away in the final 5k but they were reeled back in.
With about 2k to go I got myself in a nice position. I knew then all I would need to do is jump on a wheel and get a free ride to the line. Within the final 1K I was on Con’s wheel, then with 600 to go 2 lads jumped I thought it was a bit early then I realised that they were getting away . Out I popped from behind Con and went in pursuit, I could see I was making inroads on them, then I was thinking crap I bet a load of lads are on my wheel waiting to come round.
Anyway I passed over the line and thankfully nobody came around me. So to cut a long story short I had a great laugh going down in the car, found the hills tough and then got up for third with the help of my team mates. This story might grow legs in years to come so if you hear me spouting about the double kick! I had to do in a sprint it’s all lies, I was lucky to have any kick! Hopefully now I might scrape another point somewhere to make it to A3 and if so there is a good chance this could be my last race report ever.