It was a big weekend for the club with the racing season kicking off down in Tralee plus the return of our big weekend cycles. There were good turnouts for both the race and training sessions, helped no doubt by the best two days of weather we have had in months. Let’s hope it continues.
Saturday Spin: there was a healthy turnout of 24 riders for this cycle. It was great to see some faces we haven’t seen in quite a while back out with us again. The intensity of this cycle was a little easier than normal as we are trying to build things up again slowly after a tough winter.
The bunch first headed for Roscrea where they split into 3 bunches. The first two bunches on the road cycled to Templemore, Borrisoleigh and Templederry. Things were controlled very well and the two groups didn’t merge until the hill out of Templederry. It was good to see so many successfully tackle the full distance. The racing group made an extended detour over to Thurles. They rolled for 1:45 mins but still couldn’t catch the groups ahead. Nice work out of everyone today. Fair play to all those that were also racing the next day in the Lacey Cup. It is important to keep training on Saturdays even when racing on Sundays.
Race Report: The Lacey Cup
A team of 14 made the trip down to Tralee for the Lacey Cup. It wasn’t our most successful trip ever but plenty was learned from the race and I am sure everyone will be eager to get back racing again next week. The weather couldn’t have been much better for this one with only light winds and cold but sunny conditions to deal with. It is actually very strange to see the road surface dry, I forgot what that was like.
A1 / A2 / A3 race: we had 9 entrants in this race with Kevin Sherlock, Matty Kennedy, Con Kennedy, Denis Allen and Eoin Woolley starting with the A3s. Two minutes behind were the A2s with Mike Browne, Kenneth Kennedy and Gary Scully in tow. One minute behind that was Shane Scully in the A1 bunch. The A2 bunch in this race was very strong and they pushed a hard pace throughout with only a breakaway from the A1 group making it up to them. Coming up the final hill, Kenneth Kennedy and Mike Browne were performing best for the club with the other lads not too far behind. Denis punctured out and Shane’s saddle fell off so that was their races killed off. Our A3 riders in particular should be very happy with their efforts. These handicap races are not easy so fair play for hanging in there.
A4 + Women’s Race: it was a baptism of fire for our 5 entrants in this race. With a starting field of well over 100 riders in the bunch things were always going to be a little chaotic. Brian O’Neill performed best for the club but just got distanced on the final climb before the finish. Donnchadh Floyd was also going well but a minor crash hindered his progress. The pace and the splits in the bunch going up the first climb meant that Derek Bowen, Will Rymer and Sinéad Kennedy had to work doubly hard in a second bunch just behind the main bunch. They never caught back on but got a serious workout all the same. Nobody said racing was easy so don’t give up. Finishing your first race is a big deal. The result is not all that important. What is important is that you weren’t scared to give it a go and now you have something to build on for the next day.
A4 Report from Brian O’Neill: First race day of the season finally arrived and arrived in style with clear blue sky – cold but dry! I think it was 13 of us who arrived at the various start lines with Donnchadh, Will, Sinead, Derek and myself in the A4. This was Donnchadh and Will’s first open race and was Sinead’s first A4 race (albeit a seasoned racer), so there was equal amounts of excitement and nerves! The A3 guys headed off first followed by the A2s and finally the A1s. The A4 race is a separate race – someone said there was 140 in the A4 group – but I’m not sure if that was right!? We got going about 3 or 4 mins after the A1s and the pace was high but manageable. There was loads of breaking! There were loads of lads racing on the wrong side of the road and trying to squeeze back in when a car came – ffs! We (NCC) all made it to the bottom of the first climb, which came after 15k or so. The pace picked up here and we all found it tough going. The bunch started to break up at this point and it was hard to tell who from the club was still in the lead bunch. Donnchadh was definitely there! I know because he crashed in front of me and like any good team mate I almost rolled over him and kept going! Fair play to Donnchadh here – he got back on the saddle and kept going and made his way back onto the second main bunch on the road.
I managed to stay with the lead bunch of about 20ish until about 150 meters from the top of the first climb and lost the wheel – it took me to the bottom of the descent and a draft off some punters car to get back to that bunch. The middle section of the course is mostly flat so it was easy to fully recover and get ready for the second climb. The lead bunch was probably around 30 at this point. The second climb came at around 60k. I found most of this climb handier than the first and was able to move up the bunch while many went the other way, but I still managed to lose the wheel with (again) about 100 meters from the top. The descent had lots of sharp bends but was pretty fast despite that. Once at the bottom it was only a short few k to the finish line. I didn’t get near a point or a sprint but was happy enough with how my day went. Donnchadh and Dereck came in very soon after followed by Will and Sinnead. I think all were pretty happy with their day. Great course and a well organised race!
- Monday: circuit training at 7:00 in the complex
- Tuesday: turbo session at 7:15 in the complex
- Saturday: senior club cycle at 9:00 at the hotel.
- Sunday: club cycle at 8:00 at Tescos
There are two Munster races on next weekend that club members might consider attending. Both are on in Broadford, Co. Limerick (1 hour away). The Saturday race is a fast flat one and the Sunday race is a hilly tough one. Pick one or do both if you are feeling tough enough!
Photos from Lacey Cup