The long weekend was used for some long cycles and a little bit of racing too. Up in Donegal, the Nenagh CC team of Mike, Matty and Kevin all got through Rás Dhun na nGall without too much trouble. 12 club members popped down to Kerry for a change of scenery with Kenneth Kennedy now taking over from John Gleeson as the Sportive Leader. We all wish him well in his new role. We also had a newcomer to the club who is scaring the bejaysus out of some of the top dogs. Feels a bit like Ivan Drago out of Rocky 4 joining the club. Finally, the search for Denis Allen is over. He was found alive and well. Thanks to all for helping with the search.
- Tuesday – club hilly cycle – Meet at 6:30 at Stereame. Distance is typically 50 – 60km.
- Thursday – Nenagh Summer League – NEW ROUTE – 7:00 at Gooig.
- Saturday – Main Club Cycle – start at 9:00 from the hotel
- Sunday – club long distance cycle – starts at 7:30 at Tescos.
- Wicklow 200 – think we have 6 or 7 heading up to this one.
- Racing – events in Newbridge and Tuam, both have A1/A2 + A3 + A4 races.
La Marmotte: just 3 weeks to go now before we all fly over to France for the big event of the club year. Another important training weekend is coming up with the Wicklow 200 to be done. For those staying closer to home we might try a few big cycles ourselves. There are just 3 weekends left so try to make the most of them. You will be thankful for all the training when we get over there!
Rás Dhun na nGall: All eyes were on Donegal this weekend to see how are team would do over the 3 days of this stage race. Mike Browne was returning to this race 2 years after he first took part. He is a different rider now than he was then and was in with a legitimate shot of a stage win or top 10 finish. This was Matty and Kevin’s first time doing this tough race so they were focusing more on surviving. On stage 1, the 3 boys all finished in the bunch roughly a minute down on a small breakaway. Stage 2 was a hill TT and the boys did well at this, with Mike jumping into the top 20 after it and the other two not far behind.
Stage 3 saw the lads finish safely in the bunch again. It was proving hard to get into breaks but the lads were at the front of the race a lot all the same. In the final gallop it looked like Mike got 10th place and with that secured some A2 points. The final stage was the hilliest and toughest. Mike and Matty both came to the foot of the final climb at Glengesh in the main bunch. They battled well up the hill and finished well up. In the end Mike finished 1 place out of the points in 16th overall with Matty in and Kevin in. Even though Kevin got distanced towards the end of the last stage, this still represents a big jump forward in performance for him. Congrats to all 3.
Thanks to Bertie for driving the team car and supporting the Nenagh CC team all weekend.
Ring of Kerry Cycle Report
Saturday saw the club take on the ‘Ring of Kerry’, whilst the forecast was poor for the morning there was hope that it would improve as the day went on. The clubs premiere sportive riders led by its ‘Men of the Ras’ departed at 6am and were ready for action in Killarney by 8am.
The Ring of Kerry is a counter-clockwise loop of the 170km Iveragh peninsula, taking in some of Ireland’s most spectacular coastal scenery, and some of its poorest drivers! The weather picked up pretty early save a quick shower at the start and we were blessed with sunshine for most of the day. Kenneth got some great business ideas, noticing the ‘pet a goat – €5’ signs in Kilorglin.
As a club we have been pushing harder and further each week with the training for La Marmotte, so it was no surprise that we pushed through the normal food stop in Caherciveen and pressed on for a quick photo opportunity at Waterville and then on to Sneem. Sneem was the spot for lunch after 115km and a quick refill with toasted sandwiches and tea. The road to Kenmare brought a pleasant change in conditions with a strong tailwind, seeing the average pace beginning to rise. Turning left in Kenmare for Molls Gap, anyone who had done the Mizen to Malin trip a couple of years ago suddenly started to get a sense of familiarity, we were nearly home.
The climb and descent of Molls gap were taken a little more sprightly sensing the finish line was near, and there was still plenty of energy in the tank. Everyone arrived back to Killarney in two groups about 5 minutes apart after a minor mechanical. We covered the 170km in 5:47, at 29.2kmh, and also managed a top score of three near misses and one shouting match with a jeep. Great day out all in all, and Gary can now check the Ring of Kerry off of his bucket list. Doesn’t matter how many times you have done the Ras, as he says himself when you tell the public you are a cyclist they always ask if you have done the Ring of Kerry. Presumably if you haven’t you mustn’t be much of a cyclist.
Man of the match has to go to Kenneth whose transformation from respected athlete to sportive rider is impressive.