There was a big turnout of 59 cyclists at this evening’s summer league. Race 10 was the first time we attempted to race up the full ramp up to the bridge. The race winner, slyly, didn’t tell anyone of the fact that the finish line had been pushed up to the top; keeping it all a secret so that he would prosper. This is in keeping with the Nenagh CC club motto ‘by any means necessary!’.
There were 4 groups on the road today with the handicaps at 4 mins, 5 mins and 2:30 mins. These handicaps were never going to be enough for the first 3 groups to stay away but the plan was to bring everyone together early enough so that we could all make a proper race out of it.
There wasn’t much wind out there this evening. If anything there was a head wind to battle on the way into Nenagh. This usually makes the start a little bit slower and a little easier to manage for those that are normally just clinging on to the group they choose. On the way to Nenagh, very few people had been dropped from their groups. This is always good to see.
The scratch group was quite large this week and everyone was putting in their fair share of work. The handicap was quickly closed and the last two groups on the road merged just after the Nenagh roundabout. The front two groups had also merged at this stage and they remained about 1 minute up the road. The back group continued to work well together until all bunches were caught before the flyover. Now the real race would start.
The pace slowed as there was nobody up ahead left to chase. You have to be thinking about getting into a break when there is a lull like this. First to go was Emmet Murphy and he was followed by the likes of Kevin Sherlock, Ronan Costelloe, Shane Kenny, Aidan Gallery, and Peter from UPCC. As the kms ticked by, more and more made attempts to break across as the bunch seemed content to let a gap open and not chase. Coming into the hill at the Yellowbridge Stephen Hegarty went to the front of the bunch and upped the pace into the climb and the gap started to close.
There were riders strung out all over the road ahead. With 6 or 7 working well together in a breakaway and 6 or 7 trying and failing to get up into the bunch. Soon the attacks went from the main bunch with Shane Scully and Seán Yelverton making it across to the break. The break pushed on ahead but lacked the power and cohesion to make the break stick. The bunch caught up before the 4 sisters.
The pace of the bunch settled down now as few breaks stick in the last few kms. Coming into Birdhill there were still a few out front with the likes of Cathal Oakes, Shane Kenny and Seán Yelverton pushing on strongly. Everyone else was saving their energy for the final dig up to the finish. There was an audible groan as people sweeped around the final bend only to see the finish line almost out of sight at the top of the hill. Plenty bailed out at the bottom and you can’t blame them!
Coming from the back, Kenneth Kennedy was leading out some Nenagh CC boys and by the half way point he had chased down everyone that was ahead. He pulled over at the half way point and left everyone else to fight it out amongst themselves. There are not many things in life where it is an advantage for a man to weigh 8 stone 5 pounds but in a sprint finish like this – this is one such example! Shane Scully got up for the win with the two self titled “I am not a climber”s Emmet Murphy and Alan Loftus climbing really well and finishing well up in 2nd and 3rd place.
The free bottles of coke were a well deserved bonus for all those that made it to the top. In league races like this it is important to push all the way to the line. Give it your best shot. If you want to win promotion up through the cycling ranks then pulling out each time with 1km to go is not going to help much.
1. Shane Scully
2. Emmet Murphy
3. Alan Loftus
Thanks to our marshalls Majella Moyles, Eoin O’Donoghue, Brian McLoughlin and photographer Michael Buckley.
Nenagh CC racing: there are races in Roscommon and Newbridge on Sunday. Pick one and go.