After a one week absence, the Nenagh Summer League returned with a bang. That was pure carnage out there this evening. There were bodies all over the road. It didn’t help that we got the handicaps badly wrong this evening (Sorry, our handicapper was late to the start line – back to normal next week), but even still we couldn’t have expected the brutal nature of the race. One thing is for sure, that was one of the most exciting and competitive races we have had for a long time.
44 signed on for this evenings race = 3 groups on the road. The middle group was very large so the handicap to the back group was reduced to 2 minutes. There was a strong tail wind from the start, which led to seriously fast speeds. It was clear that the back bunch meant business as they had closed the two minute gap within 6 miles of the start. The front group were also caught at this stage so the race proper could begin very early.
There was very little jumping off the front as Simon Ryan, Shane Kenny, Darren Donkey Dunne and a few others set a ferocious pace on the road to Nenagh. Splits were opening in the bunch and a lot of people lost touch. The bunch got smaller and smaller as each mile passed. Eventually the speed slowed and the first breaks of the day went down the road. Coming into the roundabout, Simon Ryan made a strong break, but with a strong head wind to battle on the way back would it be a futile breakaway attempt?
Simon was going well and was holding a 75m gap to the chase bunch behind. Many tried to bridge the gap across to Simon but everything was being chased down by the bunch – everything bar Simon that is! Coming past Mulrooneys garage, Paul Kennedy put in a lovely break and bridges the gap to Simon. With 2 up front working together there was a need for the bunch to take the chase more seriously.
Kenneth Kennedy put in the lions share of the work chasing the two lads down. He got them close enough for Shane + one other to break across on the hill at the Yellowbridge. As they passed Simon Ryan and Paul, Simon jumped on the back wheel and himself and Shane pulled clear. They would work together until 1 mile from Birdhill where they were caught by a chase group, with the remains of the bunch not too far behind that chase group. No sooner had the two lads been caught when Simon broke again. Nobody took up the chase immediately and he got a gap. Shane went after but couldn’t close the gap this time and went looking for shelter before the hill finish.
Simon had a 100m gap now, but there was a strong head wind on the 1km ramp and it would be tough to hold on. Behind, the chase groups had merged and lead out trains were being formed. With team Mego out front and Shane Kenny blocking every chase he could, the Nenagh CC team had their work cut out to get the win. Kenneth Kennedy, was first to lead out and he managed to close the gap a good bit. His brother Matty brought everyone up to the 500m mark. The gap was now at 50m. Shane tried the next pull with Emmet Murphy in tow. They pushed hard and closed the gap to 10m at the line but there was no stopping Simon on this occasion. He was in a different class this evening.
Those who managed to finish were all shattered. There is no easy way to get up that final ramp, especially with the carnage that had just happened in the previous 20 miles. If you found that tough then you weren’t alone. Great training though. Gotta love it!!
Thanks to our marshalls: Brian Maloney, Mike Browne and Clifford Guest.
See ye all again next week!
1. Simon Ryan
2. Shane Scully
3. Emmet Murphy