Numbers were quite small at this week’s league race with just 22 on the start line. This seems to happen every year as people call time on their racing seasons very early and just as the weather picks up too. Cyclists seem to prefer the cold of the winter for their training! We will get twice as many out for training on a dark, frosty October morning. There are still plenty of top events to sign up for this year so don’t throw the towel in just yet. July is very early for putting the feet up. If you want to see improvements next year then focus on finishing out this year all the way to the end. It will stand to you!!!
Even though numbers were small, the quality of racing this evening was absolutely fantastic. Everyone finished in a body bag as it was attack after attack on the longer course. Fair play to Peter Leahy, Paul O’Connell and Derek Cullen for withstanding everything Nenagh CC could throw at them. Well almost everything, Mike Browne did mange to get up for the win in the end so job done!
There were just 2 groups on the road today. It was a tough call with regards to what handicap to give the first bunch. The handicaps from the previous week were 0, 5, 8 but with only 2 bunches now would 8 minutes be far too much or 3 minutes far too little? In the end we went with a 7 minute gap, but this proved to be far too little as the first bunch on the road just didn’t work well together. In contrast, the scratch bunch worked well and they had the first part of the bunch caught on the Yellowbridge drag on the way back to Birdhill.
A very strong head wind on the way back to Birdhill meant that it was going to be tough to break away from the bunch. Thankfully, this didn’t deter the riders as break after break went down the road. The first to break was Peter Leahy. He put in a great burst but was chased down by Nenagh CC riders. Straight away 3 or 4 Nenagh riders broke over the top and joined another 4 or 5 for a large break down the road.
They were gradually moving away while those in the back bunch watched for movement from Peter. 1 by 1 the Nenagh CC riders were getting across. But a big effort from Peter brought him back into the race as the group ahead got onto the first of 2 laps of the Ballyhane circuit. After the first hill climb half the front bunch went out the back. In this race, anyone that ended up out the back just pulled in and didn’t finish the 2 circuits. There was a lot of cat and mouse on the road but at the end of the first lap there were still 8 in the bunch Peter Leahy, Paul O’Connell, Derek Cullen, Declan Foley and the Nenagh CC riders Mike Browne, Shane Scully, Matty Kennedy and Con Kennedy.
The final time up the hill was very tough. By the top, just Peter, Shane and Mike were left. Things looked good for Nenagh CC. However, on the way over to Birdhill the tactical warfare allowed Paul to regain contact. Mike Browne went on a break. When he was caught Shane went. Down the hill they went and the 4 were still together. Mike broke again and was caught and then with 1km to go Shane went. He got a gap but it wasn’t going to be enough. Derek Cullen had regained contact at this stage and so the 4 remaining lads passed Shane on the home straight and battled for the win. In the end, Mike Browne had enough to come around Peter on the line with Derek in 3rd place.
Finish Line Video – can anyone make out the one word response from Peter after getting pipped?
That was some war of attrition on what will be 3/4s of the Tipp Champs course. Fair play to everyone for giving it a go. Thanks also to our marshals Ned and John Gleeson + Donnchadh Floyd.
Next up: Race 14 takes place on the same course next week. Once again, we will do 2 circuits. The week after that we will do a dry run of the Tipp Champs course so that one is not to be missed.
Tipp Champs: new race date of Tuesday, August 1st. County medals to be won in A1, A2, A3, A4, vets, women and junior categories plus cash prizes for top 5 finishers. For the continued success of a race like this we really need the support of all Tipperary clubs. Please spread the message to all your members. Thank you.