There was another fine turn out at the latest round of the Nenagh Summer League. Although many of the heavy hitters were taking the evening off with Rás Mumhan starting tomorrow, there was still plenty of talent at the race to make it a tough session on the bike. The weather was once again excellent, but a tough head wind on the way back made it hard for any breakaways to stay away. For the 2nd week in a row it all came down to a big bunch finish, but with the finish near the top of the ramp only a few had the power to push all the way to the line.
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Once again there were 3 bunches on the start line. We changed the handicaps today a little as we wanted the bunches to come together earlier so as to make a proper race out of it. Last week’s handicaps were 0, 5, 8 and they were reduced this week to 0, 3.5, 6. The handicaps worked well as everyone came back together soon after the turnaround point.
Each group was met by a strong tailwind on their way towards Nenagh. This led to fast times to the turnaround point. All 3 groups were within 2 minutes of each other here. Strong riding from Nenagh CC riders Mike, Kenneth, Matty, Tommy and Shane on Kilmastulla led to most of the gap evaporating. On the flatter sections the cavalry jumped in to drive on the scratch group. It is great to see a number of Nenagh CC riders makingthe jump up into the scratch group and surviving. It’s not easy going at that pace!
The two groups were working well together bar one or two who kept surging through each time. If you are feeling that strong then jump into a faster group the next time. Aim high and put yourself in the fastest group you can manage. A high pace was kept by both groups up the roundabout. All 3 groups came together just after the flyover. It was easy going in the bunch as the mass of bodies helped block the strong headwind. Up front there were some putting in break but these were all short lived. The first decent attack was put in by Kenneth Kennedy, Ian O’Halloran, Chris Spelman and a strong young rider from Comeragh CC. This was followed by a promising break from Mike, Tommy and Shane but that too came to nothing.
From Roundhill to Birdhill there was break after break but each was chased down. To be more accurate it was more a case of people dying out there in the headwind. Everyone was just so fresh in the shelter of the bunch. So we all came in to Birdhill together, we rounded the corner and then we saw that Bertie Sherlock, the b*****d, had put the finish near the top of the ramp. There was a collective groan but some were happy out. One of those was Mike Browne who set off for glory early.
The ramp is long enough for someone to die a horrible death. Mike isn’t that sort of rider though. Having raced the Rás last year he has the stamina to last, and that’s what he did. Mike led from start to finish and took the chequered flag (check out the video for his dip at the line to ensure victory with nobody near him!). He was followed over the line by a fast finishing Tommy Hanrahan and a cyclist from Limerick CC in 3rd. Great going everyone. That makes it one win for Newcastle West CC and one win for Nenagh CC – granted it was 20 against 1 this evening but a win is still a win!!!
Thanks to all who continue to support the league. The average pace was down a little this evening but at least we got to practice some breakaways and a tough hill finish.
Thanks to our marshals Sinead, Bertie and Ned for helping out. Next week the marshals will be Kenneth Kennedy, Shane Scully and Clifford Guest. If any of ye have a problem making it then let us know early so we can find replacements.
Up Next: Nenagh Summer League Race 3 – next Thursday, April 20th.