That was some effort this evening from the scratch group. Having failed to catch either of the front two bunches the previous week, the pace was ramped up again and there was no denying them on this occasion. Having the likes of recent Irish squad member at Rás Mumhan Conor Hennebry and Irish triathlete Aaron O’Brien cracking the whip, the average pace ramped up to 44.8km/hr = another league average speed record.
Once again there was a strong turn out for the race. With 55 signing on we decided to go with 4 groups on the road this week. This made for a small first bunch and 3 big bunches chasing behind. The handicaps remained the same as last week so another close race was expected. With a few words of encouragement as Gaeilge from Ramon Rodriquez we were all soon on our way and tearing up the road.
The start can be a real shock to the system for those that are not used to it. The race distance is quite short so you need to get up to speed quickly to make the most of it. Fail to clip in on time and that could be your race over! The scratch group were quick to get going and the pace was frantic all the way to the usual tough spots at Birdhill and Kilmastulla. This is where the first bouts of panic hit – ‘I don’t think I am going to make it!’ Conor forced a split in the scratch group with some good cyclists out the back early. It wasn’t long before they started to reel in stragglers from the groups ahead in twos and threes all over the place. Looks like the scratch group wasn’t the only one putting people under serious pressure.
It seemed like the front bunch weren’t quite working as well as they had the week before. It all look very fragmented in places but there was a still a sizeable bunch ahead to chase down. As usual they didn’t make it easy and the gap only came down slowly. At the Yellowbridge the pace of the back bunch was high and a big chunk of the advantage was eaten away. On the downhill after the Roundhill pub all the groups had merged. The proper race could begin, but we were perhaps too close for any breakaway to get away. It didn’t stop lads from trying but there was no success.
Coming into Birdhill, it was clear that it would be a bunch sprint. I say bunch sprint, but as the sprint takes place on the ramp, it actually thins out rapidly before the finish line (which was half way up the hill this week). Turning the corner, there were a few eager beavers shooting off the front but once they saw the distance that still remained to the finish they quickly took the foot off the accelerator. The bunch stalled a little as everyone tried to calculate how far they could sprint up a hill before dying. The answer for most was – not very far! The sprint in the end came down to Tommy Hanrahan and Conor Hennebry, with Conor getting the better of Tommy. Shane Scully managed 3rd place.
Great stuff out of everyone again this week. It’s great to see the average speed and power so high. It shows that we have a good quality race. There is of course always room for improvement. Keep getting out on your bike and sign up for a few races. If you are looking for a club to race for then Nenagh CC would love to have you.
Thanks to our marshalls: Sinnead Oakes, Eoin Woolley, Ramon Rodriquez, Will Rymer
See ye all again next week.
1. Conor Hennebry
2. Tommy Hanrahan
3. Shane Scully