The 5th race of the Nenagh Summer League took place once again yesterday evening in glorious sunshine – we are having all the luck! As usual there was a big turn out from club members and non club members alike. This meant we had 4 bunches on the road. I must say, the club are very thankful for your continued support.
Causing commotion once again in the back bunches was Conor Hennebry. I have never seen one man put as much fear into a group in my life. Around 10 former scratch group members were very quiet at the start line as they snuck into the 2nd last group. Repeated calls for bravery were ignored as they all stared at the ground hoping not to get picked on. I suppose we can’t blame them really as the scratch bunch has split the last two weeks in a row. Would race no.5 be any different?
The handicaps this week were a little less than usual due to the large 3rd bunch. If they got motoring then they would be hard to catch, therefore they only received a 1 minute head start on the scratch group. If they worked hard the scratch group might never see them again. Soon all 4 bunches were on the road. There wasn’t much wind out there so the pace was pretty quick. Thankfully this week there seemed to be a lot less bodies scattered all over the road. Each bunch was working well together with nobody trying to tear it apart.
It was clear almost immediately that the very large 2nd last group weren’t going as fast as they could have. The scratch bunch were eating into the handicap very quickly. In fact, it was fully gone before we even hit the Roundhill Pub. Clearly, a lot of people in this big group were just saving their energy for when they were caught instead of using their energy to stay away. There is no way that a small bunch of chasers should have caught ye so quickly!!
This new ‘super group’ kept the pace high but with over 20 rolling through things got a little ragged and the pace wasn’t as high as it could have been. Thankfully, things seemed safe in the bunch and everyone is getting very comfortable with rolling over. The shortened handicaps meant that bunch 2 on the road were within sight well before the turn around point. The super group suddenly became superer. Around the roundabout we went and after a mile all 4 bunches had been absorbed so the race proper could begin.
The breakaway group formed very quickly, not through jumping away, but by just riding hard up one little rise beside the nursing home. It was lined out and people dropped wheels and suddenly 8 lads were away. These were the 8 lads from the scratch group so the large chase pack would have their work cut out to chase them down. Conor, Simon Mike and Kenneth did most of the early donkey work, but soon all 8 were taking time at the front and pushing the lead out.The pace was quick from the breakaway but the bunch behind were also moving well too so there could be no let up.
By the time we hit Birdhill it was clear that the break away group would stay away. Unusually, there was no sand bagging or surges from the break away. Each took their fair turn into the start of the ramp, with Dan Hogan being the unfortunate one that had to lead it into the final sprint up the ramp. This is no place to be as you have no time to recover for the climb.
Simon Ryan and Conor were the first two to break but Simon almost came a cropper when his foot slipped out of the pedal and hit the ground. He wobbled but managed to stay upright and with that saved his Rás next week! This wobble caused a slight delay in some of the sprints and Conor was able to put a little distance into the rest to claim a 3rd win in a row. Can anyone beat him? He was followed home by Mike Browne, Kenneth Kennedy, Tommy Hanrahan and Shane Scully. The main bunch weren’t too far behind in the end.
This was another great workout. Its great for getting a little bit of speed into the legs. Next week, the finish line will be put up to the 3/4 way mark so be prepared for the dead legs and pukey feeling! God, cycling is great!!
Video sprint finishes: available on our Facebook page >> www.facebook.com/nenaghtriathlonclub
Next race: more of the same next Thursday at 7:00pm.
Join our club: if you are looking for a club to race for then get in contact. This weekend we will have teams racing in both Newcastle West and the Shay Elliot in Wicklow. As a club we focus primarily on racing so if that interests you then we would be delighted to have you join us.
Thanks: to Tadhg Flaherty Motors Ltd for donating a beacon for our lead car. Much appreciated. Also thanks to our marshalls: Eoin Sheehan, Geraldine Kyne and Mary Donnellan. Thanks also to our photographer Michael Buckley.