For the second time this year the scratch bunch failed to close the gap on the two bunches ahead. Unlike the first time though, this time they got nowhere near, as the combined first and second bunches fought it out between themselves for the victory. So what happened? This type of result was always likely to occur. Take out some of the scratch bunch’s strongest cyclists and they are far less formidable on the road. Combine that with the fact that half the old scratch bunch had been scared off going in the scratch bunch and were now in the middle bunch and a result like this was always on the cards.
Once again we had a fine evening for the cycle. There was a stiff head wind on the way to Nenagh so that would make the going tough and it would also lower the average pace of the bunch as we spend a longer distance going into the wind than with the tailwind. There were 3 bunches on the road. The first bunch got a 6:30min head start on the second bunch. As the 2nd bunch were called to the line it was obvious that there was huge strength in this 20 strong bunch. It would take a lot to catch them. The normal handicap of 3 mins to the scratch group was reduced to 2 mins, but that still looked like a tall order.
On the way to the turnaround point the gap was only coming down very slowly. Sometimes the middle group don’t put in the effort required to stay away; always thinking they are going to be caught. This time they seemed to work better, although I am reliably informed that the work was left to the usual 5 or 6 suspects in that group. On a training day like this you should be looking to bury yourself. There is no point sandbagging at the Nenagh Summer League – does a win in this training race mean that much to people?
At the turn around point it was obvious that the scratch bunch were not going to catch. They had only reduced the gap by 30 seconds and with a tail wind to come there wouldn’t be enough road to close the rest of the gap. The scratch group lacked the usual zip in the first half and with only 7 in the group, which reduced down to 4 rolling at stages, they never really got going.
The race win was now between the first two groups. There was still a decent gap at the turn around between the two. It took until a mile from Birdhill before the groups merged. Coming into Birdhill it would be all down to who had the freshest legs and who could get up that damn ramp the fastest. The finish line this week was 3/4s way up the ramp so that was going to catch a lot of people out. The pukey feeling when crossing the line was about to rear its ugly head.
It was Nenagh CC junior Denis Allen that managed to stay away and get up the hill the fastest. He was followed over the line by John Gleeson with Seán ‘I am just taking it easy’ Yelverton not too far back. Everyone else trickled over the lines in ones and twos with plenty turning around before the finish and plenty not even trying the ramp at the end! The scratch group came in 1:20 down, with Aaron O’Brien going on a fine solo break 1.5 km from the finish and holding off Shane to the line.
Thanks once again to everyone for turning up. Thanks as usual to our marshals and photographers – Seán Gleeson, Ken Hassett, Majella Moyles, Michael Buckley, Bill O’Brien, Patrick Reddan.
1. Denis Allen
2. John Gleeson
3. Sean ‘I am just taking it easy’ Yelverton