It was a pretty miserable evening for this week’s league race, but there was still a fine turn with around 40 in attendance. If you are looking for a quality workout then this is ideal. 33km of pain and high speed racing and this evening’s race was no different.
There were 3 bunches on the road with the handicaps set at 5 mins and 2:15. After the scratch group failed to catch the front two groups last week, they made sure there wasn’t a repeat here. They plundered some of the best cyclists from group 2 and also reduced the normal handicap by 45 seconds. This done the job nicely!
A tail wind for the first half meant that the average pace to Nenagh for each bunch was very high. A drizzle fell throughout making for damp road conditions, but everyone took extra caution on the road. The biggest worry was from Derek Bowen’s bike ka-chunking its way down the road! The scratch group made good progress on the bunches ahead and by the time they reached the roundabout the gap was down to 40 seconds.
The first two bunches merged not long after the turnaround. Once again the first two bunches kept most of their members. Very few were dropped. It took longer than expected for the scratch group to catch the combined group ahead. Now cycling into a tough head wind, it was getting hard to pull back the gap. Bit by bit, the bunches came closer together. Cycling over the top of the small hill at the Yellowbridge, contact was made. Now it was time to race!
The problem with catching this bunch so late in the race is that it becomes very hard to break away as everyone knows there is not much left and the final few miles are mainly downhill and flat to Birdhill. Rarely does any break get even 5 seconds up the road and that was the case today. That meant that it would come down to a final sprint on the Birdhill ramp.
A large bunch swung left on the final roundabout and focused on the finish line ahead. With an incline all the way to the line it is always important to get the timing of your sprint right. The finish line this week was at the half way point (3/4s again next week!). AS the bunch bore down on the line it was anyone’s to win. First to shoot off the front was Dave Bourke from Limerick CC. He timed his jump well as he held the lead to the line just beating the Nenagh CC duo of Kenneth Kennedy and Shane Scully in what was the closest finish to date.
It is getting very embarrassing for the Nenagh CC scratch lads at this stage. Are they ever going to win? Plans will have to be hatched next week – expect a 9 man lead out train coming up the hill, with professional wind blocker Keith Butler (perfect genetics for this) at the front.
Great racing everyone!! See ye all again next week.
Thanks: as always we would like to thank our marshals for this evening – Eoin Sheehan, Ronan Walshe and PJ Brett.