30 cyclists turned up at the latest race of our summer series. As per usual there were 3 groups. The first group was smaller than usual so a bigger handicap of 7 minutes was given back to a large group 2, who in turn had a handicap of 1:45 on group 3.
With such a large middle group the back group expected a tough ride to catch them. The last group knuckled down to the task at hand quickly and pushed a very hard pace towards Nenagh. It was surprising to catch the middle group at Mulrooney’s garage, as it was expected that they would stay away a little longer. Nevertheless, the bunches combined and after a messy period of rolling and surging the large bunch settled into a fast rhythm and began closing the gap on the first bunch.
At the Nenagh roundabout the combined bunch could see that the first bunch were doing very well but their numbers had been reduced even further. This would make it very hard for them to stay away. They lost a lot of time on the way home and were caught at Mulrooneys on the way back to Birdhill. The real race could begin now. Simon Ryan moved to the front coming into the hill at the Yellowbridge and reacted quickly to break from the group with Shane Scully. David from Covey Wheelers and Kenneth Kennedy soon joined the break, and as they were all caught by the bunch David and Kenneth slipped away again.
Simon Ryan took it on himself to close down this break and proceeded to pace the group the whole way to Birdhill by himself. He set a great pace which made any breakaway attempts futile. Everyone else just sat in and waited for the 1.5km climb to the finish. The gradient on the climb is very low, but coming at the end of a 44km average spin, it can break you.
A large bunch rounded the final corner and onto the ramp. Unlike last week where things kicked off from the start, the bunch stayed together for 3/4s way up the climb. Michael Browne, Con Kennedy, Eoin O’Donoghue were pushing on the pace towards the top but the bunch wasn’t splitting. With 600m to go it was Shane Scully that broke first and he was followed by David, Kenneth and Daniel Bresnan. A good gap opened quickly and Shane was able to hold out for the win ahead of Daniel Bresnan in 2nd and Kenneth Kennedy in 3rd. In 4th was Eoin O’Donoghue and in 5th was Dan Hogan. Sinéad Kennedy performed best of the girls on the night. Great stuff everyone!
Next up: there are still 3 more weeks of our summer league left – see you again next Thursday at 7:00pm.