Clear blue skies, warm temperatures and a head wrecking headwind greeted us on Sunday morning for the “Visit Nenagh” National League Race. It was just heaven to have a local race, for obvious reasons. Following sign-on, catching up with other club members ,and the odd photos taken, Nenaghs’ Ladies Racing quartet – Sinnead Oakes, Rachel Clancy, Sinead Kennedy and myself (aka Maj) lined up to the front of the ladies racing group. Orders from headquarters on Sunday morning were for us to stay at the front of the bunch for the duration of the neutralised short spin, however this did not happen. One of our team mates received an unwarranted verbal abuse from a Cycle Ireland commissaire just before the race commenced and as you can imagine it put a damper on feelings.
It was my first “Visit Nenagh” race, and even though I cycled the lumps, hills, climbs and tracks of this A4 route on numerous occasions, it was a completely different experience as a race. We had a tail wind out the Limerick Road which made for a sharp speedy start, until the turn off into Ballina where it felt like a head wind hit us. I stayed at the back of the bunch while on the flats and descents. At times during the race I had Rachel for company, while Sinnead and Sinead were ensuring their presence was felt up front. On the approach to Kilmastulla Cemetry, the pace was quite smooth. I commented to Rachel at this point “why can’t our Thursday evenings be like this here”. Approaching the turn off towards Silvermines, the pace picked up a bit. Since I knew the bends ahead on this road, I stayed safe at the back, playing catch up after each ‘dangerous’ bend. On the pull into the Silvermines, I moved up the outside of the group, passing out those who were struggling here. Back then to the back until turn off up Dolla hill. Again, out to the outside over taking those who were going to hold me back. I moved up the bunch a good bit here, and was still with them to the KOH point….I was delighted.
Again knowing what was ahead, I braced myself…..into Templederry, down to Currabaha Cross and onto the Thurles Road. Next up was the Golden Mile. I really thought the bunch would take it easy here. I was completely wrong!! I did manage to get up this lumpy crappy surface without much difficulty, but failed dramatically to catch onto the bunch. Rachel, myself and another racer regrouped and started to work together to try and bridge the gap. I estimated the bunch was about 1.5km ahead. However, up over the climb out of Toomevara towards Nenagh, we could see in the distance traffic had stopped on both sides of the road, immediately realising an accident had occurred. On passing through, we saw one of our own teammates, Sinnead Oakes, was down. Without hesitating, we both dismounted and went straight to her. She had a deep cut in her right arm and a sore derriere (sorry Sinnead)….but thankfully lives to tell the tale. It was an easy cool down spin back to Nenagh for Rachel & myself. However, our star of the day was Sinead, who did extremely well, finishing in 15th place. Well done doll!!
Finally, thanks to family, friends and fellow club mates who were out cheering us on…..