The bank holiday kicked off with a lively cycle today on our N7 loop course. This was the 5th Saturday spin of our winter training programme and things went very smoothly. The presence of two hills on the route made the cycle tougher than usual. There were plenty of non finishers today but most seemed to have legitimate excuses for leaving early. Kenneth will be following up on all excuses to make sure nobody is pulling a fast one!
The weather today was perfect. 14 degrees and dry with light winds = ideal conditions for the 30 cyclists on the road. The start is becoming much more organised now as everyone knows what to do. This means we are waiting around far less. Both warm-up bunches were on the road shortly after 9:05 and both reached the Obama Plaza roundabout at the same time. No instructions were needed for group formation, although with 8 in G1, 12 in G2 and 10 in G3, we could have done with 1 or 2 more opting for G1.
Paul Scully was in charge of G1 today and they pushed a nice pace on the road. They received a slightly bigger handicap than usual but the gap was still slow in coming down, as G1 worked well together. A puncture hampered their progress a bit but the beauty of the loop course means that only 1 person gets delayed while the rest push on, with the punctured cyclist joining in on the way back. Most of G1 were together to the end of loop 2 but the final ascent of Army Hill caused a few to go out the back. Brian Maloney was all alone-y at the back once again this week after deserting G1 last week!
Groups G2 and G3 had to tackle Army Hill twice. The fear of the hill caused the average pace of the spin to drop a little, but it was still fast for this time of year. Both groups worked well and the gap between them was coming down slowly. Both groups were ordered to keep things together on the first ascent of Army Hill. On the way from Moneygall to Toomevara, the gap between G2 and G3 came down a lot. By the time both groups were back on the main road there was very little distance between the groups.
Out of the 10 that started in G3, only 5 remained on the final loop. Some went home and some opted to join G2. After the final loop, G1 were still out in front and they were now chased by G3 with G2 a further 30 seconds back. The pace up Army Hill slowed in G3 with the group looking to keep all 5 remaining cyclists together to the finish. Behind, G2 pushed a strong pace up the climb and this resulted in the bunch splitting a little. Coming into the finish in Toom, G3 and the remains of G1 came together and they cycled back to Nenagh together. Not far behind, G2 and a few others from G1 came together to cool down back to Nenagh.
Next up: Sunday cycle at 8:00 – lake route – two intervals + a coffee stop.
Monday cycle – still a possibility – we will see what people want tomorrow. If there is a crowd looking to head out then we will organise something and put it up on Facebook and Viber.