The fear of God was in a lot of our club members at the hotel on a fine morning for cycling. The promise of increased speeds for January had everyone fearing the worst. For many, this fear proved to be well justified. There were multiple victims as the pace increased on the, always difficult, rolling terrain from Carrigahorig back to Nenagh.
Numbers were a little less than usual for our first cycle of 2017 with some sick, some skiing, some scared and some injured. There were 23 on the road as we set off for Roscrea. One thing we need to improve on a little is the early bunch speed. It is going a bit too slow and that is resulting in a bit too much braking down the back. You can talk away but keep pushing a decent pace for your 2 – 3 minutes on the front.
We eventually made it to Roscrea where the first split of the day took place. For once, all 3 groups made the correct turn. Strangely enough, there weren’t many volunteers for the middle group. Instead we had a larger group 1 and 3. The pace to Birr was fast as usual despite Eoin Wooley’s chain being so loose it was almost dragging off the ground! Groups 2 and 3 merged shortly after on the road to Portumna. G1 were still well out front and going well. Today’s cycle was going to be a long one with the toughest part coming in the last hour so there was plenty of time to chase down this group.
G2 and G3 split in Portumna with G2 heading towards Carrigahorig and G3 making a detour into Portumna. Another hard interval session started here with an hour of power from Portumna back to Nenagh. The pace in Group 3 started off steady enough but increased gradually as the interval progressed. We are now in January with the racing season coming up in 8 weeks, so group 3 will be pushing it on a lot more towards the end with a no-wait policy in place. That might seem mean but it is what it is, so deal with it.
Group 2 were first to pass Group 1. They were well out in front at this stage and were not going to be caught. There are some fine cyclists in that group so catching them is never easy. Group 3 passed group 1 a mile before Puckaun. After 100km of cycling most of them still seemed very fresh. The pace in group 3 increased again as they passed through Puckaun. Coming into town there were just 4 or 5 clinging on with no sign of group 2 anywhere.
Today was a tough day on the bike. There is no point saying it’s going to get easier, because it won’t. We need to push on now. Group 3 were missing 4 or 5 of their top lads so if you think that pace was fast, you are in for a rude awakening in future weeks. For some, you might need to re-evaluate what group to go in. For others it was clear that some serious progress has been made. No matter where you find yourself fitness-wise, keep plugging away, don’t throw in the towel. It’s a long season with plenty of time to improve and get up to speed.
Next up: Sunday Cycle – Tescos at 8:00am. Those training for the Marmotte are going to need to start getting out for this cycle. We need to start putting in some big mileage. Tomorrows cycle is the long version of the lake. In a few weeks we will be making it even longer with some added hills to climb too. Woohoo!