We all knew the brutal weather was coming but that didn’t stop another large bunch of Nenagh CC members heading out into the eye of the oncoming storm. There are times when it is good to brave the elements but this certainly wasn’t one of them. It all started off so nicely. We had a strong breeze blowing us to Roscrea. The cruising pace of 25 mph was never going to last though and we knew we would be in for a bruising once we turned towards Templemore. Those that turned around early made the right decision!
On reaching Roscrea, the bunch was to split and chase each other to Templemore. As we left Roscrea the dark clouds caught up with us and the howling wind tried its best to rip the bunches in two. There was no shelter as cross winds put everyone in the gutter and in pain. Early splits were appearing in the bunches and the going was tough. The racing group caught the first group early but there was no waiting, even at this early stage it was every man and woman for themselves. Every opening in the ditch was like a punch in the face with the wind slamming you hard. Even still we all persevered on with a steady but seriously tough going rolling over session to Templemore.
On reaching Templemore, we initially decided against stopping to let everyone regroup. It was just too wet to stop and everyone would just get far too cold. However, some guilt set in and before we left town we decided to pull in to wait. After a few minutes of trying to handle food with frozen hands the racing group made the decision to push on ahead. It was just too cold to be standing around (sorry everybody else!!).
There was no point taking it easy for the next part of our trip so we singled out and each of us battled for 30 seconds into the wind before pulling out to let the next sucker through. We were going nowhere fast and we still had the tough hilly finish to do. Plenty of our weak-willed cyclists were praying and arguing for a detour but we weren’t going to get any wetter and the few hills in storm conditions would prepare us well for the upcoming summer of open cycle races in Ireland!
As we turned off towards Templederry and made our way towards the hills a lot of lads started to feel the pinch. You could see in their faces that they were now in the clutches of ‘The Fear’. The fear of being dropped is always there for most. On a sunny day you can live with it. On a day like today it’s like getting tossed over board. Once again we were in the dead zone and it was time to start cutting the rope. Once the rope was cut you were on your own. No protection from the wind and all the time in the world to reflect on how you just couldn’t keep up!
One by one people were put out the back. Gary was driving a hard pace up the hills and going over the top there was just 6 left. The fun wasn’t over as we still had to drive the pace on till the planned cool down start in Dolla. Getting up the hill in the group is tough but staying in the group as you go over the top and down the other side is even tougher. How many times have you got up to the top of a hill in the race only to see that small 5m gap keep extending as you know you have used all your energy just to get up to the top? On the way down towards Dolla. Keith Butler used his considerable bulk to his advantage, pulling out a sneaky break on the last downhill and taking his first ever training spin victory – it’s a proud day for himself and his family.
Rain soaked, tired, cold and miserable (except for Darren ‘sandbag’ Dunne, who was clearly abusing his special sandbagging abilities today) we all headed for home. There were men and women strung out all over the place but everyone (I think) made it home eventually. ‘Never again’ was the final thoughts for the day, but no doubt we will be enduring the same shite again sooner rather than later. The scars won’t be healed by tomorrow though so turbo it is!
Next week we would love to hear from a different cycling perspective. Any volunteers???
Training: if you found the going tough today then try to make it to our mid week turbo (Tuesday, 7:30pm, running complex). Cycling once a week just isn’t enough to stay with our bunch at this stage of the year so you need to put some extra work in.
Cycling Ireland Membership: plenty of people have signed up at this stage. It takes time for your membership card to be sent out (a few more weeks).
Club Gear Payment: if you have received your gear and still haven’t paid then try and arrange for payment this week. We have another large gear order to pay for and need to recoup the money from the first order to pay for it. try and bring it to circuit training on Monday.
Rás Donation: Please take the time to make a donation to our Rás team. If we get a little something from a lot of people then that would be a big help. The Rás team members would like to say thanks to everyone that has already donated.