The first of four Winter Warrior ‘races’ took place this morning on the N7 road from Nenagh to Roscrea. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Tri Club there was a race within the race to see which club would come out on top – Nenagh CC or Nenagh Tri. However, the arrival of a few foreign raiders to the start line led to a slight change of plan. The two local teams combined to try to keep the victory out of the hands of the foreign hordes, but in the end ‘they came, they saw, they conquered’ as Paul Kennedy took the first round victory.
It was a fine morning for a bike race and it was great to see a crowd of 40 cyclists on the start line. We decided to go with 4 groups with handicap times of 0, 8, 11 and 14. As always, Bertie Sherlock was our time-keeper and service car driver. We also had Sinead and Seren Kennedy on photo and car duty too. The scene was set for a top quality race and the cyclists didn’t disappoint. Even Keith Butler managed to get a result today.
The pace from the start was fast due to a tail wind to Roscrea. Group 4 clocked 43.5km per hour on the way out and had taken back 2 of the 3 minute gap to the group ahead. The groups ahead were pacing themselves as they knew the important part of the race was still to come. Nevertheless, it still wasn’t easy for any group out there.
On the long straight before Dunkerrin all 4 groups were within touching distance. Distances can be a little deceiving on that road though and it wasn’t until we hit Moneygall that all 4 groups had merged and the real battle could begin. This was exactly where we had planned for things to come together so the handicaps and group formation worked well. The average pace was 40.5km per hour for group 4 to this spot.
Coming out of Moneygall, Kenneth Kennedy broke off the front. At first it looked like nobody was going to go after him but then his brother Matty went in chase. If Matty could merge with Kenneth the break would look very promising, this led to Shane Scully breaking next. Shane managed to get up to Kenneth but Matty couldn’t quite make it. The two boys started working well together but with a tough headwind to battle it was still going to be very hard to stay away.
Coming through Toom and the two lads were still ahead. In the distance, they could see Paul Kennedy and Bobby Coleman coming across – somehow the 20 Nenagh lads that should have been marking them let them escape!!! Two miles down the road, the NWCC boys caught up and Paul Kennedy immediately went on the attack. Kenneth had enough energy left to chase him down and Shane managed to regain contact too.
This was still a good situation for the Nenagh lads as they had a numerical advantage. A numerical advantage doesn’t count for much though when its two lad with catapults versus a tank. Shane and Kenneth both tried to break away from Paul but he was chasing things down very easily. The bunch were now closing in, although I am not quite sure why the bunch were chasing down their own men up front!! This led to a ceasefire from Paul, Shane and Kenneth and they focused on staying away to the line. This wasn’t to happen though.
Paul Kennedy broke from the lads again coming off of the descent at Lisboney. Kenneth once again managed to chase him down. Shane took one look over his shoulder and saw the bunch just 5 seconds back and called it a day. Paul and Kenneth were soon swallowed up too. Now it was down to the bunch to show what they could do. There were some bursts off the front but the wind was too strong to let anyone stay away.
Coming into the sprint it was a case of who died the least. Plenty went way too early into the breeze and couldn’t hold it. The one man who was strong enough to hold it was Paul Kennedy who still had enough in the tank to take the win. Kenneth Kennedy came from the back of the bunch to take second as everyone died around him.
- Paul Kennedy – NWCC
- Charlie Hogan – Nenagh CC (10 points)
- Kenneth Kennedy – Nenagh CC (9 points)
- Gary Scully – Nenagh Tri (8 points)
- Eoin Woolley – Nenagh Tri (7 points)
- John Gleeson – Nenagh CC (6 points)
- Ronan O’Driscoll – Nenagh Tri (5 points)
- Keith Butler – Nenagh Tri (4 points)
- Jurgen Simpson – Nenagh CC (3 points)
- Cliodhna McGrath – Nenagh Tri (2 points)
- William Killackey – Nenagh CC (1 point)
Nenagh CC vs Nenagh Tri Club – the victors in this battle were Nenagh CC by a score of 29 points to 26. It was very close but the sheer class of Nenagh CC shone through in the end! Phew!!
Stats check: total average today was 25.5 mph / 40.8kmph. Total time 1:11:18. In comparison, the winning time from WW2 last February was 1:14:48 at 24.3 mph / 38.9kmph. Standard has improved a lot. Savage going.
The 50km distance proved too far for some. Add in an average pace of 40km/h and it becomes very understandable that there was a lot of tired bodies crossing the finish line. This was only a bit of fun but I suppose it’s only fun if you enjoy pain and getting sweat and snot all over yourself. There were some fine performance on the day and it was great to see so many riders still in the final bunch that came to the line. We are hitting big speeds out there so be proud of your efforts.
Next up: there are 3 more ‘races’ left in the Winter Warrior Series. All 3 will take place in January and February. They get progressively tougher. WW2 will be 64km long – starting and finishing in Nenagh. After that we start throwing in some hills.
Tonight we have our annual Christmas Night Out in Rockys. Everyone is more than welcome to come. Expect people to start arriving from 8:45 onwards.
Sunday Cycle: we are still not sure if this is going ahead. We will ask around later and put a message on Facebook and Viber