It was a bitterly cold day for the latest round of the Winter Warrior. The sharp overnight frost cleared slowly but the roads were fine for hard cycling. There were no foreign raiders at the race today so it was a local battle for the title of King of the Club. The title now returns to Tommy Hurricane, one year after winning the very same Winter Warrior round last year. Tommy took the win in a sprint finish after groups 2 and 3 stayed away from start to finish.
Here is how the race went……
There were around 30 club members on the start line. This made for 4 groups on the road with handicaps at 0, 10, 13 and 17. The pre-race warm-up failed to have that warming up effect, so very few jackets/winter gloves/headbands etc. were being discarded at the start. It would take some serious horse power to get the temperatures up today.
With a 17 minute wait to the start, Shane and Kenneth went off cycling to keep warm. They went a little too far though and by the time they got back to the start the first 3 bunches had gone and bunch 4 had just started so they jumped in with them. It was soon very obvious that this race was going to be a farce as there were only 5 in group 4 (with only 4 working fully) after a number of stronger riders opted for the easier group 3 while the lads were gone. This led to a complete imbalance in the groups and there was no way the 4 minute head start was going to be reeled in. Group 4 accepted their fate and decided to get a good training session out of it anyway.
Lesson learned – the bunch must be baby-sat at all times!
As I wasn’t in the winning bunch today, Kevin Sherlock has put pen to paper to give us his opinions on how the day went……
“This morning started out like a normal cold January morning where 30 or so cyclists turned up at the start line. What people didn’t know was something different was going to happen today. With the original fraud squad back in the second last bunch they were recruiting members at an alarming rate and keeping it well under wraps. As the first group started off they seemed to go well and were only caught just before Roscrea, the second group were flying as well and had some very strong cyclists in it. The last group got the raw deal which was all part of the fraud squad’s plan, as the last group warmed up, the second last group set off with a few additional very strong recruits. It was the best squad that was ever assembled. Today was going to be our day!!!
We had a few Sergio’s in our bunch but that was soon sorted out and everyone was doing their bit. Benny ‘the power’ Delaney got a slow puncture just outside Moneygall on the way to Roscrea but still made it the whole way back to Nenagh in the front group. Cathal ‘King Ironman’ was motoring too. As we reached Roscrea a few of the strong men were taking double turns. It was like the Tommy and Jurgen show at times!! As we pulled out of Roscrea with the first three bunches now all together we saw The Ras boys with Kenny the kangaroo (a great man to jump across) Kennedy pushing hard at the front.
At this point I chuckled as I knew even with the four big guns that were in that group they were never going to catch us. Panic set in for the Rás boys, with Brownie, Tiger Scully and the bearded man killing themselves to catch us. Just coming towards Dunkerrin, Gary Scully dropped back to help the boys as he was feeling guilty. I reckon it’s the last time he will be joining the fraud squad outfit. The most impressive bit of cycling I saw all day was from Geraldine as the group climbed the short drag just before Toom; lads were struggling, including myself, as she flew past me up the hill.
At this stage, we brought in fresh legs with a new recruit – Eoin “grounds keeper willie” Wooley and he made a big impact. Coming up the hill out of Toom, Tommy the gun and Andy the stallion put on a surge and people went out the back; the group was starting to whittle down. Now here’s where the breaks should have started happening but the fraud squad, aka me, was saying nothing and getting a bit closer to Nenagh.
As we pass the roundabout and then the soccer field I took flight from the bunch hoping one of the strong lads would follow me and help me stay away. They knew I was the wrong wheel to follow and caught me before I got the whole 9 yards. It was such a weak break people thought it was a surge. Keith ‘king fraud’ Butler was all on for the win but just before the line Tommy machine gun and a few others flew by for the honours. “
From my point of view this is how the race went…….
Group 3, knowing that they had a great shot of staying away, piled on the pressure from the start and managed to catch group 2 after only 12km of the 60km cycle. This led to a super group up front being chased by 4 lads down the back. By the time the groups hit the half way point in Roscrea, the gap was down a little from 4 minutes to 3 minutes.
Group 1 had splintered on the road and they were passed soon after the turn. All groups had been caught up front so this is when the RACING should have begun. With a 3 minute lead the large bunch were never going to be caught. Instead of practicing breakaways, for some reason the bunch decided to work together with the sole purpose of staying away from group 4 who were nowhere near.
Why are ye working together? Why is beating group 4 so important? Why don’t you think about your own race and how you can win it? Do ye not know how to race? This is total A4 style racing where everything ends in a sprint finish. We do these races to practice racing, not for a roll over session – we do that every week. Three quarters of ye are not able to sprint – so why are ye bringing sprinters to the line with ye??!!
Hint: when in a bunch, do not do any work. The only time you put in any effort is when trying a breakaway. In a bunch like that it should have been breakaway attempt after breakaway attempt. In terms of tactics, Tommy made fools out of all of ye today and deservedly won.
There were one or two breakaway attempts from the large bunch but they were quickly chased down by the bunch. It was heading towards and inevitable sprint finish. Coming past Lisboney graveyard, it was all still together. Chris Spelman went for broke here but couldn’t stay away as there were plenty of fresh legs in the bunch. The pace ramped up over the last half mile and it was no surprise when Tommy opened a gap coming into the line to take the win. Benny Delaney took a fine 2nd place after cycling back from Roscrea with a very soft tire. The last place on the podium went to John Gleeson. First woman home today was Gillian Mounsey. First junior rider was Denis Allen.
Back in group 4, the lads kept pushing on to the end and the final gap to the bunch came down to around two minutes. It was a great workout from start to finish but that is not the type of workout we are looking for. The average pace was a little bit down today on the previous Winter Warrior but given the freezing conditions and the way the race went I suppose that was to be expected.
Revenge will be sweet at the next race!!!!
Next up: Sunday cycle around the lake at 8:00am from Tescos.
Winter Warrior 3: will take place on Saturday, February 4th. The route for this will be a little longer again (76km) with one hill being introduced. Don’t let that hill scare you off. If doing a club race with a hill scares you off, how are you going to be able to handle a full racing season?!
Video of the Finish