The 2017 season is almost at an end. Just one more major Winter Warrior race left and then we can wind down with a few mickey mouse national races until September. WW3 proved to be a ferocious battle with a blistering average speed of 36km per hour. Some lads were showing signs of fatigue after a long tough season but others peaked at the perfect time. Race winner, Shane Scully put his victory down to plenty of Z7 training and positive visualisation. He spent Friday evening practicing winning salutes on the turbo but unfortunately there was no camera on the finish line to record it. “Amateurs” he was heard muttering at the end. He can take solace in the fact that surely the pro contract offer is in the post.
Here is how the Rás (na Nollag 3) went…..
It was a bitterly cold start to the day. Those that turned up for the 9:00am warm-up at the hotel were well wrapped up. Plenty of club members had decided not to bother with the warm-up and sure why not. It’s not as if any of us warmed up out there. The race was a few minutes late kicking off, but there was no harm in that as it allowed the temperature to rise a little. By the time it kicked off, the sun was shining and it would turn out to be a good day for cycling.
There were 31 cyclists on the start line including 4 foreign raiders looking to take the pretty boys of Nenagh CC down a peg or two. 29 vs 4 aren’t good odds though and those 4 nearly pulled it off. The handicaps today were 0, 12, 17 and 20. Group 3 looked crestfallen and resigned to their fate as they set-off. After staying away from Group 4 at the last race their handicap was slashed and deservedly so (that’s the last time ye show up the men of the rás!).
There were 11 cyclists in Group 4 and they set off at a lively pace. The gap to group 3 was falling quickly but group 4 were also losing some of their own group with 3 cyclists going out the back before Toomevara. On the long straight before Roscrea, you could see that the groups would all be merging a little sooner than planned for. All 4 groups pushed on around the Roscrea roundabout but by the time we hit Dunkerrin the groups were all more or less together. Now the proper racing could begin.
There was still a long way to go so there was an immediate lull in the bunch. Most riders were feeling that it was too far away from home to go on a break. You shouldn’t be thinking like that and plenty of riders missed a great opportunity to get up the road as the pace died in the bunch. This is proper racing where if you don’t break you are going to come nowhere, so you are better off jumping early and let others rider up to you. Most in the bunch were just expecting the bunch to start chasing – that rarely happens and it didn’t happen today.
First to break was Martin Bourke from Upperchurch and he built a very big lead in a short space of time as others looked around wondering what to do. Next up the road were Kevin and Jurgen and they were soon joined by Shane Scully. There was now plenty of action in the main bunch as lots of people were jumping. On the way over to Seáníns, things had settled down a bit and there were 3 groups on the road. Shane, Jurgen and Martin were up front and they were being chased by Denis Allen, Gary Scully, Tommy Hanrahan, Kevin Sherlock and Pat Ryan.
Seáníns is a tough climb at the best of times. When you hit it with tired legs it can be a killer. The front 3 didn’t last long together with Shane pulling ahead on the climb. It was still a long way back to Nenagh and Shane isn’t well-known for his power along the flat 12km back to Nenagh so he had to build a bit of a lead on the climb and hope to hold off the rest on the way back to the finish.
The second group on the road caught Martin and Jurgen shortly after the climb and they pushed on for a while. The remnants of the bunch behind started pushing the pace a little on the way back to Nenagh and swallowed up the chase group. Shane was still out front though and wasn’t going to be caught; not with an average pace of 35km per hour for the last 10km! He was spinning out in parts he was going so fast pushing the 11, although he probably should have just flicked it into the top chain ring.
To wrap things up – Shane was 1st home with a lorry hampering the sprint for 2nd so the lads just rolled in together, with maybe Dan Hogan just getting up for 2nd.
Thanks to everyone for supporting the cycle today. Needless to say, the usual no-shows when the road gets lumpy were no-shows again today. As Shane and Gary were doing their post race cool down on some out of the way country roads, who should they cycle past, none other than the undynamic duo of Keith ‘King Fraud’ Butler and The Stallion.
Next up: Sunday morning lake spin at 8:00 from Tescos. It is supposed to be a cold one tonight so check out Viber for updates. If the roads are in a bad way we might have to start at a later time.
Winter Warrior 4: takes place in two weeks time. This cycle acts as the perfect warm-up for the Lacey Cup the following weekend. It always proves to be a tough test and is good for getting rid of the cobwebs before the season starts. We hope to see a good crowd there for this one.