Less than ideal weather conditions led to a smaller entry than usual at the start line of the 2nd race of our winter league. There were 28 starters spread across 4 groups with the gaps at 0, 6, 12, and 15. With 15 minutes separating the first and last group it was always going to be a tough challenge reeling everybody in. The 3 minutes between group 2 and group 1 gave the lads in group 2 an added incentive to try to stay away.
The aim of this race series is to have all bunches merge around Dunkerrin so that we can have a proper race home. There is also a responsibility to keep your bunch together (within reason). Things didn’t quite work out that way today but the race was still very enjoyable nevertheless and we hope everyone got a good workout in the end.
The wind was a key factor in today’s race. It was coming up from a southerly direction and that meant plenty of cross winds, which put a lot of people in each group under pressure. All 4 bunches started quickly and tore down the road. It was cold at the start line so people were eager to warm-up. Today’s race was almost 60km in length so the question was always going to be – are you leaving enough in the tank to get to the end with your group? For way to many, the answer was no.
Group 1 had just 6 riders in it and they roled continuously to Roscrea. They were chasing a bigger group with some excellent riders in the group. The gap was coming down slowly. At the turn around point there was still 2 mins of a gap. Had group 2 gone out too quickly? If they paced it right they should have got back to Nenagh with almost a minute to spare! That wasn’t quite how it went. Will Rymer can fill you in on what was going on in bunch 2…..
” The second group left with a three minute advantage, and taking off into the wind they knew that the Rás team would be hot on their heels. It had appeared that we would be fighting into the wind to Roscrea and then have a nice tailwind back to Nenagh, but once on the road it seemed to be clattering us from the side. No rest to be had. The pace started fairly hot, with everybody taking their turn at the front.
We caught the next group on the road in Ballinakill, but by this point the pace was picking up and only four or five of the group were rolling over consistently with others dipping in and out. Turning in Roscrea the wind was lashing us again, and now the rain started to come down in buckets too. The group started to get a little more strung out as we approached Dunkerrin, as the wind took its toll Con Kennedy, Kevin Sherlock, Benny Delaney and Keith Butler kept the group in line and did the guts of the work up front. Con pulled up just outside Moneygall with a puncture.
Shortly after catching the remaining group, Tommy Hanrahan and Dan Hogan came past on a break from the scratch group and encouraged a little dig from those of us with any energy left in the tank including Donnachadh and Denis. Still no sign of the scratch group coming through Toomevara where we were held up by traffic (never saw those lights in use), but they had to be closing. Will managed to end his and Benny’s charge in a racing incident at the roundabout at the flyover, leaving Tommy and Dan to make a dash for the finish.
Some seconds later the scratch group came through at a ferocious pace, but again inhibited by a hesitant driver on the road. The second group averaged 36.5kmh and that wasn’t bad going for the maelstrom we were out in today. “
That wasn’t quite the full story with group 1. There was no actual break on the road, just some hard riding from Tommy which was putting some in trouble. It’s great to have that power! Two were dropped, two waited and two ploughed on ahead. Once the back 4 were back together they set off again in pursuit of Tommy and Dan. However, the boys were lifting it on the road and held their lead brilliantly to the line.
Coming into Nenagh, Tommy and Dan agreed to share the win after working so hard together. They were a good bit ahead of Kenneth, Shane and Kevin who came in together with Kevin taking the 3rd place on the podium. First woman home today was Cliodhna McGrath. The rest of the bunch trickled over the line in ones and twos. The rain was falling hard now so there wasn’t much waiting around for a post race analysis. Initial reactions were of relief to be finished and plenty of happy but tired faces at a job well done.
Congrats to everyone for their efforts today. It wasn’t easy but you got through it. You will be stronger for that. If things didn’t quite go as planned for you today, then get stuck into training over the next few days and weeks. It will come good for you eventually. It’s only early days yet.
Marshals – thanks to Bertie and John ‘I have a sore back’ Gleeson for their help on the road today.
Photos – we hope to have a few photos up later today. I can’t wait to see the faces of pain!
1st – Tommy Hurricane
1st – Dan ‘ah sure, you know sure’ Hogan
3rd – Kevin ‘get me to the gallop’ Sherlock
1st woman – Cliodhna McGrath
Next up: we have another tough cycle tomorrow starting at 8:00am at Tescos. The forecast is not looking the best for the morning so we will make a call on it after 9:00pm tonight. Check out viber or Facebook for that update.
Next week: the racing season starts next Sunday. We are hoping to have at least 15 racing on the day. There are two races to choose from. Most are going to Loughrea and some are going to Monasterevin. Pick one – it beats sitting on the couch all day! We are also considering holding WW3 next Saturday but we will make a late decision on that. Remember – races like Loughrea are not important in the overall scheme of things. Do not be resting up for these races – we expect to see everyone out on Saturday no matter what we have planned.
If you are racing for the club this year make sure to take out a license and also join our new ‘Nenagh CC Racing 2016’ viber group.