Racing Round Up
So this past Sunday saw club members partaking in 2 separate races. Aidan, Paul, Ollie and Eddie were racing with the IVCA in Batterstown, while myself and Peter headed for Carlow for the Des Hanlon Memorial race.
The circuit for the Des Hanlon is renowned as being very tough and this was certainly the case. The fine summer weather brought out a large crowd with all the big names in Irish cycling taking part in the A1 race. 2 An Post pros, Sam Bennett and Connor McConvey showed up for the main race of day.
The mere mortals in A3 and A4 had a tough day ahead with the A3’s going 2 laps of the circuit and the A4’s just doing 1 circuit. About 75 A4’s signed on and we set off around 12:15pm with a 4km controlled roll out to the start line on the Portlaoise Road. The first part of the lap headed towards Portlaoise on the N80. The pace was pretty fast with a few lads attempting a breakaway which never stuck as the bunch hunted them down. Turning left at The Pike brought the first drag of the day. A steady pace kept the group together as we headed for Castlecomer. The main road was rolling with plenty of draggy bits and some fast sections. The group was all over the place with a load of guys on the wrong side of the white line. Several trucks and buses had to pull in as we past such was the mad cycling. For whatever reason no one wanted to head near the front and this ballooned the bunch across the road. At this stage I drifted a bit to far to the rear for comfort and could not get up to the front.
The circuit took a left turn before Castelcomer and headed into the hills on the Kilkenny – Laois border. Before the turn there was a big crash when 1 cyclist lost control, hit a wall and landed hard on the road. Ouch. As we made the turn the first steep drag was starring down at the bunch. A cyclist from DID Dunboyne nearly came down when his chain snapped. The bunch soon split to pieces on the ensuing drags as we headed back to Carlow. I was feeling good tough and kept near the front. After a particularly fast, narrow descent we turned left back onto the main road. On the next drag, a rider attacked bringing 5 guys with him. I tried to bridge up but couldn’t make it and started to cramp and thus die a thousand deaths. The lead group eventually contained 4 guys and a smaller group of about 6, including me gave chase as we dropped into Carlow. Our chase group was not working at all. 2 guys wouldn’t roll up and 1 or 2 were driving the pace which made the roll ups less and less likely. As the break faded into the distance our poor work rate caused the group to grow to about 10 or 12 riders.
With 1k to go the pace increased for the sprint for 5th. Then, disaster struck at the 500 metre mark. 2 guys in front of me caught crossed their bars and hit the deck hard. With nowhere to go and bikes and bodies under me, I was flung off the bike and bounced off the road. Luckily a quick bodily inspection indicated no serious injuries and the bike escaped damage. The 2 lads who fell first weren’t so lucky, one had a broken collarbone and the other looked like he sustained a broken arm. So that was a great finish to my race but it could of being worse and all I got was a bruised shoulder.
The circuit was very tough with some nice climbs and the winner Derek Byrne definitely earned it.
Garmin stats here: Distance – 73.95km Avg. Speed – 36.4km/h
In the A3 race, Peter finished back in the bunch. A hard session in the Blooms on Friday put pay to Peters ambitions.
The tough nature of the circuit and fast racing ensured that several A3, A2 and A1 riders never made the finish line with their groups.
The Vets had their fist race of the year in Batterstown on Sunday. Report from Aidan.
Club members Oliver Daly, Aidan McNamara, Paul Kavanagh and Eddie Scully all participated in the Irish Veterans Cycling Association (IVCA) 1st Road Race of the 2012 League. The weather conditions were perfect with the sun shinning. The 64km distance covered an undulating circuit From Batterstown to 3 x 19 km laps of dry, gravel free and almost pothole free roads along the Green Sheds route close to Batterstown Co. Meath. Ollie and Aidan were part of the scratch group race with Irelands best racing veterans. The pace was ferocious from the start with an average of 43kph for the first lap. Attacks were going with great regularity with both Aidan and Ollie getting into some promising breaks only to be chased down by the pack. Coming into the last lap the race average had settled at 43kph and a bunch sprint ensued. Bray Wheelers had a tactically astute race and took the honours with a perfect lead out for the eventual winner. Aidan and Ollie were placed in the top 20 and got some valuable experience.
Paul Kavanagh was racing in his maiden IVCA race. It was a tough assignment and he performed brilliantly. Although two Sorrento Club racers got away early to form the winning break, Paul gave chase with help from 4 or 5 others. The pack failed to give any assistance and the chase was doomed. In the sprint for 3rd Paul looked strong and went to the front with 200m to go. He held on but with 25m to go the steep incline to the finish and a race average of 38kph took its toll and Paul finished 10th, just outside the points.
Eddie went into battle in the final race and was confident of a good result as his winter training schedule (Spain, Canaries and Ballyboy) was on course to produce some good results.Again Eddie like Paul missed the important break as a group of 6 riders got away. The pack failed to organise a chase despite Eddie’s best efforts. In the sprint for the line for 7th and 8th place, Eddie stormed through to take 8th and get the clubs first points of the season.
A great first outing and more to come next week
Sunday Group Spins
Groups A & B
A few of the A group riders headed to Portlaoise for the Lap of Laois Cycle with the Watchtours CC. Reports suggest that the cycle was a great success with a large turnout. The weather gods were smiling. Seamus was providing backup on the day.
I passed the B group heading for Portarlington as I was on my way to Carlow.
Again if anyone has any reports from the group send them on to me and i’ll post them up here.
5 cyclists set off with the C group on Sunday. The group headed out towards Daingean and on towards Croghan Hill, where they were sure to work up a sweat on the slopes of the hill. Tyrellspass was the next destination and then they headed back along the old N6 for a coffee stop in Kilbeggan. Once fed and watered the group headed back to Tullamore. The cycle ended up at 56km and an average of 24km/h.