It was Tullamore CTC’s turn to host round 2 of the 2012 MIL League last Thursday Night. The Clara circuit now used is a slightly altered version of previous years with 3 laps in total. The circuit takes you out to Ballycumber, back towards Rahan with the final straight through Clara Bog with the finish beside the pitch & putt club. The threat of rain didn’t materialise but a strong northerly wind was blowing which would make the racing interesting.
There was a good turnout from Tullamore CTC and we also had 2 of our junior riders taking part in their first MIL Race.
There were 3 groups in the A/B race. The B’s got 1 minute on the B+ who got a further 2 minutes on the A group. In B there was myself and Collie from Tullamore with one from Shannonside and one from Laois making up the quartet. With only a minutes advantage it didn’t seem likely that we would stay away from the bigger groups behind. We lost one rider after a couple of miles and with only 3 left the task of staying away lessened.
On the finishing straight through the bog, there was a tough headwind and the group was further reduced to just myself and Collie. With the other B group fast approaching it wouldn’t be long until we were caught. As we crested the climb 2 guys jumped clear of the B group. One guy flew past me and Collie. Collie latched on and I sat up (big mistake as it turned out) thinking it was a suicide mission with a bigger group behind. I returned to the shelter of the main group leaving Collie and 1 Shannonsider up the road. Once back in the group no one from Tullamore or Shannonside was prepared to chase and it was left up to Mullingar and Laois to do the chasing. With only 3 doing the work our lead over the A group dwindled and we ended up getting caught just as the 3rd and final lap began.
Normally when the A’s latch on the pace increases but on Thursday the pace remained steady as less and less riders were willing to take a pull on the front. The tactical riding allowed the break to remain ahead and probably increased there lead. On the back straight out of Ballycumber 3 riders from the A group jumped clear in an effort to try and overtake the break.
With all the clubs represented in the breaks that was the end of the chase. Up front Collie was still going strong in the break. The duo’s lead was reducing as they hit the finish straight and the headwind. At the end Collies breakaway companion jumped clear on the drag and took the victory with Collie coming home a well deserved 2nd. The chase group rolled in shortly after with the remains of the A/B group sprinting it out for the minor placings.
Garmin Stats: Distance – 38.4km, Avg Speed – 37.2 km/h
A large contingent from Tullamore took part in the C/D race. Two of our junior riders took part and headed off with the D group. It was their first taste of racing and hopefully they will be back for more. With the strong wind it was always likely that both groups would come together and fight it out for the victory. This turned out to be the case with the C group eventually hauling in the D group. In the sprint for the line the young pocket rocket from Kanturk crossed first making in 2 wins in a row. Tullamore’s Darren Keoghan took a fine 3rd in the sprint with Gay Lowry just behind in 4th place. Jimmy O’Connor and Vinnie Meredith rounded off a strong performance for Tullamore CTC coming in 8th and 9th respectively.
Thanks to all the marshals and lead car drivers who volunteered. Without everyone’s help we wouldn’t be able to put on these races. Well done to all the cyclists who took part in their first MIL race. Hopefully they’ll be back for more pain and suffering. Thanks to my brother for the photos.
The next MIL Race is in Dysart next Thursday 3rd May. See you all there.