On Saturday 3 Tullamore CTC members took to the roads around Clonard for Ras Naomh Finian. Myself, Aidan McNamara and Jimmy O’Connor flew the flag for the club. Over 300 cyclists turned up with over 100 setting off in our A4 group.
The route took us straight out the old N4 towards the turn in Kilbeggan. A sprinters paradise. On the way out to Kilbeggan we rode into a nice headwind. The pace was sluggish at times with no one wanting to ride on the front. Just outside Kinnegad a rider beside me hit a filled pothole which almost brought him down. As I knew it would come down to a bunch sprint I decided to go for the King of the Hill prize at the top of Gneeveban. Halfway up the hill I was placed second with what I thought was the KOH line just at the top. I sprinted for the line only to suddenly realise that the line in fact was 500 metres further on. All that for nothing.
After the turn in Kilbeggan the pace shot up with some riders getting shelled out the back. The pace continued to increase as we sped towards Clonard. The traffic islands outside Milltownpass brought down a rider. The final run in was messy with a lot of weaving and silly manoeuvres. I tried to put in a half arsed sprint but soon gave up the ghost. It was at this point that a flying Aidan zoomed past me on his way to a great 3rd position. With better positioning on the final sprint Aidan could of won it.
The race ended up at 67.4km with an average speed of 37.4km/h according to my Garmin.
Thanks to all the marshals for making the race as safe as possible. It was nice having marshals on the islands blowing whistles and waving flags. Clonard CC put on a great event and the numbers showing up proved that.
On Sunday, Ollie Daly, Mick Scully and Peter Gillespie headed to Loughrea for the Loughrea GP. Peter and Ollie set off in the A3’s with Mick heading off with the A4’s. From Peter’s reports it seems Thomas Fallon destroyed the A3’s with some strong riding off the front. The A3 race was 5 laps with a handicap to both the A1 and A2 groups. The A3’s stayed away until the final lap when they were then caught. Cue a serious jump in speed as the A1’s and A2’s drove the race on. With about 5 miles to go Peter got caught behind a crash when someone (insert expletive) jammed on and brought down 6 others. When Peter got going the bunch was 200 metres ahead and gone. Ollie rode strongly and did plenty of work and hung in with the big boys at the end. In the A4’s Mick finished in 8th position after the final bunch sprint.
Sunday Group Spins
After racing on Saturday I felt up for more torture and went off with the A Group on Sunday. Several lads went out at 7:50am looking for extra miles and they rejoined the main group at 9am. 11 riders showed up for the days cycle which brought us out the N6 to Rochfortbridge. We then headed for Mullingar where we had a quick coffee stop. Off then headed towards Ballynacargy and on toward Ballymahon. We then headed back towards Ballymore. My legs were starting to beg for mercy at this point and were spared destruction after a quick stop in Ballymore for water. We eventually made it back to Tullamore through Moate and Kilbeggan. The usual gallop for Durrow Hill almost brought down Dermot Milner after his chain flew off the big ring. As for me it signalled the end as the strong boys rode off into the distance.
Stats for the day. 141 km at 30.4km/h. Garmin stats here.
If anyone is interested in doing some brief reports for the B & C groups please contact me. I would like to give everyone a bit of a write up each week just to keep everyone in loop.