3 Day Race Report
Last week saw the conclusion of the Buckley Cycles MIL 3 Day. Weather played havoc, with the final race having been postponed from last Thursday. The final leg finally went ahead on Tuesday 12th last in what can only be described as shocking weather conditions.
Race 1 Tues 5th June
Race 1 of the MIL 3 Day was over the Mount Temple Circuit. The weather was looking dodgy all day with persistent rain and cloud. Fortunately it brightened up a little before the race begin. The A/B took place over 4 laps of the circuit with the C/D race doing 3 laps. TCTC riders were myself, Collie and Damien in the A/B race along with several of the Kilbeggan contingent lining out in the C/D race.
With only a small gap between the A’s and B’s it was always going to be difficult to stay away. The weather thinned out the numbers for the B group which again didn’t help matters. The pace started off pretty high in the B group. Everyone was taking there turn on the front with the average speed above 40km/h for the first half a lap. It was at this stage that my night ended. I was starting to struggle really badly heading towards Baylin. A quick glance at my rear tyre and that was that. Puncture. The only good thing about tubulars is the ability the continue cycling with a puncture. So I managed to roll back to Mount Temple with my race done. The A group swooped past me at the start/finish line. They were really motoring and the gaps was already pretty small.
Having got changed I headed back to see the finish of both races. After 3 laps the B’s had only about 20 seconds on the A’s and the catch was going to be made. Once both groups joined an attack by Gael (SSCC) caught the B’s unaware. He was quickly joined by Derek Byrne (Laois) and Stephen Franzoni (LSW). With both SSCC and LSW represented the chase behind never got going. By the fininsh the 3 leaders built up a large gap. In the sprint Stephen Franzoni finished strongly to take the win with his 2 breakaway companions mopping up 2nd and 3rd. Damien was the highest finishing TCTC rider in the 4th place sprint with Collie coming in with the main bunch.
In the C/D race young Kanturk rider Joshua Francis took a brilliant win in the sprint from SSCC’s Eoin O’Donoghue. The TCTC crew finished with the bunch.
Race 2 Wed 6th June
So having had a particularly bad race the night before I was looking ahead to actually completing a race in the 3 day. The only problem was the race was a Time Trial. To put it mildly Time Trialling would not be one of my strengths. They say it is the race of truth, I think self inflicted torture is probably a better way of putting it. Needless to say I wasn’t expecting to set any sort of time.
I was pretty late getting over to Horseleap for the start after doing battle with a tubular tyre. As a result I only got in a short warm up and wasn’t feeling particularly good. I just about made my slot and set off some 30 seconds down on Gary Bracken (Birr). The course started in Horseleap and headed straight out the old N6 to the Moate roundabout and then straight back. The road is pretty draggy making it difficult to judge your effort. On the way out I pushed it as hard as I could and managed to make up a bit of time on Gary. Just before the turnaround a Team 905 rider blasted past me. He had made up a minute on me already. Not exactly great for the confidence. Anyway I ploughed on watching the 905 rider disappear up the road. The road back to the finish was difficult with a slight headwind hindering me. My legs were pretty shot by the time I reached Horseleap. I managed to catch Gary just before the finish. In the end my time was about 3 minutes down on the fastest lads, around 27:45.
Damien Mitchell finished best of the TCTC riders in around 4th place. Damien claims he’s crap at TT’s. Ha Ha, not as crap as me though. Collie put in another strong performance to finish in 6th place. The Time Trial was won by Peter Rimmer (LSW) with Derek Byrne (Laois) coming in 2nd place.
In the C/D section SSCC dominated the top places on the leader board with Michael Murray taking top points.
Race 3 Tuesday 12th
This race was due to be held on the Thursday following the TT but the weather gods didn’t co-operate and the race was postponed until the following Tuesday.
Having sat in the office looking out at the rain all day Tuesday I was expecting a call to say the race had again been called. off. No such message came so I headed for Birr. Before leaving the rain had stopped and it looked like we might get a dry race. But on the way to Birr the heavens opened and the rain pissed down. I was expecting a small turnout but seemingly some people are as mad as me and there looked to be a good number of riders signing on. The rain was still belting down and the race was looking unlikely to go ahead. However the rain eventually cleared and the race would finally start.
The B group received a handicap of 4 minutes on the A’s for the 50km race around 3 laps of the Birr circuit. With 16 riders in the B group and a very small A group it looked likely that the B’s would stay away if they worked together. The group started off at a strong pace and soon everyone was taking their turn on the front. The conditions weren’t great with a lot of standing water on the course. Bike handling was dodgy to say the least but fortunately there was no accidents.
Now my night wasn’t going according to plan. My legs felt like 2 stakes and I was getting it hard to roll through at the pace we were doing. It didn’t help when some riders drove the pace up at the front. The constant rise in pace didn’t do me any favours and I was soon in trouble. Its not a great feeling hanging on to the back of the group after a lap and it was going to be along night. Both Collie and Damien were going strong and the average speed was a kept around 40km/h. Anyway long story short the elastic finally snapped after a lap and a half and that was my night finished. I pedalled around the remaining laps admiring the scenery.
I was expecting the A group to pass me pretty quickly but it took half a lap before that happened and it was clear that they were never going to catch the B’s. I hung in with the A’s for a bit before I gave up the ghost and just pedalled in.
In the sprint for the line TCTC’s Damien Mitchell put in a strong finish to take the win. With consistent performances in all 3 races Damien took top spot in the MIL 3 Day. Having been out of racing for a long time Damien is certainly back in good form and is really motoring at the minute. Collie Brady rounded off a good TCTC performance by taking 8th overall in the 3 day standings. Well done lads.
In the C/D race SSCC Eoin O’Donoghue took top honours just ahead of Joshua Francis. The win in Birr also meant first place in the overall 3 Day standing for Eoin. Well done everyone.
I don’t have too many photos as our cameraman is afraid of rain. I’d like to thank all the marshals for helping out each night. Hopefully this race can continue and maybe the weather gods will be kinder next year.
A final word of thanks to Buckley Cycles for their sponsorship of the Midland League. Its much appreciated.
All the results and league standings are available on www.buckleycycles.com