After last weeks debacle at the West Coast Wheelers open race it was back to the drawing board regarding this years
racing season. The racing in Navan was going to be hard and the course down in Limerick looked horrific considering my form at the minute. With both options not exactly the most appealing I decided to head out with the A Group for a nice long spin which will hopefully get me back on track for an assault on the upcoming races.
For extra miles I pedalled in from home for the nine o’clock kick off. The weather was again nice and dry if a little on the chilly side. I’m getting fairly fed up with the coolish weather and having to wear several layers on every ride. Can’t wait for some warmer weather and donning the shorts for the fist time.
A strong group of 12 lined up with the A Group. There was a large group heading out with the B’s also and the fine weather is certainly bringing out the crowds. The first day of March certainly brought out a lot of flashy new machinery. My 4 year old Scott was looking like the poor boy in the crowd compared with Seamus’s new Di2 Ridley. Seamus having kept the same bike for years has suddenly acquired 2 new bikes in a matter of weeks. I’ll need to keep my wallet away from the shop as he advertises the brilliance of electronic gearing. Martie has also took the electronic plunge with his new Specialized equipped with Campag Super Record electronic. To finish off the new bikes Brian brought his Focus bike for its maiden voyage. A quick photo to record the moment and we were off.
Seamus as usual had a nice route chosen. Up through Mountbolus, across to Roscrea and home via Birr. We headed out towards the golf club where my water bottle decided it had enough and projected itself from my holder. I quickly turned around to collect only to find all of the contents flowing down the road. Great start. The first challenge involved an ascent of Knock Hill once we turned left after Ballyboy Village. This was an early leg opener and certainly got the blood flowing. I managed to scrounge some fluid off a couple of the lads in order to prevent certain dehydration. The decent towards Cadamstown allowed everyone to recover slightly before the road kicked up again as we entered the village.
With everyone regrouped we headed through Kinnity and across towards Roscrea. The group set a nice tempo climbing up towards Leap Castle. As per usual there were a few flyers on the descent with some of us pushing it along. This route has a habit of degenerating into a slog fest heading into Roscrea but today was a little calmer and we rolled into Roscrea as a group.
Our typical coffee stop in Roscrea has shut up shop so we found a new haunt on the Dublin Road for a cuppa. After the break we had a slight tailwind to help us towards Birr. The route from Birr to Tullamore was difficult going at times due to a slight crosswind. We got the up and overs going heading into Kilcormac which put a few under a little pressure. The pace lit up around the Blueball with Collie putting in a good dig heading up the drag. Having done a stint on the front I didn’t have enough in the tank to catch on so I spun in with the rest of the group.
We knocked back the pace heading around the bypass to warm down the legs before I turned for home. A nice spin overall I ended up with a total distance of 135km at an average of 30km/h so not too shabby.
Ollie, Mick and Damien headed up to Navan for the Cycleways Cup. The racing was fast but the lads hung in there and finished with the main group. A crash with 2km to go caused Ollie to put his cyclocross skills to use as he hoppd along the grass and remounted to finish in the first thirty or so. Damien and Mick got held up with the crash and finished with the main bunch.
Peter headed down to Limerick for the Cycling Pursuits Cup. From what I saw of the course it looked fairly brutal with a decent climb on each of the laps. Peter reports that is was indeed brutal and it was a vert tough course considering the time of year. Thank god I didn’t head down there.