Home > Racing News
Clonard Road Club Racing Team
Dunsaney GP - Meath, 10th May:
Drogheda Wheelers Dunsany GP 2014 – 10/5/14 – Luke McVeigh A3 Report
4 Laps – 80km
With the Giro
hitting town, the following
day, the numbers may not have been the usual 90+ but there was
still a good
60-70 in the A3 Peloton today.
The weather was very sombre and the mood was similar after Dan Martin’s crash the day before in Belfast, you could see people were thinking of it but it was a no go for conversation! (That sucked & I hope Dan’s collarbone heals up quick & he gets back soon for the Dauphine & Tour).
The pace was quick
throughout, and I spent
the guts of the first 2 laps in the top 20 just jumping at
attacks as I felt
good. Nothing was going away, so somewhat learning from
the club league
Thursday night, I’d sit in & wait for the sprint like a
Unfortunately a break did go with half a lap to go of the 4 lap race, and I was 2nd wheel in the peloton, but I didn’t follow, and this one stuck, the only move I did not follow!
Whenever I jumped there was always someone on the wheel or shouting “up up up” same as when Daire Feeley went, just wasn’t to be.
With 5km to go the break
was in sight but
with Lucan having 2 up there and I was keeping my powder dry,
it was not to be
pulled back, even though there was probably only 5 seconds in
it around the
final right hander with 250m to go. The “I'm on this wheel
don’t take it off me”
approach worked, you sometimes have to throw cauion to the
causing a crash in the peloton in the finale and I cornered
perfectly in the
group, on the inside on about 3/4th wheel.
On the outside, as you could read it was going to happen a mile away, some guy flopped his breaking and 3 /4 went hurtling onto the deck, the road surface was skiddy, it was inevitable.
The finish was uphill so I
definitely, and with plenty of tree cover I decided just to
gun it from the
corner @ 250 to go (long yes but slight tailwind). As
White & Feeley jumped
together leading the peloton to the right, I was 3 or 4 bike
but catching the whole time.
Thankfully I got the gearing spot on and blasted past with 50 to go and was able to finish a few lengths ahead, getting a 2nd kick in the middle of the sprint as the gradient ramped up at 80/90 to go.
Although the breakaway group, which we sprinted into the back of (so basically same time for all) mopped up all the top 8 placing’s, I was delighted to find I jumped the other 2 juniors there & got 1st placed junior & a top 10 overall.
Happy to show the jersey for the presentations & looking forward to the full team being around for the rest of the races heading into the summer.
Waller Cup - Navan, 27th April:
Shay Elliot Memorial Race - Wicklow, 26th
Short report from the SHA3 Race - Jacob Baldwin:
punctured after 15km, chased for another 15km, but wind
was strong and speed was high so I had to call it a day
Alan crashed after 40km and the rest of the guys caught up in the crash spent the remainder of the race chasing back on.
Were only 2 mins behind the depleted bunch at the bottom of the Shay Elliott. But just couldn't catch.
A lot of legs were tired by that stage. Good day out non the less!
Easter Weekend: 19-21st April, Gorey 3-Day:
Gorey Stage 1 – Blessington to Gorey circuitx3-127KM
We had 127km ahead of us from Blessington to the Gorey circuit. Up to the circuit there were 2 classified climbs before hitting the circuit containing 1 climb and a hard climb with a headwind.
I woke with my chest infection
worsening but I decided to plough ahead anyways. The pace was
easy enough for the first 30km and I sat in the top third of the
Once we hit the first climb though I suddenly noticed I had nothing more to give. Usually you know when you are going to hit the roof of your effort & then how long you can hold this, but I was nowhere near the usual effort for that, and found myself struggling over the crest out the back. I chased hard back, but I'd to do most of the work jumping through the cars for a 10 man group to get back on.
Once we re-attached, we hit the 2nd
climb instantly and the same again. This time though I was
not right at the back, and there was a group of about 20 behind
me so I'd to chase back solo.
I had only 5 cars left to get back on, but a pickup slammed the breaks in front of me. I slammed on the breaks skidding the back wheel out in a drift, and smacked the back of the pickup side on. I managed to grab the tailgate & he stopped immediately.
After 20 seconds I just jumped up straight away, only to find I'd dropped my chain, knocked my handlebars out of alignment badly, and the rear wheel was jammed. I then wasted a few minutes slamming the bars straight, flicking the chain up and getting the brake open and straight to release the wheel. Then my front derailleur was jammed so I'd to dismount again to flick the chain to the big ring.
The rest of the stage I spent chasing back with groups, falling from some but pulling from others, like a big 50km time trial.
The stage was cancelled 3km from the finish because of a separate car incident on the course & the peloton were given the same time. Because I crashed when just off the back of the group just before the circuit, I was allocated the same time too. I was happy I decided to push on to finish looking back that evening. Boy I slept that night, longest road race I'd ever done, and 2 more days to go!
Stage 2 Time Trial – 6.4km
The stage 2 TT was held on the main
road into Gorey from the south. There was a massive headwind of
30kph on the course so it made it tough for all.
The time trial was the event I was most looking forward to, but I still could not get anywhere near my max in my warm-up sprints, but I still decided to give it a lash with all I got.
The test was hard, and because I could not go with my high spinning effort because of the illness, I decided to load the effort on my legs, pushing a big gear.
It was very tough, and I managed to catch my minute man on the drag half way along the course, but even though I gave all I had with my legs, I still felt I had a lot more to give if fully fit. I posted a 10:01 which was 1:46 behind the A2 winner Ciaran Kelly of Bikeworx, but only 1:15 behind second place. This was ok and all considered I’m pleased.
Thanks to Jacob for the skinsuit & Alan for the Time trial helmet, they definitely bought me some time. I felt as after the TT I lay 69th on GC out of the 180 who started Saturday, I was well enough to carry on.
Stage 3 – 4 Laps of the 24km Gorey Circuit – Craanford climb each lap
After the tough luck of day 1, and
the positive of putting in an okay time in the time trial, and
being delighted to even have got that far, stage 3 was a
revealing more of the form I had in the early season races.
On the back road each lap downhill with a tailwind we hammered up the road between 60-70 kph each time. I spun the maxed out gears as fast as I could and managed to hit the climb each time in the top portion of the bunch.
I did slip back through the bunch every time up the hill but was able to regain contact with no problem.
No problem in bike racing means you
do make it back on the limit, but following a wheel..just,
whereas the hard way is chasing solo.
On the headwind sections back to gorey I was able to skip up along the outside with no problems as the stronger guys mashed it into the headwind, and I timed it each lap so that coming across the finish line which was 3km before the turn, I was on the outside moving forwards in the top third at least.
You don’t mind being in front for half a kilometre before the turn because suddenly you have a tailwind and you can kick it and the others behind (which could have been you) haven’t cornered yet and have to try extra hard to get back.
This stage seemed to drag forever and it started to rain hard for the final 2 laps. My glasses were fogging up so bad that on the descents it was too fast to take the hands from the drops, so I had to knock my head either forward or back to see over the foggy lenses, or to sit them back again, epic conditions, and I was in a jersey only!
Many abandoned was the talk in the
B&B afterwards, as the pace was so hard even for some A2’s!,
but some were near hypothermia once they were dropped &
their paced lowered but in the bunch it was still full gas.
A Kanturk rider smacked the wall the 2nd last time descending off craanford as he locked up the rear flying over a speed bump at 60kph+. The hit hurt and everybody had that half a second before the breaking point to look back and see him screaming as he planted over the bars into the footpath.
Fair play he started & finished the final day’s stage, albeit with a few battle scars.
I knew after my bump on the first day, crashes are a part of the game and as long as you don’t take any absolutely crazy risks, whether it be in a sprint finish, descending or even positioning before an important moment, there is nothing you can do about it then. Just jump back on and keep pedalling if you can.
The final time up Craanford I
started about halfway up the bunch and drifted to the back as
usual but instead of being bunched up the whole peloton was
lined out single file on the long flat/drag down the climb. This
was some 70/80 riders, it’s like something you would see in the
crosswinds of Belgium, your still attached to the group but your
maybe even 30 seconds behind the leader!
Inevitably guys were blowing up everywhere a speeds ramped as high as 70 in the crosswinds down the twisty & undulating descent, remember all going on in the pelting rain with most kitted out for the spring sunshine of the past 2 weeks!
You had to constantly hop around people and make twice the effort to get back on the wheel and after minutes of this the gaps to bridge were getting bigger & bigger.
At this point I was flying over potholes & speed bumps in an aero tuck in the saddle not caring how much it hurt because the chase to the bunch would be worse. Just as we hit the corner onto the main road I reattached just with the group after being in the wind solo the previous 2km.
But a few ahead of me botched their braking and id to corner wide and into the headwind on the motorway it was lined out again. I sprinted again back onto the back wheel but people were blowing up all over the place it was carnage as the pace was almost 50 briefly, into the block headwind presumably with the Lucan & celbridge teams drilling it on the front hoping to drop GC men.
I always held my wheel but then 3 lads in the line just fanned out completely spent and that was it.
Myself, the KOM and another lad team TT’d it in ourselves as the cavalcade sped past us as the peloton got faster & faster (so fast it was too hard to jump into the cars as they were even chasing the peloton after the technical descent).
I still had the energy to keep pushing on the group hard but a group of 3 or 4 is never going to catch the peloton inside the final 10km.
The peloton had re grouped at the top of the next drag but by then they were 40 seconds up the road and there was no coming back. I turned out to be the first rider to finish behind the peloton some 3 minutes down, if only those 3 lads had dug in another few seconds, but it was not to be, but that is bike racing and looking back I only lost 3 minutes on a day where some were lapped (on a 24km circuit and lost north of half an hour) and almost 40 abandoned.
This was the Queen stage in my opinion, albeit not the longest, but with the most climbing & the best action…roll on day 3, 92km and a big tailwind predicted, fastest stage yet it looks like!
Strava Data: http://www.strava.com/activities/132313379
15th April, Mondello Racing Series, Round-1:
Mondello Series Round 1 report – Luke McVeigh
The first round of the
mondello series took place tonight over the 3.5km mainly flat
Mervyn rolled out with the A4s, who had a handicap over myself and the A3’s, who in turn had gaps over A2 & A1.
The race was really fast throughout, 1 hour + 3 laps which ended up being 14 laps at an average speed of 40kph.
With a block headwind down the finishing straight every lap it was a real test, with a big 15 second sprint from every corner (Alans wattbike reps over the winter came in fierce handy!) .
We caught the A4s on the 3rd lap, and the pace ramped up from there. Riders were constantly being shelled out the back with the constant change in wind directions around the circuit.
The 5th was our fastest lap, covering it in 44.2 Kph average. I saw Mervyn briefly on the 4th lap and he held on for a few more, a highly respectable performance for a man who hadn’t touched the bike in 3 weeks.
I myself was looking for a good performance ahead of the Gorey 3 day as I had abandoned my last 2 races as I struggled to get back to racing speed after an illness which had wiped me out after the Rás Naomh Finian.
I held in with the reduced
leading group on
the road of 25 containing A1s & 2’s mainly, until with
just over a lap to go, some suffering soul let the wheel go
ahead of me as he completely blew up & I had to skip
around him to chase…to no avail……. As I took a quick breather
for a split second, a hard chasing group of A1s swamped me
immediately and I finished half way up that little bunch
sprint at the end.
It was a really enjoyable
race, and I was delighted to grab a top 30 overall & 3rd
placed junior (no prize this time!) & I look forward to
writing up the reports for the Gorey 3 day for you now this
Strava Data : http://www.strava.com/activities/130634426/segments/2953281299
6th April, Drogheda Race Weekend:
29th March, Harry Reynolds Memorial,
16th March, Boyne GP, Meath:
But there’s a problem, I did a lot
of work on Saturday clearing out a building site and just wasn’t
on form, my limbs ached and my throat was raw, maybe I was
coming down with something. I decided to throw the bike in the
car and get on with it.
I knew that the course was going to
be hilly so I made a conscious effort to arrive at the venue
early and at least get one lap of the 12 km circuit in before
On arrival I went to sign on and then drove up to the field which had been set aside for parking and began to get ready. It was a cold morning and there had been a fine misty rain falling for a couple of hours beforehand, this coupled with the week of fine weather we just had could spell trouble.
On my warm up lap all my fears were
verified, the circuit was a long 12km spin with two big drops in
it which meant you lost a lot of height quickly and the rest of
the circuit was climbing with a long 3 or 4km drag leading up to
the start/finish line, not good for a 100kg+ cyclist, and the
road conditions were atrocious.
The good weather the previous week had obviously brought a lot of farm machinery out onto the road because there were constantly little blotches of oil on the surface and in parts there was a thin mucky slick on top. Not very bad, but enough that you’d take notice. The condition of the corners was bad too, with the organisers failing to clear gravel from junctions. Ah well, I had paid my money, fecked if I wasn’t hanging round for the cup of tea.
At the start line the Commisaire
reminded us that it was the first race of the women’s league,
who would be starting behind us, and that we were expected to be
on the pace from the start. Bad news for Johnny, I have
trouble climbing out of bed, never mind hills.
The race got underway and the riders took it easy for the first 400m until the road dropped for the first time, a long fast descent for about a kilometre. Then a few of the others, having felt the rush of wind in their hair decided to up the pace on the sharp incline which followed.
The pack followed, getting on a steady pace which was putting a lot of people under pressure. A small group broke away at the top of the first climb and made an effort to get to the next decent before the chasing peloton could catch them. The speed of the pack was most certainly upped and all of a sudden we were racing.
I was feeling the pressure
immediately, the constant climbing and sharp descents meant you
had very little time for recovery. At the approach to the
start/finish line many of the riders were blazing up the hill to
be the first across the line, but on the start of the next lap
it was obvious that nobody was in too much of a rush and the
pace dropped off slightly, and just as well.
At the bottom of the second descent we came across a very disconcerting sight.
There were the blue lights of Ambulances and Squad cars all over the left hand side of the road and we were forced into the hard shoulder on the wrong side of the road. One or more of the women had come down.
At the tight first corner on third lap a lucan rider lost his front wheel and hit the deck ahead of me. He bounced though; in my experience bouncing is a good sign.
At the bottom of the second descent
the paramedics were still working on someone on the ground, not
a good sign.
After this I spun up the outside of the bunch to get into a good position for the drag up to complete the lap and on entering the junction that started the climb I had to swerve out wide as there was a triangular mound of gravel about 6 or 8 inches high and about 4ft length on each side which nobody had thought to remove from the middle of the junction.
I think everyone was starting to
freak out at this stage because the approach to the finish this
time felt more like I was pedalling in a sportive. The pace was
down and it was a lot calmer in the bunch. I might just last the
course after all.
The pace remained steady until the
last lap, the only lap that there weren’t bodies on the ground.
But even at that there was never a big surge by the group, just
a slight upping of tempo.
The breakaway group were caught on the final approach about two kilometres to go and the pack crossed more or less together. And more importantly with me trailing out the back of it. Happy Days!
I had made it around without any major calamity and had all but finished in the bunch. Not bad for a Clydesdale like myself. But there was more bad news. On return to the pub were sign on took place there wasn’t even a cup of tea, never mind a sandwich. I needn’t have stayed at all, it was all for nought.
I stayed to watch the start of the
A1’S, 2’S and 3’S and heard that the girl who had been down for
three of our laps had been brought to hospital with a broken leg
in two places.
It had looked worse from my perspective and I was glad that was all that was wrong.
Later on, studying the photos on facebook I had realised the extent of the chaos and have to say, I wasn’t in the least bit surprised at what I saw. I was a hairy race with a lot of sharp corners and poor road conditions. Now, it was time for the hard part of my day, taking the kids for a day out in Dublin as part of the St. Patrick’s Festival.
8th March, Ras Naomh Finian, Clonard:
Rás Naomh Finian A3 8/3/14’ – Jacob & Luke
This is the big one for the club this year, the Rás Naomh Finian starting from Mother Hubbards, it promised to be a fantastic day for everyone in the club, members, marshals & racers alike.
The course was a 73km flat course from Clonard to Kilbeggan and back, only punctuated by the Ginneybawn hill outside Rochfortbridge (A local favourite for a breakfast full of lactate acid) and a couple of rolling hills between there and kinnegad. There was also a strong 11 m/s crosswind coming from the south to throw a spanner into the mix, but the weather was perfect, bright and 12 degrees otherwise.
Sign in was busy in the Log Cabin and roughly looking at the field we had 80/90 in the A3’s. Breaks were not common on this course to stay away, so I was under advice to sit tight until the Ginneybawn on the return leg…….how far from the truth this turned to be, racing is very unpredictable!
The pace was easy enough leaving
Mother Hubbard’s, the legs felt great, but knowing I didn’t have
the power through training yet and that recent history said
against it, I didn’t follow any of the pulling’s off of the
front, just sat in the top 10 watching it all happen. Felt very
eerie, as I love to get going & am itching to get into a
break after all of the attempts this year. That winning
opportunity cannot come soon enough please!
A group of 5 got away by Clonard village and it became apparent as we hit Kinnegad, that the damage had been done, wow I was cursing myself for not even trying for it, a certain slap to the forehead, but that’s the luck of the draw, tactics go either way!
As we hit Kinnegad, Jacob sensed maybe what I was feeling too, pounced and I knew this was a lost cause already so even though he had got some space, I would try to get up to him. Maybe we could pace ourselves up to the group? His pace was too strong for me though and I could barely catch him and after two or three kilometres we sat up, the break was gone, and the peloton did not like the look of 2 local riders tearing up the road together. “Maybe they know something we don’t” might have been the thought.
The jersey was definitely like having a target on your back all day, same way the NRPT guys or maybe even a Classification leader’s jersey in a stage race must feel. People were always watching & following your moves I sensed. You had the local knowledge!
It is something you hear the pros whining about when they have good legs but they miss a break. You think “sure just go up the road why don’t you”….but it’s almost like the peloton decides who gets up the road. They were too focused on the Fintan Ryan and the Novo Nordisk man that they let Monasterevin winner Kelly off into the break of the day.
From then on whatever digs were put in, or I followed, one or both of the marked men had followed it and it was shut down almost instantly! Peloton Politics!
Hitting the Ginneybawn the legs did not feel too good, I started the climb up near the front just in case and drifted back, watching Jacob & others pass, as I ended up to half way back by the top. In ways to save energy but also the legs were not good yet. But, almost instantly as we crested I bombed down the hill, this was more like it! 61 kph to exact, felt good and I was back to the front. I knew there would be a bottleneck at the roundabout ahead so I wanted a good position.
Sure enough I got myself into the top 5/6 and suddenly we had a group containing some of the marked men, Jacob & I in a small group with a gap. For a while it looked like we might have a chance & I was ready to start putting in my turns to reel back the breakaway with this group.
Unfortunately the group hesitated & the peloton did not coming into the village. I was again frustrated, my local knowledge to be in the right place at the roundabout could provide something, but again no.
Then the bunch bizarrely slowed nearly to a halt. There I was freewheeling on the front, nobody with any intent to even go onto the front past me, for almost a minute.
I was infuriated and shouted “who wants to pull this back”…..nothing. Rule no.1 of A3’s…… if you do not get into the break that makes more than a minute, prepare for the sprint for nothing places. Ouch.
Sat in again and we wheeled along all the way to kilbeggan, no intensity at all. I tried a little dig before the turn, but nobody was up for it. No good.
We reached ginneybawn on the way back and I decided to go on the front and let the CRC fans at least see something from our efforts today. The bunch were not putting in a huge effort it seemed, so there was no real effort in doing a little break up the hill for the cameras & sponsors on the jersey if you look at it that way.
The reason why is because I knew I don’t yet have the power in the sprint in the end, for 7th or whatever it would be, and Jacob would be the best bet there, so I could utilise my skills to bring some smiles to our fans.
The pace systematically raised after the hill and I tried to get back to the front too but as we got back to kinnegad, people were just flying past, the gears spinning out, and legs a bit tired from all the fruitless digs after the break was gone. Nothing more, I just rolled in to the finish in the front half of the bunch.
I would’ve loved to go for it but I just did not have the power on this day in history. Bigger & better days ahead, so today was good work for future races & I was delighted to hear Jacob did a good sprint and was in the top 5 in the bunch sprint and received a top 10 from it.
I’d love to congratulate him on the
work he did today too, the two of us were ever present in the
top 20 of the bunch all day, I don’t think either dropped below
that, so that bodes well for the future.
A big shout out to the Marshalls, great job & nobody clipped the traffic islands in tyrellspass, we heard the whistles even! Also to the Club management & organisers, Colm, Alan and… I name them as they were involved in the presentations, but there were so many more involved today, that made it a great event, congrats to you all and thank you!
Also to the fellow club racers in the A4’s, nice job Andy finishing high & showing no lack of agility to dodge the only big crash I think of the event, which was in the A4’s, so thank you all for running such a fun & safe race.
Strava Data : http://www.strava.com/activities/118791197
See you all down the road
2nd March, Cycleways Cup, Navan:
1st March, Mick Lally Mem, Summerhill:
The second race of the Year for myself, first for Jacob Baldwin in the A3’s, was on the Dorey’s forge circuit in Summerhill for the Mick Lally memorial. Jacob was looking forward to starting the season & I was looking to continue my build up to Naomh Finian next weekend, although I did not feel the best after a “suspect” cup of coffee at breakfast, but we were up for the race & in good spirits!
During the warm up the legs did not
feel 100% and I was not expecting much out of the day but I was
going to give it a dig anyways. The Commissaries were taking
their time with letting us go and I was now even keener to give
it a dig, bursting off the front from the gun.
A small group was formed but after a few kilometers it was easily reeled in….as is customary with these early season races now. I began to panic then as I absorbed back into the bunch, as even though I wasn’t putting in half the effort, my heart rate monitor was still hopping off the charts…and continued to do so all day. We later found the coffee caused this so not for racing for a while that!
The pace was hard for the 3 laps of the undulating course with 2 main hills, though not overly fast, very stop-starty. I kept chasing breaks because of this for the first lap, but the legs were not putting out the watts on the hills so I slotted in to have a chat with “Road Captain” Baldwin. He predicted that a break wasn’t going to stay away, so I took his advice on board & sat in. A couple of kilometres on, a very strong group of 10/12 riders got up the road, still Jacob was confident, but I was getting edgy, sitting in the top 10/20 riders nervously peering over at the group ahead pull out a gap.
Still they stayed away and over the first hill on the final lap I turned to Jacob “Damn it they’re gone”……I got a look of dismay back…….not good. Almost as if the lads at the front were listening in, the pace ramped up hugely. My legs were coming back really well now, although a brief slip in concentration and I found myself in the second third of the peloton as we made the catch. The group fanned out across the road and as we made the turn left with 4km to go I knew radical action was needed to get a good position for the finish.
As we turned the corner onto Dorey's forge the road narrowed. Everybody was getting nervous for the finish and there was a lot of bumping of handlebars & shoulders. I really wanted to go for a break because I felt the peloton would hesitate for a kilometre or two and if I could get 15/20 seconds that would bring me up the hill to the line. It was risky but I felt id a better chance than in the sprint, as I felt the ramps of up to 12% on Dorey's forge would be too difficult to get the right gearing in the sprint to win.
I tried to go down the gutter
(rubbishy pebbly stuff between road & grass) originally on
the right, trusting my tyres but hoping to hop the 20 places
needed. Remembering we had a few right hand corners coming up
and that could lead to going head on into someone if something
happened, I pulled left until we navigated them long sweeping
downhill corners. About a minute later you could see a guy on
the right go over his handlebars, smacking the road. This forced
a wave effect behind, pushing me into the gutter on the left and
the man to my left to bunny hop onto the grass & then back
to the road again. This opened up a perfect gap on the right in
front of where the crash happened, so I put in a huge effort to
sprint back up along the right and I was about third wheel from
the front on the right with 2km to go.
At about 1300m to go I recovered again & a gap opened. I pounced seeing my opportunity as the bunch were closing on a solo breaker, so they would relax until they caught him, maybe giving a solo push a slight chance to pull away. I jumped in the drops and passed the breaker within 10 seconds. In the biggest gear I had I mashed my way as fast as I could seeing now that the bunch was alert to my attack after hesitating briefly.
There were lead out guys sprinting on the front now after me putting in big turns, the adrenaline was pumping & I at one point had maybe 10 seconds & could see the line up ahead. I put my head down & drilled it for another minute. Unfortunately my 10/15 second plan going into the hill did not work, as fresh guys every few seconds on the front were reeling me in.
As I had only 5 seconds, I was reeled in with 150 to 200 metres to go. Those breaks sometimes stay away, but it was too tough a finish, if it was a flat finish I knew it was in the bag, but not to be.
After doing a Kilo track sprint effort for the previous effort I was quickly swarmed on by the bunch & finished in the top 30/35 as we crossed the line, I saw Jacob pass seconds before the finish so I presumed he had got a top 15.
John Priest the everlasting sprinter took the win on the day & was promoted to the A2’s after that feat.
Personally It was not to be today but I hope, the practice of such “opportunity taking” could lead to a big result soon, so we’ll keep ploughing on & enjoying the bike.
Next week is the big Club race, the Naomh Finian. Hopefully we will have a big crowd from the club & the racing community and I wish good luck to the A4’s in their race and rest assured Jacob & I will try to bring something home for CRC and be animated in the race/finish.
Readers from other clubs, there is a KOH on the Ginneybawn Hill, so the climbers can travel too for the mainly sprinters day! 11am at Mother Hubbards on the Enfield-Kinnegad road
Adios & see you all on the roads.
My Strava Data : http://www.strava.com/activities/116918889
Traders Cup Race, 23rd Feb, Dundalk:
2014 Season opener - Ned Flanagan Race, 16th
Bike racers from Leinster, but also
some from Connaught & Munster descended on Monasterevin for
the Ned Flanagan Memorial Road Race on the 16th of
February 2014. John Connell & Mervyn Heffernan represented
Clonard in the A4’s and I rolled up to the A3 startline for the
The course for the days racing was a
rolling 60km loop from Monasterevin to Ballybrittas, Portlaoise,
Ballyronan, Heath, Ballybritttas back to Monasterevin for the
finish at the Bell Yard Pub. There was one climb, the 800m climb
of The Chicken Byrne Hill at an average of 4% which came 19km
from the finish, not the hardest climb racers will face this
year but it definitely had an impact on the racing.
There was a nervous, but excited
tension on the startline. Many had spent countless hours over
the winter preparing & now they were ready to be released
from the winter miles & calendar counting to the first race.
Immediately a Lucan rider bursted off the front, 4 others and myself tried to push on with him but we were reeled in after 3 km, the peloton was keen to keep this all together.
Attack after attack went off there, trying not to miss a thing I kept going after every one but they were all shut down. Finally we had the first lul in the attacks after 25 minutes, where I looked down to find ridiculously an average heart rate of 179 BPM and max of 192 for the first third of the race, talk about easing us into the season!!
The next attack I did not follow, a
lone, crazy break by a Dundrum Junior, he hung out front by
himself and got a group together of 4 but they were reeled in
after a few minutes. By now we had covered 25km, all into a
headwind. After that break was pulled in, on the next climb
another group of 5 went, I foolishly thought it would have the
same fate as the rest of the breaks, but I was not to know, due
to my lack of local geographical knowledge you could say, that
2km after that drag, we made a full 180 degree turn. The
billowing headwind was now a blazing tailwind. Suddenly they had
made 30 seconds up on the by now depleted peloton. I looked
across at the Irish Vets champion, and asked for help working on
the front, and we got 4/5 others to relay with us. Now we were
like a Team Time Trial team, 7 of us on the front of the peloton
relaying on the downhill with a tailwind, men being spat out the
back of the peloton as my 53x14 junior gears were spinning out,
making keeping the wheel tough as we hurtled down the drag.
They were not being caught and I
feared the break had gone, and sat in for a rest after 15
minutes of relay, but as we hit the climb, it was as if the
break were feeling the burn too. I checked around as we crested
the hill and there was only our “relay team” and 2/3 other
We bombed down the descent, where I wouldn’t be surprised if we exceeded 65kph, clipping corners like Moto Gp stars as the bushes whirred by, all a blur. Our group split up and we spent 10km by ourselves across part of the curragh and back onto the main road, we almost didn’t make it, driving hard, the heart well over 180, the lactate seething in our legs, but like all psycho racers, we kept pushing on and finally made it back to the break with under 10km to go.
A few others also made it as we had a group of 25 approaching the finish. I was exhausted of 20kms in the wind chasing and only then did I ask fellow Junior Conor McDunphy, if the group were together…but no Former An Post man Ciaran Kelly was barrelling up the road almost a minute ahead of us in Bryan McCrystal-esque fashion, he was gone, this was a race for 2nd.
As we rolled into the finish you
could sense all were tired, but my breath was coming back &
legs didn’t feel too bad at all, but I knew positioning was
going to be key coming into the finish. It was a slight downhill
last 3k with a lazy right-left “chicane” with 300m to go. I
opted to stay on the outside near the white line in case of an
accident & just before the bends, the undeniable sound of
cracking carbon fibre smacking off the road happened just ahead,
a few others bundling over in front of my eyes, I was fortunate
to be able to skid off to the side. Now I was in the wind
though, on the outside going through the S’s and had fallen from
my 15th position to about 20th in the
group. I did my sprint on the outside although It was a case of
If I didn’t have to lift off & swerve off to the right to avoid the crash, but hey that’s bike racing and I think all who didn’t crash were delighted to be unscathed, but our thoughts go to the lads who hit the deck, we wish you all a speedy recovery.
The average race speed for 60km was 42kph confirmed by a fellow finisher in my group.
I came out of the day with an approximate top 15 I'd say, and got a prize for 2nd placed junior, a nice start to the year & I'm looking forward to the Cycleways cup in 2 weeks time, and hopefully Jacob Baldwin will be back to his best to line out that day too & continue to tear up the A3’s in 2014!
Thanks to all the organisers & see you all out on the roads.