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Clonard Road Club Racing Team Page

On this page we will keep you up to date on the latest news and results from our Racing Team during the 2014 season.

You can also keep up-to-date with all the latest news from Irish and international races with 'Sticky Bottle' website!!  Here is the link to the Results page:  http://www.stickybottle.com/category/races-results

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 “big auld sprinter”.
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 wind, without 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 backed myself 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 lengths behind, 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.

Results HERE



Waller Cup - Navan, 27th April:

In this week's news, we have all the action in our race report from the Ras na Nog in Co.Meath, from Michael Kane...

Early start this morning to go collect Jamie and head for Bohermeen. We arrived before the sign on was even set up so that gave us time to relax and have some food (pasta of course). Jamie and I went out to see the finish line and sprinted the hill a few times.

The legs were feeling good and Jamie was looking strong too.

waller 1

When the race started we found out that there was 17 riders there. The race started with a downhill so of course there was an attack from the line.
The gears were spun out and remained that way for a while.  Attacks were being launched all the time, but the bunch wouldn't let anyone go easily.   At the second ninety degree turn, an attack was launched and I reacted, but my back wheel slid so I had to sit down to keep it under control which slowed my sprint, but I was still there so I went again, but this time I hit a bump and my back wheel kicked again.

The bunch was gone and i was almost at a standstill.  I Was annoyed at myself more than anything so opened it up on the next hill to get back.  I almost made it, but an attack was launched, and I got stuck with nothing left.  Over the lip of the hill I got some speed and held the bunch within ten seconds, but I was tuckered out and swung off to settle into the group that I had moped up in my run. The bunch got away as the attacks kept on going.

On the second lap our bunch of four riders had almost given up hope, but then we turned a corner and the bunch was twenty seconds up the road. I couldn't believe my eyes!
We worked hard and got back on.  I found out that there was two riders up the road and nobody wanted to work to bring them back. We were only at about 20 kilometeres an hour!!!

With one kilometre to go i attacked as I wouldnt be able to react to any sprints after our chase back on. I was caught and was last man around the corner with 300 metres to go, but i had a hill to contend with so I gained 3 more place on my way up and when i looked down at my speedometre crossing the line i was at 39kph!!!

I finished tenth over all and felt like I am hitting some decent form. I am looking forward to the club league in two weeks time.

Until next time.
Michael Kane

Shay Elliot Memorial Race - Wicklow, 26th April:

Short report from the SHA3 Race - Jacob Baldwin:


I punctured after 15km, chased for another 15km, but wind was strong and speed was high so I had to call it a day after 30km!!
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:

In the latest of our race reports, here we have all the news from an action-packed weekend of racing from Luke McVeigh:

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 bunch.
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.

gorey 1

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.

gorey 2

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.

stage 3

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:

With the season now in full swing, and the days getting longer, the first of the mid-week races in the Mondello Park series took place tonight, Tue 15th April.
The club were represented by Mervyn Heffernan in the A4 peleton, and Luke McVeigh in the A3 peleton - here is the race report from Luke:

Mondello Series Round 1 report – Luke McVeigh

The first round of the mondello series took place tonight over the 3.5km mainly flat circuit.
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 Easter Weekend.


Strava Data : http://www.strava.com/activities/130634426/segments/2953281299


6th April, Drogheda Race Weekend:

Well, what an amazing weekend of cycling! Topped off with an incredible Flanders race - edge-of-the-seat stuff right to the line!  And back here at home, we had the Clonard Road Club Racing team in action this weekend, with the Youth Category season just kicking off as part of the race weekend in County Louth.

We have reports here from the A3 Race, and also from the Youth Races as well:

Report from Youth Race - Michael 'Mikey' Kane:

Stage 1:Criterium(10 laps of 2.61km)

The day started at 6am for the drive to Drogheda.  We arrived in Drogheda at 8am, just in time for carb loading.

We set off to the retail park for sign on, and met Jamie Quinn.  I signed on whilst Luke McVeigh and my dad(Ger Kane)
got the bikes ready.
The riders gathered for the roll out to the start line. The u12 and u14 races were on first so Jamie and I took some time to get used to the first hairpin (which i missed on first attempt).
Then we heard the hiss of air escaping from a tube! I had a quick sprint back to the start, and Luke got to work changing the tube - he didnt even let me off the bike before starting, and had it changed in five minutes, in time for a quick warm up before race start.
The first 3 laps were uneventful then... bang! 3 riders hit the ground in front of me! I dodged it and got back on.
Luck was on my side, and my legs were feeling strong.
This could be my day!  Then with one and a half laps to go, the brakes were slammed in front of me and I was forced into the ditch.
The neutral serrvice car got the chain back on, and set me on my way and I finished the stage looking forward to the hills in the afternoon.

Stage 2:Donore circuit(6 laps of 6.32km)

The first thing done for stage 2 was to fix the handlebars which had bent when i hit the ground in the morning.
The roll out today was spent talking to David Boyne of lakeside wheelers who had a sixth place in stage 1.
I did my warm up on the hilltop finish - the legs felt good, recovery was done, and Jamie was feeling good too.

The race started with the usual sprint, which turned into a break of five riders but nobody wanted to commit just yet as we had a long way to go.
Halfway through the lap I decided to try for a break, so I attacked and had a 3 second gap by the top of the hill.  The downhill finished with a ninety degree corner which helped me open the gap a bit, and I looked around the gap was bigger but no one was coming across so it was time to go back to the bunch.
Then on the fourth lap, a crash happenned two bikes up from me - I dodged it and glanced across to see the lakeside jersey on the ground: David was down (I found out later he was in hospital with four stitches and I wish him a speedy recovery).
Then on fifth lap, another crash on the last hill, I had to go cyclo-cross style to get around it!!
I sprinted back to the bunch (if it could still be called it at this stage) to realize that there was only about 15 of us left.
The pace slowed as most the guys had team mates down.  It didn't slow for long as the attacks were going again!
In the end I was just outside the top 10.

Stage 3:(6 laps of 7.98km)

We woke up to wind and rain - already I could tell it would be a tough day.
When I signed on for stage 3 I found out I was twenty-fifth overall.  This was a bit of motivation to do well.

I went back out to find that my front wheel was out of line from my stem. I had rode a whole stage without noticing!

No roll out today, as most people knew where they were going - we got a bit lost but found our way.
Another hill top finish today, and the legs feeling good.  When it came to start time, I positioned myself at the front on the outside for the hairpin up the road.  Alas, my luck was to run out.
I missed my pedal on the startline and just got the back of the bunch.  Then around the hairpin, and I was still there my mind turned to recovery mode and I didn't even notice that I was not on the back of the main bunch, but a group who were also dropped.

I went to the front and started pushing, but the gap was too big and the wind too strong.  I settled into a group who were
struggling, and got them to work together and we mopped up a few more riders.  Then the rain started on the last lap and the inspiration cycles rider hit the ground - I got around, but needed to clip out to stop myself from falling.
I pushed off in pursuit but the group was blown to bits. Riders had attacked, and I only caught up with one.

I finished in the top 20 on the stage with Jamie coming in next.  I had also secured 19th place overall.

I wish a speedy recovery to anyone who was caught up in the crashes, and hope to see them up racing again soon.

Also, congratulations to Jacob, Alan and John on their preformances in the combes connor.  Also a big congrats to Luke and my dad in the Peter Bidwell memorial race.
 - Michael Kane

Report from A3 Race - Jacob Baldwin:
Big weekend of racing for Drogheda Wheelers.
13 races in total which included the Ras Na Nog, Peter Bidwell on Saturday evening, and the Coombes Connor this afternoon.

Great to see so many races being organised in such an efficient way. Great food post race also!

The A3 race had 3 Clonard men on the start line, myself, young Luke McVeigh and Mr Alan Maye, with John Connell representing the club in the A4 Race:

team crc1

Great to see Alan back doing what he does best.

After the last few races, I was prepared to see guys drilling it from the line.  As myself and Luke managed to be starting right up front, I sent the instructions to Luke "from the gun".  I could tell by the smile on his face he was only delighted.

So we drilled it for the first 6/7 km, opening up a nice gap on the bunch but over 84km there was no way we could keep the pace up. Pretty good way to get the blood pumping!!

The pace always seemed to be quiet high, especially on each run in to the finish line, speed hitting 60+ km at times. I pitied Luke with his Junior gears, it was hard enough to keep pace even with Senior gears!

2nd lap in, Alan timed a break to perfection, gaining a gap with another 10 riders for a full lap but with a head wind on the back roads, even 11 riders struggled to stay away.

Close to the end of lap 4 out of 6, Alan shouted at me.  Didn't quite know what he said but something along the lines of get the finger out!!!
So with 4/5km left of lap 4, I attacked the bunch and managed to get a sizable gap - averaging 50km/hr, I stayed away for the guts of 7km but couldn't keep it up, and the bunch dragged me back in.

It always looked like this race was going to end in a sprint finish but on the final run in Daire Feeley (eventual winner) got the jump on the bunch and kept a small gap to the finish.

Our very own Alan Maye claimed 6th place on his first race back after a year and a half away. Great to have him back in the bunch giving myself and Luke some tips and some much needed help!!



Finally I'd just like to say well done to Michael Kane and Jamie Quinn who did us proud at Ras Na nOg. Great to see our up and coming riders competing against some of the best underage riders in the country.



29th March, Harry Reynolds Memorial, Balbriggan:

Report from A3 Race - Jacob Baldwin:
After another few weeks away from racing due to colds/flus, I knew that if I could get around this tough Balbriggan loop 6 times, the midweek turbo sessions were working!!
I took to the warm up 40 mins before the off just to see what the course had in store. I found out pretty quickly that it was hills, hills and more hills!!

But even a 2 hour warm up couldn't prepare me for the start of this race....
The entire bunch rolled out, A4s let off first and then us 3 minutes after.  To say that the speed was high is an understatement. Put it this way, 40 A3s started and when I looked back after 5km, 12 of us were still there, 5 of which were the Nico Roche juniors.  At least I was in good company!

At the end of lap 3, I went off the front by 50metres or so after hearing the sirens telling us the A1/2s had caught us.
As Javan Nulty and Zippy Doyle tanked on by, I managed to jump on a wheel which dragged me to the start of the 2km drag to the finish line.
I figured by being close to the front I could just about hang in going up the hill, which I did(just about).

Turning left for the 4th time at the man o war, again just stayed in touch. The speed was crazy on the flats and I was suffering!

Half way around the 4th lap I lost touch with the main bunch.  Myself and Darragh Long of the Nico Roche squad tried to get back on but no chance!!
At the end of the 5th lap we were 1:30 behind, and then the rest of the A1/2s caught us.  I didn't feel too bad when I saw some of the faces.
Maybe 15 of us in this bunch finished the race out. With an A3 prize at stake, I tried hard to get up in the sprint but unfortunately finished a few bike lengths behind 2nd A3.

A hard days racing, but great to be back.Roll on Drogheda next weekend!


16th March, Boyne GP, Meath:

Report from John Connell:
It was the perfect weekend. It was a Bank Holiday, St. Patrick’s celebrations were in full swing and Ireland had beaten France, in what will go down in history as Brian O’Driscoll’s last game and one of the greatest international Rugby games ever, to win the Six Nations. Stealing the championship from the old enemy, England. Now! All I have to do is get this race out of the way and we’ll be all set.

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 the race.
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.

John C.



8th March, Ras Naomh Finian, Clonard:

Report from Andy Flood - A4 Race.  (A3 Report from Luke McVeigh is just below):
So I wake up to the sound we all got too familiar with over the months of December/January....yep, storm force gales!  Grab phone...quick check on the Radar and YR - no rain around (yee-ha!, especially as I spent 2hrs degreasing the bike and cleaning it on Thursday!), but the wind speed and direction was going to make this a tough day at the office.
Crosswinds out and back means trying to stay on the correct side of the road all the way out and trying to avoid punctures in the gutter all the way back.

Literally made it to the start of the race about 5seconds after they began to roll out of the car park in Mother Hubbards - misjudging the warm-up almost cost me the day - still, on the plus side, I was already warm as we began the race, whereas others were already feeling the cold from standing around.

The crosswinds immediately shaped the race as I had thought - everyone trying to get right of everyone else, but the pace was manageable the whole way out to the turnpoint in Kilbeggan.  Only the non-stop routine of brake hard, sprint, brake hard, sprint as there were still some early season nerves in the bunch - only to be expected in the A4 category as there are many beginners who only have one or two races under their belt, mixed in with more experienced riders and old fogies like myself.

A small break was out front over the Ginnybawn hill, so that meant the pace was ok in the bunch as no one had reason to sprint for the prime.  On the way back however....totally different story!
The Lakeside team got together at the front and absolutely hammered it up the hill - immediately splitting the bunch to pieces, and I mean it was literally blown apart!

Up to that point I was on observation duties at the back - just taking it handy and not really taking part in the racing.  I knew by the pace however, that the bunch wasn't gonna come back together after this!  So, this was it...go like the clappers up to the front, or be left behind: I chose option 1.
Bodies were flying backwards being spat out the back - I gave it everything, and made it to the lead group. 

All the way back in then the pace was very high - no let up.  One surge after another - all those little drags on the road back in were now becoming quite significant.  Every time the road went up, we lost more and more riders.
Through all the roundabouts then at Kinnegad, and we were down to a lead group of no more than 20 riders.

The approach to the finish was quite interesting....nice an gentle run in, not at all what I was expecting.  Did my usual 'look for a big lad and hide behind him', so found my target and we were rolling in towards the line at a nice pace, and despite not being built for a sprint, I had a top 10 finish 'in the bag' as they say - nice work! Good result and I'd be happy with th....oh!!  BANG!!!! there's a body and a bike on the ground, literally right in front of me!  Nooooooooooo......not this close to the finish! Not after all that effort, all the max HR bursts to keep with the group on the way home!  Can't believe this!!!  How the heck am I gonna get round this....I'm getting closer every millisecond....
Back wheel skidding, turned the bars and changed direction to avoid him by a mere centimetre I'd say.  Some skills if I say so myself!  Now, Ma....I told ye I wasn't wasting my time skidding around the streets playing on my bike in Ballyer all those years ago as a kid!!  ha!!

So that was it!  Stayed upright, top 20 finish - good day at the office after all! :)

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:

Report from Jacob Baldwin - A3 Race

The short drive to Navan this morning gave us a glimpse of the conditions that were to greet us at sign on in Simonstown GAA club! horrific!!!
Strong winds and heavy rain which didn't show any sign of let up must have made most riders regret getting out of the scratcher!!
Both myself and Luke were Clonard's only representatives at the race with both of us rolling out with the A3 bunch. 85km was the distance which consisted of 2 laps of a tough route. Neither of us had rode this route before so we didn't quite know what lay ahead! As we rolled down to the start line I was regretting not wearing my snug winter jacket!! It was bloody freezing!
At the start line I couldn't help but notice that a lot of the faces looked a good bit younger than me but Luke fitted in just nicely. The bunch was full with Juniors and that only meant one thing...SPEED!! It was going to be a tough day at the office.
As we rolled off, we weren't 2 minutes up the road when the dreaded roar, followed by the sound of carbon hitting road engulfed the bunch. Not a good start to the day but luckily enough we didn't hear it again for the remainder of the race. I wasn't wrong about the young faces, the Juniors set the pace for the first half of the race, hitting speeds of 50+ on the flats and drilling it up the hills and 60's on the downhills. As we hit the hills, the bunch was well strung out with riders being shelled out the back. Legs and lungs were burning and we hadn't even done 30km!!
It was obvious that this kind of speed couldn't be maintained throughout so it was nice to have it ease off a bit so I could get my legs again. Luke was darting up the outside every so often, trying his best to get in breaks. I wasn't surprised to see him attack second time round at the bottom of the hills. Riders chasing him down and struggling to do so. Unfortunately for Luke his energy levels had been depleted from all his efforts, and had to suffer for the final 30km.  He polished off the post race sambos which brought a bit of colour back into his face!!!
The bunch spent most of the race chasing down a breakaway of 8/9 riders. What we didn't know is that the breakaway were brought the wrong way by the lead car.  As the 1km sign passed the pace ramped up with riders looking to sprint for show(or so we thought!!). Riders were dropping back not risking the bunch sprint. I was feeling good so I thought I'd give the sprint a go. Turns out I wasn't a million miles away from the prizes. Cycling can be a game of 'what ifs' but I'm sure if riders new that it was a sprint for 1st as opposed to 10th the approach to the finish and the sprint itself might have been a lot more "helter-skelter"
Tough day on the bike for both of us especially after Summerhill yesterday but we live to ride another day!

1st March, Mick Lally Mem, Summerhill:

Report from Luke McVeigh - A3 Race

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.

summerhill win

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:

With storm force winds and heavy rain forecast for today, it was only the bravest of riders that ventured out and took part in the Traders Cup Race in Dundalk, Co.Louth.

The Club was represented this week by Mervyn Heffernan, taking part in the A4 Race.  This was Mervyn's second race of the 2014 season, and with the weather conditions, it was to be a real test of determination and will just to complete the course.

Race distance today was 70km, but lucky for the riders, the rain actually let up after the first 15km were covered, giving them a welcome break from the driving rain.

traders cup 1
Mervyn in with the A4 field

Mervyn managed to stay in with the main field, right throughout the race, and finished safely in the main pack.  Luckily he avoided a big crash in the run in to the finish, with just some 200m too go.

Next weekend, the Racing Team have 2 races on the cards - Summerhill on Saturday, and Navan on Sunday, so we hope to bring you news from both those races next weekend.


2014 Season opener - Ned Flanagan Race, 16th Feb, Monasterevin:

With an impressive average speed of 42 (yes...forty-two!) KM/h, the eagerly awaited first race of the 2014 season took place in Monasterevin, Co.Kildare, on a cold but dry morning.

John & Luke discussing tactics before the off

For the A4 race, we have this excellent report from John Connell, returning to racing after a long absence but getting straight back into it....

Ned Flanagan Memorial
Sunday 16th Feb 2014
It was a cold start to the morning with many of the roads around the country iced over, but a thaw had been promised. The drive over through Edenderry brought an incredible sight. An Audi parked ten feet above the road, embedded in a hedge with the boot open (Obviously the only form of escape for the three beleaguered young lads standing at the side of the road, scratching their heads). Things were looking ominous.

I pulled into Monasterevin and looked for a suitable parking place before going to the Bellyard pub to sign on.  Inside in the pub there was a huge queue for one desk and no one at the other three desks which had been set out. On closer inspection I noticed that this queue was for the A4 sign on and the other desks were for the sign on of the more advanced riders.  It was apparent I was going to find myself in the presence of a crowd of overanxious newbies, myself included.

As the morning went on I spent my time going through my kit, organising food and drink for myself and basically making sure that I had ticked all the boxes before going for a pre-race warm up.
While going for the preliminary cycle I couldn’t but notice that the roads around the town were in a very bad state of disrepair and the recent weather had brought an awful lot of debris out onto the road surface. Every pothole on the approach to the finish had been marked with a ring of yellow paint, making the lead in look like one half of a spot the difference puzzle.
It then came time for the race. First off it was the A1’S and A2’s together.  No particular interest there from a club point of view. This was followed shortly after by the A3’s and our own Luke McVeigh. Then some minutes later after a good pre-emptive reprimanding by the Commissaries, the A4’s containing Mervin Heffernan and myself rolled out of the town. The group surged on up the road with a lot of overzealous riders making moves almost instantly. The peloton didn’t really react to this but it did serve the purpose of ensuring that the pace was fast from the start.
The wind had picked up just before the start and I soon found myself looking for shelter in the middle of the group, just to stay warm. This came at a price though. Being caught in the middle I was at the mercy of the other riders and had no view of the road ahead. And the state of the roads was bad as I have already said. About ten miles out a huge pothole appeared in front of me and I went headlong into it prompting a scream from the rider next to me to “Call the holes”.  I was alright though, apart from my bottle jumping out of it’s holder and spinning across the road.   This was my breaking point.  For the next mile or two, all I could think about was the loss of my drink and whether or not my bike had been damaged in what was a BIG impact, but I seemed to be alright and continued on.  Then coming out of a roundabout I moved up the outside taking several places and couldn’t help but notice that I was getting a lot of vibration through the back wheel.  I tried to examine it on the move but sitting in the middle of a fast moving  close pact group is no place to be Gawping at the back of your bike, and it seemed to be getting worse - I had a puncture!  So after expelling the obligatory expletive to inform the riders around me that something was wrong.  I raised my hand and let the group pass me before moving into the side of the road.

When I examined my wheel I found it to be perfect.  And the vibration I had felt was a combination of the poor road surface and the million PSI I put into my wheels so I can roll faster.  I just might be able to get back on.  I got back in the peddles and put the power on.  The A4 group were less than 100 yards ahead and I was still in with a chance of rejoining, or so I thought.
Out the back of a group of racing cyclist is a lonely place to be.  You know that if you can just catch them that you will be able to share in the protection of the pack.  I chased as hard as I could to get back on, as I could see a climb coming about a kilometre up the road and new that if I didn’t get them before they hit it I was finished.  Another rider in front of me obviously had the same idea and he put the head down and drove on.  I was spinning as hard as I could and was almost in touch on one or two occasions, but alas I saw the group surge ahead again and crest the hill before I even got to the base of it.  My race was over.  I joined two other back markers at this point and spun out the legs making the most of a sunny Sunday in Kildare.

After I returned to Monasterevin (Water bottle retrieved) I waited at the finish line for my returning compatriots.  All the races were won outright with no contentious decisions.  The lead group of A1’s and 2’s was won by a considerable margin by a Robert Kelly??? And Ciaran Kelly was the winner of the A3 race with our own Luke McVeigh finishing well up the field to be the second placed junior.  The A4’s rocketed in sometime later; the winner of that group was Mark McGauley, with our own Mervin Heffernan finishing respectfully down the field.

All in all I was pleased with the day. When I realised that I could have continued I could have hit something, but it wasn’t long before I decided to look at it in a different light.  Sure, I could have continued and I may have grabbed a point or two, but on the other hand, it was a tough race from the start, and I had been right there in the group from the get go when many others had given up the ghost.  So my fitness is O.K.  The bike was fine after taking a big hit and all the kit and preparations I had made on the lead up to the race seemed to be the right ones, and on top of all this I’ve exorcised my demons.

Today was the first race of a long season and both me and my bike survived to fight another day.
John C.


Meanwhile, in the A3 Race, our intrepid reporter, and super-Junior, Luke McVeigh reports from the thick of the action:

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 club too.

20140216_a  20140216_c
            Luke McVeigh at the A3 start                                                                    Mervyn & John line up for the A4 start

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 stragglers.
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 “what if”.
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.




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