Team awesome once again in the fray this weekend in Blarney. Don in the A3 race after spending the morning taking out beginners cycle and Ciaran and myself in the A4 race (after I had decided not to race in the M40 category as I was not sure which would be easier, the others did not have a choice as they selected elite licences whereas I had selected a masters licence). Since Don had spent all morning warming up, myself and Ciaran decided to head off for a quick spin towards the start line where we met up with the CTC Sunday cycle coming out of coffee in Blarney. A great morale boost!
Each lap of the race is basically up hill for first half and down hill for second half, and then it’s two laps for everybody. Compared to last year the a4 race was punchier and it was a question of hanging on through the attacks. Ciaran took to the front of the bunch and I took to the back (not a strategic choice on my part). On the first lap, the climb was pretty similar overall to last year though the descent was a good bit easier. Ciaran was on the front keeping the pace nice and low 😉 On the second lap there were sharp attacks on every rise, but if you could hang on it eased up and you could regroup for next attacks. I made it up the climb the 2nd time in the bunch, one more than last year. Woohoo!
The descent was faster this time and on the 2nd half of the descent I moved up nearer the front of the bunch, came alongside Ciaran and gave him a quick hello wave. 20 seconds later, squeal of breaks, that horrible carbon sound, and I was grabbing the breaks to stop cycling into the pile of bodies and bikes. Somehow I managed to steer off the road and had my back wheel in the air, grabbed onto a wooden fence to stop myself going over the bars and into the pile of bikes, no idea how I did it, just reacted and it worked out, 2 or 3 guys then ploughed into me, really happy I did not end up on the ground as they would have come down on top of me. (There was a lot of screaming and moaning coming from the ground)
Ciaran hadn’t been involved and managed to slow and steer around the crash,but a split had formed and he had to work hard to catch the front group, which he did. I untangled myself… bike was still working… I’d a sore calf where something had hit it. I tried to get back on for 5 minutes but it was hopeless so just rolled in to the end. Meantime Ciaran was duking it out on the final rise and around final corner into the sprint, unfortunately he lost out on a place. Perhaps the effort of catching lead group had an effect.
Don was off with the a3’s he said it was a good workout (they were 5kph faster than a4’s, I like a4?)
Good dayout enjoyed by all 3 of us, Dungarvan in 2 weeks, really happy to have made it up hill twice… better than last year. Aging like a fine wine.