Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bobby Power Sportive

Bright summers sun greeted us for the 3rd annual Bobby Power Sportive, this was a welcome change from last year where ducks would have stayed indoors the weather was so bad. I was down in Carrick at 7:30 for the sign on; the first person to sign on had travelled from the UK especially to ride the event and was going to spend the rest of the week travelling around Ireland. Great to have an international element to the sportive! We had 79 riders pre entered so we hoped that we would have the 21+ required to break the 100 barrier as we had said if we couldn’t draw 100 riders there would be no point in the running the event in future. It was great doing sign on as it gave a chance to meet a lot of new faces. There were also a few mechanicals to look after for a few riders and Gerry Hawkins had to pop home for a helmet for one of the riders who forgot his own. Fortunately we had 50 riders sign in on the day and we had a few no shows from the pre entered list so it was 123 riders that rolled out of Carrick with the flag being dropped by Mags Power wife of the late Bobby.
After tidying up at sign on Mr President Wyley and myself headed off to our first marshaling point of the day, I had planned ahead and brought a couple of camping chairs as cyclists are no good at standing! Rory already had a busy morning at sign on dealing with one day licences, looks like cycling Ireland will be gaining a lot of new members after Rory’s sales pitch but it makes sense to get a touring licence for €25 instead of forking out €10 for a 1 day licence if you are riding a few sportives during the year.

While waiting for the first riders we caught up on all the goss from the Ras. The first riders were soon upon us it was obvious that the standard of rider this year was better than previous years as the riders were more bunched together after the first two climbs than they were previous years and there was no one miles behind. There was a few men of the ras from previous years riding such as Robin Kelly and Keith Gator from Aqua Blue Enda Donnely from Dungarvan and Martin Cullinane from Comeragh. Some of the lads said they were using today event as the first step in there preparation for the national championships as it’s not every day you can get 100 miles in the legs especially a 100 miles with a “few” bumps.
After our first stop Rory and I headed to our next spot in the village of Grangemockler home “town” of our Ras massuse Theo English. This was a busy enough junction as it was onto the main Clonmel Kilkenny road and mass was finishing at the same time but not too bad in general. After this my next appointment was at the tea stop in Rathgormac, unfortunately on the way I came upon the ambulance treating a rider. The rider was Seamus Furlong from South East Road Club, Seamus had come down on the main road hitting a pothole and suffering a puncture for the front wheel which meant he lost control and came down. Fortunately the ambulance was on the scene quickly and took Seamus to hospital where he had to receive a number of stitches to a cut on his leg. His teammates from SERC had waiting for Seamus and we loaded his bike into the support van we had following the spin so the lads could resume there day out.

Onto the tea stop in Rathgormac where Tara and Les had laid on a great spread as always, I should really say Tara as Les spent most of his time talking to cyclists and getting dirty looks off Tara! A few riders had mechanicals at this stage that needed looking at so the track pump was out again and a rear wheel that I had brought was offered up to replace one that had seen better days. I also got a chance to admire a couple of wooden frames at the stop, real works of art and I would imagine very comfortable over rough roads. After I loaded up on sambos it was off to my last station of the day in Comeragh after the descent of the Mahon Falls, from previous experiences I knew I would be here for a good while so I brought the Sunday Times along for company. In total it took 1hr 45 min from the first rider to pass till the last riders, the first riders were putting the marshals under pressure as they were flying along, we also had to knock a few miles off the route due to bad road surface's so the lead riders were a good few minutes up on previous years schedules but we managed to get to all the junctions in time, just by the skin of out teeth in a few cases as Cian Power the chief organiser had to jump out of the lead car a few times to cover junctions but he made sure everyone got safely through.

The last group of riders to pass me was a group from wexford wheelers which struck me as odd as they were a strong group but I found out later that they had being beset with punctures. Once the ambulance passed that was my day of duty done, I popped down to Mahon Bridge for a chat with a few of the other marshals before heading back to Carrick to sample more of Tara and Les's sambos. I think I consumed more than some riders riding the event but marshaling is hard work!!! Back at HQ we sorted out some riders who had punctured during the day by returning there wheels to them. I spent some time chatting to riders about the event and I know I am biased but the response was very positive as it has being from the previous two years, everyone that rides the event seems to love it we just need more to come back next year!

Many thanks to everyone for riding the event and many thanks to all in the club that helped on the day, I don't think there was a junction that we didn't have a marshal on which is quiet a feet for an 100mile route, please spread the word and come back next year.

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