Monday, May 6, 2013

Kanturk Day 3

The final stage was obviously enough the final chance to pull a result from the weekend I really wanted to get a result to justify the club sending us to the race and for my own sake to have something on the score board before heading into the ras as chances are slightly more limited there!
For once we had nice weather, we rode in from the B&B and noted that the road was in bits with a couple of km to go. The finish today was at the top of a 300meter big ring climb. The course also had another couple of long drags before a fast flat run into the finish. I had a good chat with Mick Butler from DMG on the start line where he was laughing at the fact that I was being chased down every time I moved despit the fact I was a minute and a half down he on the other hand had got into the break on the previous two days
Attacks as always were on the menu from the gun I got stuck into a few but as Mick predicted there was no getting out; coming into the town at the end of the first lap on the section of road that I had noted earlier was in bits the predictable happened and I hit one of the numerous pot holes and got a rear wheel puncture. I was in the top 20 when this happened and we were trucking at the time normally when some one punctures the normal practice is to stick an arm in the air to notify the riders behind and to try to get out of there way asap so you don't get milled by some one. I had a tub on the rear and went to throw the arm in the air but the road surface was so bad it was impossible to control the bike despite the fact I was using tubs. Fortunately no one milled into me and I got a change from neutral, it wasn't the quickest one every but its hard for the lads in neutral as the wheels are not set up for the bikes they are dealing with.
I got going again but was out the back of the cavalcade, Gerry our DS for the weekend did a good job of having a sticky accelerator in getting me back on, it does not look great to be buried up the back of a team car but its only restoring you to the position you were in previously and its still an effort. Hanging off a car is something different some lads do it but in my book its not on.
Fortunately I got back in to the bunch to be greeted by the news that a break of 5 was up the road. I felt fairly rubbish after getting back on and thought that the effort had taken a good bit out of me as well as getting stuck in on the first lap. Going up the climb to the finish at the end of the second lap I felt like I was stuck to the road and eventually copped that the rear break was rubbing so I had to stop again to centre the wheel. Once I got going again I instantly felt better strangely enough!
I spent the next lap sitting at the very back of the bunch gambling that the break would come back and I would have a crack at the finish. I spent the time chatting to Mark Kiernan of Kilcullen, giving him delay birthday wishes (44;over the hill) and putting the world to right in general. At the same time I was switched off at the back of the bunch the break obliged me by getting caught. Onto the main road for the last time I hitched a lift from one of the Phoenix riders to the front of the bunch I had planned on baking everything for the gallop but as I got there I just had a feeling that something would stick and I gave it a crack, next thing I knew I was gone on my own. I plugged away on my own for a bit as there was a brief stall behind. I must have offended Dylan O'Brien in a previous life as for about the 5th time this weekend he came flying out of the bunch and up to me, we swapped a couple of turn for me to see two more riders coming across, I had to do a double take as I realised that it was Dylans father John that was steaming across he had Mick Butler sitting on his wheel. John to be fair did a huge turn, Mick was sitting on he is a fair rider so he didn't get a couple of "motivational words" as he does not have form for being a scrubber. Unfortunately we were brought back but now I was committed to getting out instead of waiting for the gallop, Cian Dwyer of the Munster team attacked and I went with him we got a nice gap again and Michael Millar of Phoenix and Mick Butler again appeared, Mick rode this time as he had since discovered that Denis Dunworth had being caught. We did a few turn but a few riders came across and the power went out of the group so it was time to go again with Mick and Brian Hart of Limerick but we never pulled out a biog enough gap and were caught heading into the last 2km. My legs were screaming at this stage but stayed in the top 5 principally to stay safe, into the town and the chicane I was about 8th on Brian Cantys wheel but Brian must have lost his nerve a bit from hitting the deck yesterday and lost the wheel there was a gap of 5 or 6 lenghts to the first riders so that was my hope of getting up gone (and the fact my legs were on fire) I crawled my way up to the line to finish 20th on the stage. I felt sorry for the yellow jersey but ultimately the strongest rider in the race won the race, the yellow jersey was forced to chase early on during the race when he had team mates in the bunch, the Blarney lads rode really well yesterday and paid the price today a though way to loose it but its a though sport.
Eoin Green benefited from the splits in the bunch to move up from 11th overall to 9th, Niall Og Dunne did very well to finish in the bunch for a 1st year junior who weighs a max of 6stone! Eoin Dunne was unlucky in the A4 race, riding his first stage race since the junior tour in 1992 his legs had got better over the last couple of days and had decided to have a go at the finish, he had good legs and was perfectly positioned but got taken out by a couple of riders switching and ended up with a few cuts, broken spokes and a cracked helmet. Many thanks to Gerry and Niall for helping out and Karen for getting our good sides in the photos!

Kanturk Corkman Day 1 & 2

The May Bank holiday weekend is normally spent riding the Tour of Ulster in preperation for the Ras but this year we were a bit slow off the mark and missed the entry, we were on the waiting list and then told that two riders could get in but by that stage we reverted to plan b which was riding the corkman for me and Mike Lucey and Martin Mizgajski riding the Frank O Rourke in Wexford and doing a couple of good training days around it.
I had rode the first ever Corkman and had the privilge of winning the first ever stage many moons agoso it was kind of refreshing to be heading back. Iverk Produce Carrick Wheelers had Ray Cullen, Eoin Green and Niall Og Dunne in the A2/A3 race and Eoin Dunne and Niall Dunne in the A4 race. Michael O Loughlian, Arron Kearney and Ruair Dunne were flying the club colours in the underage races. Gerry Hawkins was DS for the senior riders and Martin O Loughlian was looking after the underage.

Stage 1

The first stage was 3 laps of a 20 mile circuit, with 3 small climbs on the lap, the road surface out to the climb would test all bolts on your bike and the fillings in your teeth, the climbs came in quick sucession then we had a quick descent to new market and a quick run back into Kanturk. The climbs were unfortunatley into a stong head wind which would have the effect of killing the racing a bit. I tried to get out a few times on the first lap, Ray Cullen was also being active but nothing was sticking. Coming towards the end of the lap I drifted back in the bunch to find Eoin to give him "motivational word" to get up to the front and get stuck in as we (i.e. me) had decided in our chat before hand that we had to be agressive and have a man in every move. Eoin as it turns out was only after getting back on from a puncture. Just coming into Kanturk Ray got away with 3 others, coming up to the line they were on the verge of being brought back but the bunch stalled a bit and they went away again I plonked myself on the front row of the bunch to keep the speed under control in the hope that the gap would grow, Eoin appeared at the front and followed one lad who jumped out and had a free ride to the front. I kept riding slowely on the front and the gap continued to grow as a few more hopped accross, no Munster riders or Nicolas Roche riders so it was looking good for us. Eventually a group of 15 pulled away before the bunch woke up a bit and started riding again.

The remainder of the lap was quiet enough, another smakll group got out but never got a huge gap as they were visible in front of the bunch for most of the lap. Dylan Foley was trying to jump across on his own but was being marked heavily by the Munster riders who had a rider in the second group. Only towards the end of the second lap did guys start to panic and realise that there was a large group disappearing up the road with the GC of the race in it. A few of the Roches and Planet Tris started to ride and the second group was caught quickly enough unfortunately for us Ray had popped from the front group and was in this group. Once the second group was caught the wind went out of the chases sails a bit, the Munster team now had a obligation to chase but inexplecibly one of there riders thought he was going to close the 1 min 30 second gap on his own and spent a few miles dangling off the front of the bunch.
I couldnt get over how slow it was in the bunch we spent the first two climbs riding at a snails pace, we got a time check of 1min 40 it lit up a bit on the last climb and on the way in from New Market the chase was on with the Munster riders finally relaising they had to do a bit Barry Meade was hugely impressive for planet tri as he was doing massive turns. I was sitting in the top 15 staying out of trouble, coming into Kanturk I was in the top five to make sure I stayed away from the wannabe Cav's, the break was staying away but the gap was tumbling fast I ended up 5th in the bunch gallop more so by following wheels than sprinting. Eoin finish 8th and gained 36 seconds over the pre race favourites, woulod it be enough to help him migate and losses in the TT?

Niall Dunne deserves a special word of praise for even starting the stage as he fractured his wrist during the week in a crash off the bike he sensibly decided 1 stage was enough for his weekend

Time Trial

I hate time trials; the fact I am next to useless at them probably plays a bit part in this. If I had a fancy TT rig I might like them a small bit more but its hard to justify the outlay when there is so few of them every year. I rode a local TT on Thursday night which showed me that I had not warmed up enough before starting, so I made sure to rectify this. We were on the bikes an hour and 20 min before our start, it would not only have the benefit of warming up correctly but were also helping to rack up miles with the Ras in mind. As we rode on the course against the way the riders were coming we said we would have a tailwind for the TT. An hour and a half later we were proved wrong as we had a cross/head wind; other wise I would definately have bet Barry Meade!!! I barely scraped over 40kph for an 11:55, Eoin did 11:40 that left him in the 10th overall.

Stage 3

The stage was run over the old Banteer circuit which must be the flattest course in the country, the back road with the recession has become one of the roughest roads in the country as well, this weekend is certainly proving to be a good test of shorts. I tried to slip away with Cian Dwyer after a couple of miles but were not left go, turn the head for the main road there was a crash at the very front of the bunch I was about 10th in line and did well to avoid the spill Brian Canty and Barry Meade got a nice slap, turns out Dylan Foley went into the corner a bit too fast slapped on the breaks and the boys milled into him, I saw the Ras flash before my eyes and counted myself lucky to get away with it.

Onto the main road and I got away with one of the planet tri boys but yet again with no sucess, heading towards the end of the lap a group was staring to form I decide the next man going across I was going with him one of the Kilcullen boys obliged and we were on the way across but yet again being chased down I sat up and the bunch sat up once caught and that was the break sorted for the day. The rest of the race was handy enough as the Blarney guys rode to defend the yellow jersey, the group got out to 40 seconds and the yellow jersey was disappearing on the Blarney lads but they rode well to control it, one Tralee rider was very unsporting to keep riding into the middle of the line and splitting it up, bad move on his part as surely the Blarney riders will remember that for the rest of the season.
Onto the last lap the gap was dwindling and looked like the group would come back but it never did as riders ran out of legs I was really annoyed as I hoped it would come back to have a crack at the sprint but unfortunatley the group stayed away by 10 seconds. I got 5th again in the gallop without sprinting at 100% as its hard to go flat out when you know its not for win. Hopefully stage 4 will see the dice roll my way, I finished the day off by doing an extra 20k with the ras in mind.