Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2010 Noel Hammond Memorial RR

I hadn't planned on racing at the weekend – two long rides, one on the mountain bike, one on the road bike was planned – a weekend away from racing. As it happened on Saturday evening, the temptation was too much – the course seemed to be pretty hilly and with only seven days to the start of the RAS, I knew there would be a good turnout of riders fine tuning their form.

The A1/A2 combined race started on some rolling roads that led to the start of our lap and a very fast descent. The course was a ride out to a lap we cover five times – basically, a long fast descent, some windy rolling roads and then a reasonably long (for Ireland) climb with a few steeper sections. From the start, I stayed in the first few riders to stay out of trouble. Along the bottom of the course, a few attempts were made at escape and I covered anything I felt was dangerous and let one or two smaller ones (with less 'firepower') go. As we hit the climb for the first time it all came together – Niall Delahaye and Conor McConvey made a bit of a go but towards the top they were caught again – it was at this point I decided to have a go – I put the head down and pushed for a few minutes with only Niall coming with me. We stayed away for three quarters of a lap until ten more riders (all the suspects I would expect) bridged across to us. That was the end of the peleton for the day. We were a strong group and worked reasonably well, some skipping turns etc... but mostly good. There were a few attacks and digs as we went around but nothing major.

On the penultimate climb, fireworks went off with Conor and Niall setting a blistering attack, that was neutralized, then it was the turn of myself and Paul Griffin and Mark Dowling, cracks where appearing and over the top of the climb, Conor and Paul led just five of us as a group over. We rode pretty well for the lap but got caught by the chasing seven at the base of the last climb. Mark Dowling attacked on the climb early and got a gap but I didn't worry – despite the group being larger again, it was myself, Conor, Paul and Niall that moved ahead catching Mark and splitting the group again – it was the same five of us off the front. With a quick descent to get the gap and then some cagey riding (need more experience at this) we got the straight for the sprint – I finished fourth of our group of five.

My only gripe about the race and organization (and it really was a very well run event, and one that I will definitely be back at) was that there were no markers for how long it was to the finish. A simple “1 KM” or even “500 M” sign would have worked...

Anyway, it was a great race and I was happy I decided to give it a go. There is another report available here.

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