Monday, July 16, 2012

Dublin Cyclists Car Boot Sale - July 23rd

Many of us have biking bits and bobs that have been sitting around for way to long - or are looking for a few good deals. An Ultegra rear derailleur you bought just when you switched to a SRAM drivetrain... spare MTB mud tires, stems, posts, the list goes on.

On July 23rd from 7pm to 9pm at Lamb Doyles car park close to the Dublin Mountains we are going to have a car boot sale. Turn up and you never know what space you will create in your garage for your new bike bits - or what deals you'll find. Afterwards, have a beer or two with us in Lamb Doyles - what more can you ask?

View Lamb Doyles in a larger map

Me, I'll have lots of bits for sale - pretty much all high end and mostly new. Stems, bars, tires, forks, saddles and more.

And here are a few of the things I'll have up for sale:
2012 For Sale

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

2012 Mullingar 2 Day

I had a great experience last year at the Mullingar 2 day, this year I was back to defend my title with my now National Road Race Champion wife tagged along for company (and to try and win the women's race – she did!).

The course looked great – two relatively long road stages and one timetrial (short and sweet). My first thank you to the race organization – thank you for giving us stages of a decent length. 142km and 114km for the two road stages – it is annoying seeing races advertised as 140k and then finding them much much shorter on the day. You need long races to progress, to get stronger, to be able to compete against the Pros when the Ras is on... Watch out for the guys who rode this tough race in two weeks – they'll be flying!

Stage 1 – 142km – lumpy

Aggressive peloton from the start – it took a long time for the main break of the day to escape, six guys forged ahead without me (how could they! :P), but I quickly followed in a group of five creating a lead of eleven about 60 kilometers into the race. For those interested – my normalized power for the first 1.5 hours was 345W.

Once the group of eleven came together, for the next 50 kilometers the pace dropped dramatically. Everyone worked (so there was no attacking/shedding of 'deadwood') and we made good progress distancing the peloton – the overall and stage would be between the eleven of us. With 35 kilometers remaining, the fireworks resumed – after a lot of attacks and counter attacks, I found myself off the front with DID Teammates Fiachra O Muire and Timmy O'Regan – two guys on form lately with Fiachra having had a great ride the week before in the National RR Champs – they would be very tough opposition. We combined well until we hit five kilometers to go – the teammates attacked me one after the other hoping for me to crack, but honestly, as the kilometers ticked by I felt better and better – I was enjoying this. Knowing that there was a strong group of eight riders still chasing us I didn't want to stall too much and somehow we did keep moving to the finish. More attacks but with about 300 meters to go, I launched my own sprint and just held off Fiachra with Timmy coming in a few seconds behind. Both Timmy and Fiachra are strong sprinters in that situation and I was very happy to hold the teammates off.

Edging out Fiachra on Stage 1
Stage 2 – 3.3km TT – hill/drag

Despite having a horrific TT Nationals (every year or two I have a very very bad day – TT Nationals was one of those days – my wattage for the TT was MUCH less than normal training on the TT bike... I still finished fifth in Elite Men but it unfortunately is a day I'll try to forget) I really enjoy TTs. Thanks to my coach, I have a warmup that is perfect for me and this one went to plan. I arrived down at the start on my Shiv for the mostly uphill challenge, warmed up and ready to go. I pretty much nailed it – 4:34 later I was finished and won by 22 seconds. Like the day before I had great legs.

Stage 3 – 114km – lumpy

Yellow jersey on my back, peloton wanting to follow it, no teammates and a strong team with two guys close to me on GC against me - I knew this was going to be a tough one! Instantly, the attacks and counters went against me – I had gone into it prepared to throw it away – I couldn't ride 114km chasing everything. A dangerous move with Timmy (who was 33 seconds back from me) got away. Another group got away too and with 45 kilometers traveled the peloton with me in it found itself 3:30 back. Don't panic. There are other individuals in the race, other teams and soon a small group of us started to ride on the front – guys would come and go from it, but things kept going. We kept things steady – and we started to eat into their advantage. I guess the guys knew that if we could get things close I would do the rest and they would still be in the running for a stage. As the kilometers ticked by, minutes were been chopped off the groups lead and with 45 kilometers to go, we caught onto what we thought was the lead group. As we joined up with the 10 riders, I had a look around to find the danger men were not there, another four up the road I was told. With the race mostly together at this point, there was much less help given my way (I remember all the guys who were riding with me – don't worry about that!) so it was a yellow jersey followed by a peloton for much of the rest of the race. A long solo timetrial at the end of a tough race – I actually really enjoyed it. There were a few strong riders up the road, but I could optimize my pacing – and I wasn't going to start playing games... This would be interesting. As we got closer to the finish, the lead groups advantage edged away – with 5 kilometers to go it was 1:08. Timmy had 33 seconds on me but he had been riding a long time and the last few kilometers was on a drag – I dug in and rode as hard as I could to the line pulling back all but seven seconds – I had done enough to retain the yellow jersey (and still get eleventh on the stage!).

It was a hard stage – but I was happy that I had the strength and determination to finish it off. So many times in cycling it is easy to give up, throw the race in – be content with riding along in the peloton. But one of the big lessons I have learned is never give up – I have won races this year were at the midway point I was minutes behind a front group – anything can happen – and if you have a few strong riders coming together and being determined, almost any deficit can be pulled back.

Husband and wife claiming the wins - Photo Joe Duffy
Thanks again to Lakeside Wheelers for putting on an amazing weekend of stage racing – four concurrent races on great courses with challenging distances. If we had more regular stage races like this (long tough stages) before the AnPost Ras, county riders would be so much better prepared to show the UCI Pro riders who is boss. Thanks.

Marshaling, food, prizes, everything – top notch.

Irish Cycling report, Irish Examiner report, Sticky Bottle report.