Munster Championships Blarney 2015

A4 Race Report by Derry McNamara

 With the two hour rule on travelling to a race this one just about passed muster, leaving my better half at home with the minions in a bid for A4 glory.

6 laps of 10kms with a short steep climb half way round, the plan was for the usual A4 Madness. Hard first lap followed by tipping about followed by hard last lap with five lads doing all the driving on.

So I got there early. |’ve had differing luck with this one. I was late for the Packie Ryan and ended up asking  Daithie Quealy if the finish line had been a prime or what after we had gone over it. I went the other way at the Stephen Roche and rode out the course to check out the finish. Went too far and missed the start time. So having missed the start of one and the finish of the other I was early. Went to sleep for half an hour.

I was rudely awoken by John Colleran so found the numbers and the cheap pins and got ready. Good news. I had a teammate with me for the day.

Did the lap and met up with the Burren guys Richard Quinn and Connor Chandler. Had a chat and decided that lap five on the hill or before it was the time to make a jump. Probably the same chat everyone had.

So after a rain shower to lighten things up off we went.

Lap 1 One guy had a mechanical I think. He just slowed down, moved back through the bunch and then fell over. Didn’t sound the most pleasant, but in the sporting nature of cycling everyone moved on regardless. Owen from Banner got away for most of this lap with another guy, but it was too early for this sort of heroics. The lap was all up for a k, slight down for a tight couple of kms, short sharp climb and then slight down to the finish with a roundabout and a 90 degree left at 260m to go.

The hill had two sharp bends with change in incline so it took a bit of figuring. It was one of those races where the heart is flying with excitement, but the legs feel rubbery because they aren’t under full pressure.

Lap 2 and 3 were fairly uneventful. The only solution for the hill was to change gears as you climbed. It was too short to make much of a gap. John did a lot of work at the front driving things on. I sat around fifteenth with a view to the front and rolled up for the climb. The hill got tougher each time. John myself and Owen from Banner made a jump but it was the usual when more than two jump everyone wakes up and jumps across before slowing down again.

Richard Quinn got away on the fourth lap with two others and they held the gap for a long time. John was jumping across when the race got pulled in for the A1-A3s to pass. It’s a great lap, but a bit short for all of us, so it’s the price of it.  Had a chat, a gel, moved drinks, bit of crack, cheered on the A1-A3s and then the break were let off with the same time gap and away we went.

We caught Richard and his cohorts before the last lap and as expected it all blew up on the last time up the climb. Hugh Mc Sweeney jumped clear on the climb. I had rolled through to tenth for the climb and rode it well but not enough to catch Hugh. By the top he had 50 m on me so I put the head down but held back a bit and held the gap until someone came around me. Put my head back in for the rest of the chase which wound down the main road into the finish.

So with a km to go Hugh still had a gap. I moved into fifth or sixth ahead of John in the line at the roundabout and rolled around fairly well. As we hit the last ninety degree bend the lead car got held up. Hugh was ahead I think he had already gone around the corner. Some of the guys went outside the lead car thinking they could keep their speed on the outside. I went inside following the wheel in front, Bart from Midleton. Luckily for me the Lead car didn’t take the corner and Bart was strong enough to tow me to the line passing two guys before I got around him at the end. Hugh held out to win it. My luck didn’t end there either. The guy in second place AJ from Midleton was an M50 so he didn’t place in A4s leaving me in second. First medal in 25 years. My four year old coach reckons she’s found her calling. To be fair I did very little work and was lucky at the end. John was a place or two behind me, but complications with sign on for some of the M50s meant him or AJ didn’t get their places.