My 3rd cycle race: the John Drumm Cup in Currow, Co. Kerry.
The race started in Currow village and finished on the approach road from Castleisland. It was a looped course of nearly 4 loops and was 60km long.
I don't fancy the idea of bunch sprints as I care too much for the skin on my back so I like to try to get away and do everything in my power to avoid being caught up in the mayhem. I am very new to this cycle race scene and have only been to two other races before this, finishing only 1 as my first was called off with 3km to go. The one I finished was last week in Nenagh and it was very much hell for leather the whole way and I was probably guilty of doing too much work on the front throughout and was completely cooked by the finish line, finishing at the back of the bunch.
I approached Currow with a little more tact and decided I would be sensible and heed the advice that so many had been giving me: don't go too mad for the early parts of the race, attack with 10 or so km remaining and see if that sticks. So we start the race and 10kms in I was already getting edgy with the pedestrian pace so I went to the front to do a turn. I must have put the boot down a little too much because I looked back and I had a little gap("calm down" I said), I decided to take it easy, 50km left n' all and I learned that lesson before!! So I pedalled away, the gap increasing but I didn't put myself under pressure and knew they'd catch back on again(if anything I was keeping myself out of harms way!!). I stayed away for a few kms, they chased me down and tried to slow it so I went to the front again and did this for 10 or so kms. I sat in for the next couple of laps and with a lap and a half to go I said I'd test it again into a headwind. No sooner had I gotten away and got a small gap, which I was sure I was going to build on, I saw a commissaire up ahead in the middle of the road waving a red flag! I thought "just my luck, like Carrick on Suir again the race is called off!!". It wasn't thankfully, the comm was a little upset with the riders riding on the wrong side of the road so he had a few strong words for us, gave us an ultimatum and sent us on our way. (Unfortunately it was simply impossible to overtake or move up in the bunch without going into the other lane) The race restarted and I thought to myself if I have the position in the next lap (half lap to the finish) I'll try that dig again. I sat in for the next lap waiting, biding my time on the right side(left) of the white line. Unfortunately when we got around to that point again I was well back the bunch and couldn't get around the bunch without crossing the white lines. I was also conscious that the comm had my number noted and if I were caught it would be the end. I decided not to panic, it was bound to open up again from Castleisland home with around 4km remaining so I sat in. I tried to move up but was still stuck behind 20 or 30 riders going into the last 2km. With around 1km to go on the only hill on the course I got out of the saddle and came around all but one rider. I got back in the saddle at the top of the climb and just pedalled as hard as I could until I crossed the line, I feel I was closing in on first but he went away before me and put in a huge dig himself. Very happy to have gotten 2nd place and 7 points in the bag, 3 more to move up to the next level and then a huge reality check! Bring on the Kanturk 3day this weekend!!
Thanks to everyone for all the advice, best wishes amd congrats especially Shane, Leonard and Dominic who are great to have at the races in case I've any silly questions! Hopefully I'll be up with ye soon!