The inaugural Midleton CTC club road race drew more competition than expected. While Milan San Remo might be a hard fought monument, Midleton San Remo is won in a colosseum. The break that counted got away by a mistake on the so called Poggio, the last climb before returning into Midleton. Derry Cadogan, who had been placing in the front all day, shipped his chain just after the first corner as Ken Cummins applied the pressure up the hill. There was confusion as Derry's lost momentum halted the long line behind him. "Who's away?" implored Richie Watkin, but Derry couldn't answer. His race was run.
Each of the five gathered their thoughts: Ken: ‘will I attack again?’ Shane Fuller: ‘just keep the wheels’. Peter Moloney: ‘hydrate and breathe’. Jim Cronin: ‘ignore pain’. Brendan Hennessy: ‘I'm suffering’. For all the Poggio felt longer than before. There was the road ahead yes, but the chase behind too.
Heads still, eyes on the wheel in front and watchful of the derailleur of the next man. Keeping a rhythm that allows enough to respond to a new pace. Pull the pedals up, push them down. The chasers weren't catching.
Over the top, Peter took to the front 'this is my forté' he thought. His pace hurt, hurt too much, everyone hung on. Next up Shane, hands on the drops, neck arched acutely he wished for someone to follow through. Jim, classy and quick, but the corner was approaching fast. Bren swung in behind a wheel, happy to hang on. Ken cursed the extra work.
Kathleen Doyle’s Hill the club chairman had explained ‘is the only safe way to finish near Midleton’. 'Safe for who?' Peter inwardly grimaced, but his concerns about the gravel had literally been brushed away. They all new Jim was the danger man, each inviting him to take the lead. Ken burst through without warning, Shane kept apace, Jim worked hard to keep up, Bren dragging himself up to Peter’s wheel. A shout. The peleton had taken the corner.
Jim took to go, so did Shane. Eyeing each other across the road they inexplicably slowed. The road narrowed, up ahead the chequered flag tickled the chairman’s legs. Ken arched to attack again, the ferocity pulling his wheel and his chances. Bren peeled off Peter's blindside, taking Jim's wheel. Peter did enough to catch Shane. Their big gears couldn't sustain more falters in momentum, and they knew it. They swung out of the handlebars, knees knocking the crossbars, high breathing and mouths pleading for hydration. Just then the peleton pushed through. I think AJ Murphy won.