My first road race of the year, part of the Stamullen weekend, and the hilliest of the three races. The course was quite rolling with one big climb in the middle, which I hoped I could do something on. Big enough A4 bunch, but everything was very well marshalled and policed and not much in the way of crazy riding going on.
The race was almost entirely dictated by the eventual winner, Chris Reilly, a guy from Bohermeen who beat me in the Leinster Champs last year. Starting up the climb on the first lap, he attacked and I followed, to be joined by 4 or 5 others. Looking back on the descent, I noticed the pack coming back to us and sat up, knowing it was too early in the race to be burning unnecessary matches. On a fairly uneventful run back to the finish in Stamullen village, I just noted the little kicker climbs which might come in useful on the second lap and stayed out of the wind.
Second time around, Bohermeen man went again, I didn't immediately follow out the front but sat in a group that split off the front of the pack by the top of the hill and organised ourselves on the descent. We numbered about 15, good mix of clubs and started moving along at a fair pace. I was sure that we'd contest the finish amongst ourselves and was quite eager to see it stay away, so I did probably a little too much work on the front than was wise, but seeing as I wanted quality training rather than a placing, I was happy enough. About 6km from the finish however, we were completely swarmed by a bunch which reeled us back in and suddenly things felt a bit nervous. Guys getting jumpy and heading off the front and fading as soon as they were away, only to go again, no one willing to chase and general chaos were the order of the day.
With a slight rise to the finish, I hoped I could do something, but was 10 wheels too far back when Bohermeen man Chris Reilly kicked it off and had to be content with a finish somewhere around 10th, nice and safe.
Really enjoyed the race, nice to be riding in a bunch at high speed again and the constant attacking and suffering was good fun, but importantly, good training.
37km in 1:03Hrs. The course was a lot of fun, just a pity that the hill was neutralised by the long run and headwinds back to the finish, so there was no chance of staying away. Was pretty cool to have the finish line in the middle of the village too, makes a bit of a change from in the middle of the woods somewhere :)
Some photos and results on irishcycling.com