Full league table now up check out the links on the left of this page.
Last Tuesday saw race 4 of the hugely popular Comeragh CC / Altitude Summer Series take place once again under glorious sunshine. The night was kicked off with a ticking off by Pat Power for all of those in the main bunch for being caught so quickly the week before. The main complaint being that in a group of 50 riders only 5 were really riding at the front, the rest were hiding at the back and that the value of this as training was questionable at best. This is largely true although there were other factors at play that night. Firstly the scratch group rode it's fastest race since any of us started counting, 47 minutes flat beating the previous record of 47 mins 30 and a full minute and a half quicker than week one, the limit group itself was also quicker than the first week (thanks in large part to a rampaging Kevin Shelly). Secondly one must also consider that there are plenty in the group for whom this is not training, it is a battle to survive, never mind working at the front. But mostly it's people failing to work together and the same folks every week trying to drag the bunch along whilst the really cute hoors tuck themselves in to keep themselves fresh for the scratch group. It does kill the racing somewhat and could end up in the groups being combined altogether with no handicaps.
Race 4 saw an improvement and it needed to, with the new course layout adding 5k to the race, the limit group would really have to work well together to hold off the scratch until the all important Kilmacthomas climb. Under the stewardship of former Murphy & Gunn Pro John Dempsey 8 or 9 riders got organised at the front and did the lions share of the work on the outbound leg. A few miles in we encountered Sean Kelly resplendent in his An Post kit who proceeded to ride along at the back of the group until he noticed all 50 of us trying to pull a stroke on the scratch group by jumping onto the back of an ideally paced tractor/trailer whereupon he moved to the front and demanded that we do the honorable thing and back off. You don't say no to a legend so the riders promptly complied. The bunch stayed together until the Kilmacthomas climb where a small group containing Michael McGrath, Martin Mizgayski and Eddie Maher among others got away. Another small group consisting of David Quigley, Jeff Spencer and Martin O'Brien formed a chase group whilst behind the main field was strung out and slowly being picked off by the rapidly advancing scratch group. By Carrolls cross the scratch group had merged with the survivors from the limit group and rode down the chase group, it took until nearly Kilmeaden before the lead group was reeled back in for yet again another sprint finish.
The roadworks on the finish strait threw quite a few riders out but nonetheless the usual suspects were up there. Keith Gater secured another week in yellow with an unstoppable burst in the last few yards, just pipping Don Feighery who was showing no signs of tiredness from his tribulations in Donegal the weekend previously. Reigning champ Robin Kelly left himself too much to do and was badly positioned out wide allowing the superb Alex Williams of Slaney CC to take 3rd place (and move into second overall in the league), whilst Martin O'Brien took advantage of his armchair ride out with the limit group to spring across the finish line in 5th place as fresh as a daisy (you didn't think I was letting you away with it did you Martin !). Ride of the day however had to be Martin Cullinane who volunteered to take on the scratch group. After tearful goodbyes to his loved ones and putting his affairs in order he set off to meet his maker, but ended up putting in a fantastic ride to hang in there and even come through to take a few pulls in the process, well done Martin you're a braver man than most of the rest of us. In fact if our league was like pro wrestling I wouldn't be the only rider to have Kenny Roger's "Coward of the County" as my entrance music!
The ladies league is still as close as can be with only a couple of points separating the top 5. Former Comeragh CC defector ;-)Emma Walsh took the honors for the second week running, hanging into the mens group when they caught her at Kilmeaden. Heather Purcell took second (and gained the overall lead in the ladies league), Catherine Brown third and Sinead Nolan fourth.
Next Tuesday is the Church Hill circuit.
Pictures courtesy of Robin Kelly and Karen Ryan HERE