Swords League: Balrothery CP
Race 16 – Balrothery short circuit (7 laps – 43Km)
George Devlin (Drogheda Wheelers) won for the second race in a row even though I had dropped him down two groups. He, Chris O’Hare (Balbriggan CC) and Alan Duffy (McNally Swords) caught my group about lap 4 as far as I can recall. From then on Devlin and O’Hare did all the work with Sean Rock sticking to their wheels like glue but going to the front from time to time. I heroically stayed at the back, like a rear gunner, in order to defend the group from unseen hazards from behind!! That’s my excuse anyway. On the final lap when it looked as if we might stay away, young Sean rightly berated those behind him [Caroline, me, and Alan] for not doing enough work – humiliating. I’ll really have to ride next time out; either that or banish him to some far off group. At the finish, I came around Sean in trying to catch Caroline, but only because he was on restricted gears. Some of the difficulties of predicting time gaps for CP’s can be seen when considering the average speed of the group. We had ridden this same course the previous week when the route through the Naul was switched at the last minute due to insufficient stewards. The previous week our group averaged 33.9 kph. I felt it unlikely that this speed would be reached again. In the event the group, at least those left in it, averaged 35.1 kph. which translates to over two and a half minutes over the race distance. The race was nearly stopped by the Garda. Apparently there was a blessing of the graves in Balbriggan somewhere and a garda had been detailed to direct traffic on to our route, and in the opposite direction. However the steward at that point, managed to persuade him to direct cars in another way although this involved getting some cars to U-turn. A note of appreciation will be sent to the guards in Balbriggan. This is a particularly important since both the steward and the garda came in for some criticism from a rider who had yelled at them to organise the traffic in a different way. This is one way to antagonise the public towards cycle races leading to groups calling for their curtailment; and hostility from motorists, which is dangerous. Cyclists racing on open roads have no legal right to have even one rule bent. Motorists have no other obligation than to observe the same rules, and stewards have no power to tell any road user what to do; they can only request and warn.