Gorey 3-Day – Keith’s report
Day 1 Saturday 30th March 2002
My first obstacle was the 180 riders surrounding me and having to fight for the wheel of the top peddlers. It’s a bit different from underage racing. You can get caught behind a wall of lads and miss the breaks. Sean Lally advised me to sit tight and ride in the bunch. The 120 Km from Tallaght to Gorey was the longest race I have ever ridden but I felt surprisingly strong and the 42 chainring my Dad fitted on Friday helped me over the drags in Hacketstown and other places along the way. I was worried about Hascketstown hill since the training weekend in January, when the club star Simon Wheelan blew us all away except Pat Halpin with a gut bursting attack that my Dad is still talking about. After this training session I was having second thoughts about going to Gorey but with encouragement from the lads I am now glad that I gave it a go. John Lally got into the winning break with some help from Garoid and finished a super 6th on the stage. This put him into a nice place on GC and put McNally Swords the 3rd best team after stage 1. I was very happy to finish in the main bunch at 2.03. All in all a good day, and riding alongside the great Sean Kelly was a nice experience.
Day 2: 31st March 2002: 4 mile Time Trial
After a nights sleep and some good nourishment from Mrs Anne Sunderland (Hillside B&B) I woke up in good form for the 4 mile Time Trial. Due to a mix up over my entry my start time was 11.40am, a bit later than I would have liked with the afternoon stage due to start at 1.30pm. I just rode my standard bike for this time trial, no add ons, no fancy wheels or helmet and did a time of 8.19mins Back to the B&B for a light snack ,rest and a leg massage in preparation for stage 3.
Day 2: Sunday 31st March: Stage 3
Feeling a little tired by now but riding ok in the main bunch until some bright spark leaned back to get something to eat and brought half the bunch down. I landed on my ass in the nettles (sore!!), and my bike tangled up with the other unfortunates. By the time I got moving again I could see the bunch sailing away in the distance. Try as I may they would not be caught so about 30 of us accepted our faith and rode home in the laughing group, about 20 minutes down on the winner. Not such a good day today but enjoying the experience.
Day 3: Monday 1st April 2002: Stage 4
Felt better today. Recovered well from the wars and thinking I could even have a go. The speed was the highest of the whole weekend on the journey home. The Mc Nally Team were all riding comfortably in the bunch and were in good spirits as we were now on our way home. Paudi O’ Brien in his yellow jersey was happy to ride along with us mortals as he already had the trophy safe and sound. Many thanks to John Lally, Sean Lally. Allen Duffy, Anto Mc Mahon, Garoid Loughnane, Sean Tierney and Tony O Malley for making my first senior event a weekend to remember and to Terry,Johnny, Mick Qwen and Michael for looking after us all.