National Road Race Championships, Stamullen

Standing on the start line, getting cold while the legendary Gaybo Howard entertained the masses and built up a wonderful atmosphere. All the Pro’s and full timers were looking quite relaxed but I could tell that they understood the importance of the next four hours to their careers. Finally the mighty Swords team were called up to the line, I went to put my foot into my pedal and slipped and put my foot down, Gearoid clipped my back wheel and we almost had the first crash of the day but we both had a good laugh at it !

The flag was dropped and we were off ! Cass was the first off the front but I think it was a token effort. I got myself into the first 20 on the road and prepared for the first climb. McCann went off the front so I thought why not get onto that so I went across to him with a big effort. I sat on him and just before the climb he punctured so I was on my own and decided to sit up. I hit the climb for the first time and was in big trouble and could not get my breath but I got over and it took the next lap to get warmed up. After that it was a case of staying near the front and out of trouble. I knew with the tough weather and course conditions that a lot of people would get shelled and that was the case with the bunch shrinking each lap. On the second lap John Lally punctured and with a big chase got back on and that was an achievement as the bunch was not hanging around, unfortunately the replacement wheel given by neutral service was flat too and that spelt the end of Johns race, a pity because he looked great on the climb. As every lap went by the groups were getting smaller and we had the Stamullen and Earl of Desmond riders working hard at the front including a very strong Paul Griffin. We were catching a lot of riders and I was suddenly thinking of a top 15 place, until I hit the last 2 laps where my lack of racing this year was taking its toll. As the line outs persisted I started to look forward to the climb for a rest. I asked Gearoid how he was doing and he too said it was now a matter of survival, but then I looked up and say him on the front and we were going about 30 mph. Gearoid was on the ride of his life – flying!!

When we finished I hear the result and was delighted to hear that Scanlon won and hopefully this will help him get a Pro contract. For me I was glad to get the miles in the bank and I am looking forward to the Navan Crit on Tuesday and the Swords World Champs on Wednesday week. This was a tremendous event that impressed all that took part. Well done to the Swords and Stamullen Clubs for their wonderful efforts and a big Thank you to Mick, Brian and the two Seans (Lally and Rock) for their back up support throughout the race and to all the Swords members that were cheering our team on, all the way around the circuit.