IVCA Age (40-49) C/ship Summerhill
The race today was quite a tactical one with Anto going from the line, meaning that the rest of the Swords had an easy ride for the first lap and a half of this gruelling course. Anto rode very well and had a lead of nearly 2 minutes after a lap. At this stage the Orwell, Dublin Wheelers, Lucan & Newry riders took up the chase and the speed rose dramatically. Time checks on the 2nd lap alerted us Swords riders to the fact that the gap was closing and was now down to 30 sec. It looked like hard work by Gerry Brannigan, Dermot O’Gorman, Jim Maguire, Seamus Haughney & Eddie Lynch was going to bring Anto back and each time just as it looked like it was going to succeed the steam seemed to go out of the chase. As all this was unfolding John Shortt, Gerry Martin & myself were having a ‘relatively’ comfortable ride as we didn’t have to do any of the chasing. As we headed into the final lap the race kicked off in earnest. Seamus Haughney and Jim Maguire got a slight gap as we rode through Summerhill as Dermot & Gerry tried to close and words of wisdom imparted earlier in the season from Sean Lally sprang to mind. It’s better to have 2 Swords riders in the break rather than one – it doubles you chances of success and besides it wouldn’t be wise for two riders to catch Anto after he had been out there all day. The speed was up and we were lined out as we passes Daingeann Church (much to the bemusement of mass goers!!!). A big jump by myself on the next incline brought me over to Seamus & Jim and it was inevitable that Anto would be caught, but at least he would have some support. When we caught Anto he was understandably tired but still strong enough to stay as we lost Jim on the last hill. Soon after that John Shortt came across (with a resurgent Jim Maguire) and we now had three riders out of the 5-man break. Across the last draggy bits and we were down to 4 with only Seamus Haughney left to worry about. We had a gap but not so much that we could stop riding! at this stage most of the hard pulls being done by myself & Seamus while Anto recovered. I did think Anto was spent and wasn’t sure what condition John Shortt was in. I didn’t have to wonder for long!!!. As we crested the last little hill John & Anto took a flyer. I jumped on Seamus’s wheel in the vain chance (hope!!!) that he closed the gap as I still felt quite strong. My teammates kept it going to the line and all that was left for me was to round the hard working Haughney to ensure a Swords 1-2-3 !!! A great day for Swords and a well deserved win for Anto !!!!!