Mullagh CP: ‘Fail Trying ….or Fail to Try!!!’

The Tuesday League got under way with a real bang this Tue 3rd May with a 42Km CP in Batterstown, using the Mullagh Circuit. With the weather being crap all day, with heavy thundery showers, & a very strong North-Easterly wind blowing I had some reservations as to whether to go and ride this.With about 30-35 riders eventually signed on I decided I was here now, so lets get stuck in. My plan for the night was to go straight from the start and sod everybody else as whether they could come through, hang on or get dropped, I was going to drive as much as possible from the front even if it meant I would be spent for the finish. It had been arranged that there would only be three groups (Limit @12 mins, to Greens & Whites 10 mins, to Yellows & only 1 min to Blacks combined with Scratch. The scratch group had a number of Cycling Ireland riders taking part, due to the fact that there had not been a event over the weekend in Leinster, so I knew this was going to be tough (to say the least). I had heard a comment before the race that they where going to take control and show us how its really done, (WOW were they to get a kick in the Ass). This inspired me even more, & made me more determined to make it as difficult as I could. After the off I went straight to the front, put my head down & drove the group along encouraging everybody to come through. As per usually only 4-5 riders were taking turns coming through & this was out of 12 riders in the Yellow group. By the time we had approached the Mullagh for the first time I was already a bit cheesed off with the attitude, and decided to take a flyer off the front, so I attacked up the climb over the Mullagh, I could hear the shouts coming from behind, ‘Easy,Easy’ but this fell on my deaf ears, I just kept going, only one other rider came with me and we worked together up until we got onto the Trim – Dunboyne road. Unfortunately for us both there was a slight tail wind and the group decided they would work & we were caught. Some miles later we then faced a very strong head wind coming into Batterstown & I could see a group up the road at about 30 seconds, and behind us were the scratch group at about 20 seconds. I made 2 attempts to bridge the gap on my own, but with that wind I only managed to pull back about 10-12 seconds. I knew it would not be long before the scratch caught us, so I was hoping that 2 or 3 riders may try to go clear from their group, and come up to me & we may have a chance getting clear up over the Mullagh for the 2nd time. However I was caught just before the left turn towards Cullmullan, and at that moment Noel Beggs (Lucan) , a couple of lads from Usher & Gerry Brannigan (Orwell) attacked really hard up the climb gaining a good gap of about 15-20 sec, this worried me (especially remembering the comment before the start) so I jumped and eventually got across to them before the top, I was joined by Stephen Fennell (Dub Whs) & Pat Blount followed up behind him, the 6 of us worked well but I noticed that the CI lads were concocting plans and trying to work over the IVCA lads. On the run in towards Dunboyne they attacked a couple of times but NO way was I letting them get too far! I chased every thing every time(I was to pay for it later). Gerry Brannigan had another go and got about 10 sec but he was not really going anywhere, Jimmy Lally made a good effort to get across to him, and knowing Jimmy to be strong I followed his wheel the 3 of us tried to worked but we got caught & as we did so Noel Beggs made a run for home with only about 5-6 km to go. I knew the run in towards Batterstown would be hard for him on his own, but the CI Lads where at their old tactics, slowing down at the head of the Bunch. Beggs was getting further & further away, & no one was looking like they wanted to chase him, (I was screaming at guys to go around the CI lads and chase him, but it fell on deaf ears).With about 30 yards from the left turn into Batterstown I jumped off & managed to get a gap on the the Bunch. This move, which I hoped would be enough to get me up to Noel Beggs & then hopefully because he was dying a death, jump him to the line. Well I did get up to Noel but Forgetting the distance from the last corner to the line, & facing that head wind, & maybe all the chasing I had done there was absolutely nothing left in the legs, & both us were caught by the fast moving gallop, But I was delighted to see a team mate Gerry Martin getting a very well deserved win.(WELL DONE GERRY). As for me I finished in the group in 20th place. Not getting in the points was disappointing, but on reflection the way in which I rode is just as important to me. As Hughie Byrne pointed out to me”If I had won tonight that would be better than 100 6th places”. Ok tonight I didn’t win, but I was happy with my performance and beside my teammate Gerry, a rider who always gives everything, and someone who tries to make things happen, took the honours.

Please understand I’m not writing this to say ‘I’m great’,nor am I writing about Gerry’s win. I’m just trying to make the point that you have to ride to your strengths, at least try to take the race by the scruff of the neck, and that its better to fail trying than to fail to try!!!!!!!!! ………..and besides eventually it will pay off!!!