Leinster Road Championships, Bunclody, Co. Wexford

The Leinster road championships was held in Bunclody on Sunday and with 3 laps of a rolling 26km circuit, it seemed like a good opportunity for some training and speed work. There was no separate women’s race and Mel and I were the only females lining up in A3.

For the first lap I played it sensibly, reminding myself what bunch riding was like and tucking in for most of the time. It was a nice course with some small draggy climbs and a pretty quick descents, but there didn’t seem much chance for anyone to break away – there were guys trying all the time but never looking too threatening.

photo credit: Liam Ruth, Slaney CC

On lap 2 I got up towards the front, left my brain on the side of the road and when a load of attacks started I jumped in on the action. One second pedalling along comfortably and then someone suddenly puts the hammer down and its all go at full gas. They kept piling on one after another with barely chance to recover from the burning legs at the end of each effort. I was happy to feel well able to stick to the guys in the attacks but it was a shame that they were reeled in each time – probably an obvious waste of effort to go with them in the first place but I was there for training and it would have been boring otherwise!

Into lap 3 I got swallowed up by the bunch and questioning the logic behind my earlier efforts I tucked in a bit to conserve energy, hoping I had enough left for some more hard efforts towards the finish. The race winner somehow snuck away out the front but coming up towards the finish it was clearly going to be an uphill sprint for the final positions. I was positioned way too far back in the bunch with Mel just beside me. As the speed increased I was on the inside and totally boxed in but with 7-800m to go half a gap opened in front of me so I got my elbows out and went hard to get as far up as I could. 200m full gas, uh oh can I keep this up? 100m? shit it can’t be that far! Had to turn off the pain-feeling part of my brain and managed to keep going to cross the line. An enjoyable race, even pretty exciting at times. Thanks to Think Bike for the fast race machine. A hot and dusty spin up 3 rock when I got home reminded me where my loyalties are!

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