The clubs now annual Rás na Turcaí took place on Stephens Day with new bikes and cycling gear getting their first run out in the balmy winters morning.
Over 45 riders, including 8 youths, turned up to brave the very wet, windy and almost zero temperatures, many wondering why they didn’t stay in the warmth of their homes.
All signed on at the Skate park with 2 groups rolling out to Louisburgh, for a leisure spin, but with the conditions so inclement no one wanted to hang-on too long so the pace was a steady 30kmph plus.
The 2 groups re-joined just before the Old Head turn and rolled into Louisburgh stopping just outside Sancta Maria school where it was again split into 2 groups with the first group given a 3 minute head start.
The first group consisted of Noreen O’Toole, Siobhan O’Malley, Dave Rodgers, Aidan Gill, Martin Walmsley, Walter Lyons and Eimear Harrison. Two more riders who were meant to be part of the group got separated from the start.
The group worked hard together to make as much headway and stay away. The group lost 2 more riders at Lecanvey and the remaining 5 riders kept a steady strong pace into a cutting cold wind. On the turn at Gannons garage Martin McNally informed the group that they had 30 seconds on the main field but with tiring legs and heavy lungs the group were caught at Ooghal graveyard after an admirable effort.
Before the main group caught up there were a few attempts at organising a spring but nothing materialized. James McGreevy made a break at Lecanvey and with his topped up Australian tan he put in a massive effort to stay away for 10km only to be brought back in by the group.
The last effort was left for the final sprint with a few jockeying at the front but Colm Staunton the now unofficial King of “Rás na Turcaí” quietly made his way to the front before sprinting for the line. With the newly wed PatJoe O’Connell chomping at his heels he held him off to grab 1st and an amazing third win in a row, James McGreevy came in 3rd to follow on from his 2nd place last year.
Eimear Harrison was the first lady over the line after a fantastic effort.
The presentation took place in Tom Burkes followed by hot beverages and well deserved sandwiches to melt the fingers and toes.
As always a special thanks to the riders for turning up and making the event, given the hard conditions but especially those who marshalled both races and those who gave their help in the cars.