A fast 5 lap course of 17km with race total of 85km add perfect weather conditions meant it was going to be a very fast pace.
Within 1km there was splits starting to happen as we turned straight into a slight head wind, I attacked out of the first corner and found myself on the right side of a big split.
With an big bunch chasing it wasn’t long coming back together. I was the only Covey rider in the A3 ranked race so I was eager to get a way in a break. A lot of attacks went off the front but the bunch kept closing everything down. Eventually a group of 4 got away and I noticed Dave Walshe of Castlebar CC and Paul Dunne of Fitscience going off the front in an attempt to chase after the break. I knew this was one not to miss as the 2 of them have serious power. I was sitting in around 10th position at the time so it took a bit of manoeuvring to get out of the bunch but when I did I sprinted hard from the side of the bunch and fought to get on the back of Dave and Paul.
We were working together pushing hard and we were closing the gap to the 4 up the road. We were soon joined by 2 other riders but at this stage Galway Bay CC were sitting on the front of the bunch chasing us down. We kept pushing on but never gaining much of a gap with Galway Bay in numbers chasing. They eventually caught us and they gave up the chase when there was still 4 riders up the road.
However that didn’t stop me from attacking again, I think I was in about 5 or 6 breaks throughout the race, never getting far but I was feeling strong and was eager to get a result.
At about 10km to go to the finish the race was all back together and I decided to sit in and if it came to a sprint to go for it. Another break went off the front but I decided not to panic and just stay in a good position. Everyone who has raced knows its a battle in itself to stay in a good position up near the front but not on the front.
Dave Walshe took it up very early about 1200m from the line up a slight incline to the finish. He was surging his way to the front with his team mate Karl Benson sitting tight on his wheel. I was in a great position sitting on Karl’s wheel in 3rd position. We were going so hard there was no getting out of the saddle to sprint and at about 250m Karl moved around Dave and I went around both of them on the outside, the 3 of us were side by side and it was going to be very close but I kept driving as I knew the last 5 meters kicked up again (noticed this on a recon of the finish line!)
I threw the bike at the line and I think that’s what won it for me, think I got it by only 1/2 a wheel length!!!!
It was a great race and a great result for Westport and Castlebar. Covey Wheelers took results in the full list of races from Youth races, A4, A3 and the A1/A2 race so it was a great day for the parish 😉
Well marshalled and well organised race by Seven Springs CC.
Author: Patjoe O’Connell