James McGreevy

Race Report: Donegal Bay Kermesse

Report by James McGreevy

First off I will say it is a bit strange to be writing a race report after getting seventh place in a race, but as it’s a non-negotiable clause in getting the use of the Covey club car for the day I said I better throw a few lines down. Will that do? No, ok I will write a bit more so…..

The day started off like any other Covey road trip, with someone turning up late. As Keith wasn’t traveling today I decided to assume responsibility for this often overlooked but crucial role. So about ten minutes late I arrived at Richie’s and we hit the road.

Quiet roads made for nice journey to Mountcharles in Donegal where the day’s action would unfold. We were a little late arriving due to a missed turn in Bundoran which sent us over the border into co Fermanagh. Luckily there were no Father Ted style border checkpoints or boxes of machine guns involved so we were soon back on track if a little late.

Our warm up was short and sweet due to the aforementioned detour so at midday we lined up with the rest waiting the start. A sizeable A3/Junior group got a 2 minute handicap and then the scratch group were let go, probably a quarter the size of the first bunch.

The race took place on a 6.2km course, over 13 laps for a total of 82km. not the longest race but due to the steep 1km climb at the end of each lap followed by a long drag for another 600m after that it made for a hard day.

The hammer was down from the off, and by the end of the first lap the eventual winning move had left the rest of the scratch group for dust on the hill, leaving us to fight on in pursuit. By the end of lap 2 it was looking like no one in our group was willing/able to ride so

I hit the climb hard and split the bunch leaving me with 3 passengers. I took them up the drag and down the descent to the coast road, the flatter part of the course, flicking my elbow to get some help. None came. “I have a man up the road” one said, fair enough, the other two offered no excuse or help, such is bike racing I have learned. After 4 or 5 laps these lads were gone and I had caught a lot of the A3’s in ones and twos, leaving them behind with impunity also. Unfortunately an injury had cut short Richard’s day by this stage, a disappointing turn but hopefully one from which he speedily recovers.

Eventually I caught the A3’s that remained up the road. These lads were stronger and wouldn’t be shaken off so I sat in there, and when I heard there were 6 leaders up the road I thought ok at least there might be a point or two on offer here. I started to count down the laps, 5 4 3 3 3. It felt endless…..  One more rider came back to us leaving 5 up the road, so from here on with the gap growing it was a case of recover and see how I felt on the last lap or two.

Finally we hit the climb for the second last time and a couple of lads that had attacked our group came back to us. An Omagh Wheelers rider put in a strong dig on the climb and myself and one other followed. We got a gap on the others and decided that was it, either push on for the last lap or let them back and take our chances with the finish next time round. We decided to push on, eventually becoming a pair. Hitting the climb the final time the chasers were closing and the Omagh lad pulled clear of me. I just managed to hold on and take 7th!! Hardly the stuff of legend, but something to show for a day’s travel and some points on the board.