About 20 racers signed on for the Club Champs 2016, less than previous years but a lot of the usual crew are either training for an Ironman, a marathon/snickers or decided not to race after a long hard season.
Due to the low numbers signed on a smaller than usual scratch group of Richard Meaney, Aaron Doherty and I had a deficit of 13 minutes to make up on a front group that would arguably put in the best ride of the day.
At the prompt of our Grand Marshall for the day PatJoe “Mr Chairman Sir” O’Connell we set off after those ahead. We kept a constant pace out to Louisburgh and 5 km the far side of town we had caught all those ahead except for Mary Daly, Eimear Harrison and Mark Gannon. Aaron decided to thin the group we were in down a bit as the chase had by now stalled, so he set off up the road. Richard and myself followed and once again the 3 of us set off in pursuit if group 1.
The previously mentioned trio were spotted up ahead on the descent at Killary and were finally reeled in on the Leenane-Westport road. Due to the hard effort they had put in they would lose contact with the Richard, Aaron and I on one of the many drags on that road. From there on it was a case of knowing a podium place was assured but the top step was all that the 3 of us were after.
Richard was the 1st to reach out for victory when he launched an attack about 3 km from the finish. Aaron pulled this back so I decided I’d have a pop as soon as they eased off. I got a gap and pushed on. My gap grew initially and my belief soared, “maybe in can do this” I thought. Then Richard decided he might like to win and put in a concerted effort to chase me down. The metres were ticking by but not fast enough for my liking. With about 600 metres to go he was back within 20 metres and I started to think “ah sure 3rd won’t be so bad”. I started my sprint, if that’s what you’d call it, at this point and the gap started to grow slightly again. Somehow with legs, lungs and even arms on fire I crossed the line ahead of a fast finishing Richard, with Aaron just behind in 3rd.
Thanks to all who helped out on the day and all season, without you guys no racing would be possible. Thanks to the general public who, for the most part, are very tolerant and reasonable when faced with cyclists on the road.
A special Thank You to the McNally Family for their continued support of this event and the wonderful prize they provide for the winner.