Round 4 of the Munster Cyclo Cross league brought us to the East Cork Adventure Centre just outside of Midelton, De Ronde were this week’s host club. This race was always going to be a hard one for me as I had a good friend’s wedding the day before,(need to get my excuses in early) I was home at 1am and up at 7am to load the car with the Verge stand to be on the road for 8am so I could set up on the course in plenty of time. I had seen pictures of the race De Ronde had run in January and it looked like a mud bath but thankfully this time the Irish weather gods were on their side and the course looked in good nick. As we were based in an adventure centre we had some cars to ride around in the paintball section which was a new experience!
There was a good field of 45 in the A race, it was great to be gridded on the front row with series leader Matt Slattery, Richie Barry, Richie Meas and Trevor Woods. Rcihie Maes and myself tussled for the hole shot into the first corner but Richie edged it in the end, I was kinda thinking to myself the legs feel ok, then we hit the climb after the finish line and half way up it my legs turned to lead as about 5 riders passed me, I was in a serious case of reverse only 60 seconds into the race!!! The top section of the course was through the paint ball area which was very muddy then we had a small descent to a few barriers and a twisty section I was now sitting in 6th and the guys ahead were going away from me. As we hit a long gradual descent my legs opened up and I overtook Mark Shannon and Richie Barry to go up to 4th, Simon Ryan had joined the Killarney duo of Richie and Matt out front. Throughout the second lap the status quo was maintained as we couldn’t quiet join up to the front, Richie and myself were working well together but it was a slow chase, eventually on the 3rd lap we made the junction, Matt had flown the coup and was riding away for the win.
I was nailed at this stage from riding full gas to close the gap, as we entered the straight leading up to the finish line I was in second place but was swinging I swung over as I was not going to ride into the head wind, we now had a group of five with the two Richie’s, Simon and Trevor Woods had made it across. I went to the back of the line as we went up the hill and said I would try to play it cool to see if I could recover and then race for 2nd. That plan lasted about 10 seconds, on the descent I was 5th in line with Trevor ahead of me, Trevor got his line horribly wrong and went left into the ditch instead of right where the rest of us were heading, I had to gas it to get back to Richie’s Barrys wheel he then fell off in front of me in the next corner I don’t know how I didn’t hit him. I got going and was replying Richies crash in my head when I nearly came off on the next corner.
At this stage Riche Maes and Simon had pulled 10 seconds ahead. Richie got back up to me and we started working together to try to catch the boys but we were loosing a bit of time to them, then with 3 to go my lights went out, Richie pulled away from me and there was no coming back. A lap later Trevor caught up to me and rode straight past, at this stage I was checking over my shoulder to see if I had enough of a buffer to stay where I was. Fortunately I did have and managed to trundle around the last couple of laps and hung on for 6th. Matt had stayed well clear for a nice win with Simon getting second and Richie Barry getting the last spot on the podium.
Well done to De Ronde for running a great event, as I was taking down my own stand after the race finished it was great to see an army of club volunteers clearing up the course it’s truly a team effort to put on a race like this. Thanks as always to Sean Rowe for coming to the event to take pictures Big thanks also to John McCarthy of McCarthy cycles who was this rounds sponsors of the Munster Support your local bike shop league. The next round is in Killarney on Saturday I hope to see you all there.