Tuesday - Back to Spinning class. I had grand thoughts of cycling up, but I was knackered after the Glending spin the previous day. Had a really really hard session. It made me realise how much more of these types of training sessions I need in the weeks leading up to the start of the NPS...
Wednesday - Paddy's day and totally spent after the previous 3 days efforts. So I decided to skip the road race in Dunboyne and head off with the lads from the club for the craic around Djouce. It was good fun - plenty of thrills and spills. Glad I dumped the road race.
Thursday - Back to work after a week off 5 straight days off - arragh. Drove in as needed a break from all this biking activity.
Friday - 1 day is plenty break-time! Back on the bike into work, did my usual spin via Slade. Going to use the climb from the Castlewarden junction to the Slade entrance for testing. Its approx 6.25km's and it gives you 221 metres of climbing, with the gradient hitting 14% at points, so a good tester. My best time (set in this run) was 18:04, so getting under 18 minutes is the big goal for me.
Saturday - Disaster, brought the PH out to Glending and ripped the rear Nobby Nic within 10 mins - went flat as a pancake almost instantaneously. Needless to say I was ragin'. Called it a day as had crappy nights sleep previously and just needed to relax. Was in bed at 9.30pm :)
Sunday - Decided last minute to do the Bohermeen road race. Not sure why I decided to go for it - the road quality was supposedly not up to much (which turned out to be somewhat true) and it was flat as a pancake which would almost ensure a bunch sprint. The only reason I ended up going was because I agreed to give Mel a lift so there would be no backing out :)
We got up there for about 12 and got signed on. While in the toilet of the pub I overheard a competitor and paramedic talking about the race last year and the number of accidents that occurred. Not exactly what I needed to hear.
There was a huge turn out of riders and I was glad to hear the A4's were getting their own race. I did a quick warm-up on some of the roads being used and the were very narrow and rough in places - and on the aptly named 'Bog road', it almost disappeared for 50 meters.
They sent off the A2's, and A3's ahead of us with a 4 min gap between each group. We were up next and rolled out at a nice pace down the bog road. Again, despite getting close to the front at the start, a messy clipping in moment had me down towards the middle/back for the first few Km's. This meant a long battle to work my way back up front. Eventually we got onto a wider, smoother road and I got up to the front of the bunch and pushed it on a bit - same 'tactics' as in the Newbridge GP - just out there and get some exercise :)
Despite a few guys who were eager to get a break going, and a few attempts being made, none stuck, which was annoying and I had put a couple of efforts in myself to string things out and get a few people to pop out of the group. After a lap and a half of that I was pooped and dropped back into the group for a lap before pushing back up to the front for the last lap. Things started to get hectic towards then end. I heard one crash behind be with about 4 km's to go. I came very close myself to coming off with about 1km to go when a fella grabbed a huge amount of brake right in front of me. But luckily I remained upright and was in the top 20 with under a km to go. I was on the outside (waaaay on the right hand side of the road to boot) and we were coming up to a left hander on a slight incline. All of a sudden a gap appeared on outside of the bend as all the other riders pushed in to the right to find the shortest route around the bend. My fear of getting clobbered before XC season started disappeared as I pegged it around the outside and got to the front and starting sprinting. I had not put much thought into the sprint tactics as I never thought I'd be in this situation. My problem was I went all out with about 400 meters to go and when we reached 200 meter marker I was spent. About 10 or 15 guys blasted through and I just rolled over somewhere in the top 20.
I did enjoy it and was glad to have did the race. If I had the time I would do a few more as they can be fun once you stay up the front. However, they can also be pretty dangerous also and the finish of the A3 race proved with 6 guys going down hard. Pics here.
Plenty of other mountain bikers out - Cait, Richie Felle, Les, the Epic roadies etc - all made it around safely too.
Monday - Lashing rain, leg sore, drove in to work - nuff said.