First win for Ucc Cycling Club
Last Sunday the 28th of November saw Eoin Ahern take the clubs first win in Cashel. Great achievement. Here is he’s report of the race:
“Last weekend saw storm warnings, hurricane force winds and torrential rain. This would be enough to keep most sane people well wrapped up in bed early on a Sunday morning, but I was having none of that. Instead, I threw my cyclocross bike in the car and set off for Cashel. The destination was a small farm just outside the town, with the magnificent Rock of Cashel casting its shadow from just a field or two away. Or it would have done so, on a half decent day. On this miserable day, however, I had come to test myself both physically and mentally in the Muddy Cup cyclocross race, organised by the Sundrive Track Team.
For those unfamiliar with cyclocross, imagine throwing knobbly tyres on a road racing bike and going flat out across a mix of gravel, grass and mud for an hour and you’ve pretty much got it. Add in a few obstacles which require you to shoulder your bike and run, and you’ve got the making of an incredibly intense, if somewhat insane, racing format.
As a newcomer to ‘cross racing (this being only my 4th race) with very little off-road experience of any kind, I was signed up for the B race. However, due to the inclement weather and a lower than expected turnout, it was decided to combine the A and B races. This meant we’d all be doing 6 laps of the course together (or one fewer if you ended up being lapped by the top dogs). The course started on the main road before climbing up a little hilly lane and diving down into the first of many muddy corners. The first lap is always manic, with everyone sprinting towards the front to avoid being caught behind the inevitable crashes. I got a decent start, narrowly avoiding a big pileup within the first few hundred metres. Luckily enough the rain stopped just before the race started, but so much rain had fallen in the previous 24 hours that there was almost nothing but mud and marshy grass the whole way around the course. It was a real slog, with very few opportunities to catch your breath. The mud totally sapped your energy, and after three laps I was in tatters! I had managed to work my way into the top ten though, so I wasn’t going to give that up without a fight.
The strong lads had long since disappeared over the horizon, but there were still plenty of battles going on for the minor positions. I managed to hold out until the end, despite taking a spill on a slippery off-camber corner on the second last lap. Although I wasn’t sure of it at the time, I rolled over the line 7th overall, and 1st in the B category. I was absolutely knackered, but really pleased with my performance (mostly because I had beaten a friend who’s a far better bike handler than me!). Thankfully there was a hose to wash the bike down after the race, and a hot shower for myself – a rare treat at these events! A tough but rewarding day out, and I know that there wasn’t a hope in hell that I’d have gone out on the bike in that weather otherwise. At least the conditions can’t be any worse for the Leinster Championships in Swords this Sunday!” (photos courtesy of Sean Rowe)