With the Rás Tailteann dominating much of the headlines this week we remember that there was still other racing going on! We will have a Rás Special another time so for this weeks Racing Round Up we thank Barry Redmond for the IVCA write up and Barry Greene for the Clonmel 2 Stage GP report.
 
IVCA LEAGUE: Thanks to Barry Redmond
William Taking 2nd place

IVCA race 3 on Sunday was back to the Curragh circuit, which is definitely not flat! Orwell was represented by William Parnell and Barry Redmond for the 3 laps of a cool and windy circuit. The 'purple' riders were given a few minutes start on the 'blue' riders, but the chasers worked together fairly well to close down that gap after just 1 lap. The bunch stayed mostly together on the second lap, putting on a little pressure on each drag.

On the third and final lap, as the bunch approached Boston Hill, Paul Smith (Swords) and Kevin McFeely (Dublin Wheelers) drifted away from the front and then increased that gap going up Boston Hill. William Parnell and one other chased them up the hill, making 4 escapees in all although one punctured out later.

Indecision in the bunch and inability to get organised for a serious chase meant that the break stayed away to the finish. Even so, a high pace reduced the main bunch to about 6 riders sprinting it out for 4th place. William Parnell got a fine 2nd place for his efforts, and Barry Redmond slugged it out in the slimmed down bunch sprint to get 5th, just pipping Keith Lambourne (Laois) by less than a tyre's width.

Barry R winning the battle for 5th

In Race 1 it was a battle of attrition with racers dropping like flies on every lap. No points for the Orwell but we were well represented by Eddie Lynch, John Twomey and Terry Ferris.

Race 2 included the Tansey Trio of Paul, David and Orla as well as Ciara Kinch but unfortunately 12th was the closest Scott Orwell came - Ciara just out of the points.

 

CLONMEL 2 STAGE GP: Thanks to Barry Greene

Barry in action in Charleville last year
"How many points do you have??"
 
This urgent question was being asked by a small grizzled man in lycra standing beside me. Spoken with the insistence of a man looking to buy drugs, rather than awkwardly waiting in turn to use a foul smelling toilet in a rural GAA club - this was my introduction to A4 and the obsession with points. 
 
Every A4 race I went to would invariably involve a head-shaking conversation about the state of A4 and how dangerous, negative and slow it is. And of course, the urgent need to get points for the upgrade to escape! Several races into the season and I was mainlining the obsession - shaking my head, pursing my lips and complaining about A4.
 
After a few slow-motion, sportive type races, (Waller cup), I had worked out that I couldn't sprint, descend or corner. I started looking for tougher races to try to get a point or two. With this in mind, I decided to risk divorce and attempt the Clonmel 2 stage GP. Orwell was to be represented by Cahir O'Higgins, ex-club man Peter O'Toole, both of whom are A3 and myself, the only A4.
 
Leading up to the race for the past few weeks I had been having problems with the fancy electronic gears on my bike (Di2). The rear derailleur would randomly decide to stop working during races, only to start again 10 minutes later. I had dropped it in twice for repair to be told twice, solemnly, that yes it was fixed and yes, they were sure. At sign on I mentioned this to the organiser who replied "Di2 is the Devil's work". I agreed!
 
The Clonmel 2 stage GP is made up of Stage 1 - 4 laps of a lumpy 12.5km circuit, followed by Stage 2 - a 24km afternoon stage which culminates in an 8km climb.
 
Stage 1 is a lovely course, wide roads, good surface and not too technical. After one lap I was feeling good, sitting about 10 wheels back when my rear derailleur stopped again, only to wake up again a few minutes later. This went on for sometime. On the last lap it woke up briefly, shot up to the 28 sprocket and stuck there.  By now, I was spinning madly like a bloated force-fed Chris Froome, cursing the gleaming object of my affection, while one of the marshal's shouted advice from a car and fought back laughter at the state of me. Eventually, the derailleur decided to wake up again, though at this point I have been dropped so I had to sprint for a few hundred metres to get back on. We were then only 2km from the finish so I managed to work my way back up the depleted bunch and finished around 12th on the uphill finish.
 
After the race, between mouthfuls of cheese sandwich, my anxiety about the derailleur was picking up. At this point, a Di2 Shaman appeared, in the form of Cahir O'Higgins, who laid his hands on the bike, breathing sweet nothings while gravely intoning complex and expensive-sounding words like 'junction box'. While the bike did not respond at this point, later in the race it was so moved by Cahir's words that the derailleur started again, right at the foot of the climb.
 
The main event of stage 2 was a 8km climb at roughly 3%, the first 16km being rolling. The pace was quite strong from the start with flatlanders hoping to burn off climbing legs. Miraculously, my Di2 started to work again (having been stuck in the 15 sprocket) when we got to the foot of the climb, thanks to the Shamans' words, so I took this at as a signal to move up the bunch.
 
At about 3km to go the pace start to go up and the bunch started splitting, not feeling heroic at this point I just stayed towards the front as people peeled off. 1km to go the yellow jersey and another guy went for it, but I was too far back to get on so I simply went to the front and rode as hard as I could. I managed to hang on for 3rd which amounted to 3rd on GC. Not a bad day's work after all.
Barry "I must get a jersey for Presentations" Greene;)
Peter had finished a fine 10th in GC in the A3 but was disappointed to get boxed in. The Shaman (his work done) finished with the bunch.
 
I would definitely recommend this race for anyone looking for a tough mini stage race.
 
Video of the finish thanks to Clonmel CC
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