3 weeks ago I’ve completed the Bobby Crilly Memorial Road in Hannahstown near Belfast, a race on the way to a family BBQ – Ryan has a nice report up about the race course on his blog about it. The special thing about this race is that it had a long uphill finish, not very common in Irish road races. I (the only lady) started with the Cs. I had to put in just as much work as the guys in the pace line that formed at the start and kept going for almost a whole lap and so it was hard from the start.
It was made even harder when I stayed too far back in the peloton and the people in front of me (and therefore me too) got dropped from the peloton twice (you'd think I’d learn....). Both times I chased hard to catch back on and I was lucky both times: the first time some others who were dropped and some B riders who had caught up to us now all chased together and we got back on. The second time was a lot harder, I chased and chased and chased by myself and the distance seemed to get smaller and smaller but I just couldn’t do it. I was about to give up, when, out of nowhere another rider appeared and let me hang on to his wheel. He probably also remembered that in this part of the 3 lap course the peloton always slowed down a bit (or maybe he just felt sorry for me). He did all the work and it seemed to be working: lucky for us, we caught up with the line of cars that were caught behind the peloton, and were able to draft off them. Then, one by one, we worked our way forwards in the "wind shadow" of the cars, until finally we caught back on. Phew – that was lucky!
Needless to say, my legs were bust by the time we started on the long hill. I wasn’t able to keep the whole way with the front group (now containing also the A and B riders), who started upping the pace a lot. The group fell apart and strung out and at that stage my aim was only to finish. I wasn’t the only one suffering though and was probably adding to their pain when they saw themselves being overtaken by a girl ;) I tried to give one “the look”, but I failed and it was more of a grimace. I’m happy though that while I overtook a few more men on the way up, none overtook me :). Not sure where I came, but I think most people in front of me were A and B riders and only a few Cs. I was in about 5min after Ryan, who had come 2nd.
Pictures from here courtesy of Marian Lamb.
Results and report can be found on Cycling Ulster.