Returning again to Bellurgan Park for Round 4 of the Cuchulainn XC League. This weeks course consisted of the back end of the NPS course which took in the drop off, switch backs, berms and bridges. This course has very little recovery and even less opportunity to get a drink on the bike and what with the recent rainfall didn't help matters either; making the dry dusty trails of Thursday & Friday into a slippy leg sapping slog in some places. Another obvious downside to the mud was transference from the tyres to the obstacles like the bridges, rocks and roots which made for even careful negotiation. 4 laps in total, 7.6km and 204m of climbing. Photographs; thanks to Brian Mulligan.
This is the second week of handicapping and a dual race system and as previously stated it's impossible to get it right all the time, after all it is only a guide and individual performance on the day can be somewhat better or worse than the handicap applied. This was very true of last night as different riding styles had to be adopted to handle the slippery conditions.
Racing from the off was a battle for traction after the initial start along the U14 short straight, riders hit the first left hander and then into the first climb to the archway and on to the drop off. Last nights race wasn't about putting the watts down, it was a balancing act between power and control, too much power and you loose traction, too little and you're going nowhere fast. Liam Burns returning to XC racing on his new bike went off the line like something possessed hitting the first corner before the rest of the riders in his group had a pedal stroke in. This was to be the format for the rest of the race, there were a couple of challengers, namely Aaron McCann who unfortunately on the last lap climb dropped his chain and finished only 34 seconds behind Liam and Niall O'Flaherty who is the resident pocket rocket and relishes these conditions must be buying dodgy chinese rear mechs as this is the second week on the trot that he's DNF'd with the same problem. Racing wasn't quite so close this week, conditions wouldn't allow it; but with the first 9 riders in race 1 coming over the line within 3 minutes, it was close enough. Liam Burns taking the win from Aaron McCann rounding out 3rd was Andrew Meegan.
Race 2, PJ Hynes was well ahead of the chasing pack cruised in to take 1st place 11 minutes ahead of John Kane in 2nd and Paul Durnin rounding out 3rd.
Congratulations to the first 3 riders in each Race:
- Liam Burns
- Aaron McCann
- Andrew Meegan
- PJ Hynes
- John Kane
- Paul Durnin
More info: Full results here
As always a very well done to the rest of the field for racing in the slippery conditions.
We look forward to seeing you all next week for Round 5 where the league will be held on the open mountain.