Ladies News: Ravensdale circuit

By Rosemary Gibson.

A lovely warm, breezy evening greeted the riders for tonight's round 6 of the Bike Station League, with two laps of the Ravensdale circuit followed by a stingy last drag into the wind up to the finish at the Sportsman's / Rosewood Country Club.

All the ladies were in group one tonight, as was half of Group 2 it seemed... Word had got out about the lovely relaxing steady pace in Group 1 and our unhurried tea stops with scones, jam and fresh cream. (Either that or we're just super popular and everyone wants to hang with us?) So the ranks of Group 1/2b were swelled to a swarming eight, and we were duly punished by the handicapper for having the audacity to start with more than three people in the group ("there's at least twenty of them!".)

What a novelty! Actual other riders to share the work with and not sit out in the wind all night. Heaven!

We flew down the hill to the Ballymac and round the corner to the flattish section which leads to Fitzpatrick's. The road surface here is the Cooley version of pavé, and it pays to choose your line carefully. As we went to Bellurgan, there were some truly awful sounding noises coming from someone's bike, and Mairead Holden fell victim to a pothole - induced mechanical. Just as Jason Boyle remarked that it was one down and seven left, his tyre exploded with such a loud bang that we all nearly jumped off our bikes. Two down and six remaining. I was trying to not think about that John Wayne shooting the cyclists video as we regrouped and sped on to the turn at Fitzpatrick's. I think we might have lost another one or two there so (surprisingly for me anyway) we stuck together up the hill to the Lumpers.

Unfortunately in our enthusiasm we overshot the turn to Crilly's a bit but turned quickly enough once we realised our error. There's another tight little climb up that road too which you forget about, but the following wind helped us up. Back down the hill a second time and round again, and although we lost Marcella Leonard for about half a lap she deserves a mention for really digging in and getting back on to the group after a heroic solo effort up past Lumpers.

We were caught by groups two and three at Fitzpatrick's the second time, which only left the group 1 points available.

So there were five of us going down to the roundabout for the last time, Edwin from Ardee CC started to stretch out a bit of a lead, and behind there was a battle of the ladies between current women's leader Rosena Lynch of Cuchulainn CC, Louise O'Hagan of Team Inspired Cycling, Marcella Leonard of Ardee and Cuchulainn CC's Rosemary Gibson all the way up the last climb. Rosie jumped at the 1km marker and opened up a lead, Louise followed and Rosemary and Marcella were chasing. Plenty of grit and determination out there tonight as no one was prepared to give it up without a fight. As the finish line approached, Rosie couldn't just hold on and Rosemary sprinted past Louise and Rosie to take second in the group and first lady home.

It was a great night's racing on a tough circuit, well done to all involved! 

Next up, the Louth Road Race Championships over the same course. Who will take the red Louth Champion jersey next Thursday?


Photo credit Caroline Kerley.