By Rosemary Gibson
Round 11 of the Bike Station League was to be the longest race of the season, with Oriel Park - Carrick- Ardee - Dorian's - Fane a 56 km mainly flat circuit with lots of small ups and downs and some nasty drags. Torrential rain, thunder, lightning and flooded roads near the start forced a route change for safety reasons, and the slightly shorter but fast 43km Fane - Dunleer - Dorian's - Ardee - Dorian's - Fane was adopted.
There were two ladies marshaling, Nuala O Donoghue and Johanna Rogan, (hopefully they had their life jackets and kayaks with them!) and four racing with Claire Ludlow in group two and Rosena Lynch , Mairead Holden and Rosemary Gibson in group one. The movement in the groups had changed the dynamic and both groups one and two fragmented early on as the stronger riders broke away, with Claire, Rosena and Mairead in the respective breakaways. Even the breakaway in group two broke up and single riders were forming loose opportunistic alliances across the groups in a bid to get home quicker. Group three was tight however and powered through the remnants to the line, picking up a few strays on the way.
It was very close in the ladies with a very strong ride from first lady home Rosena just pipping Mairead to tenth place overall, followed a few minutes later by Rosemary Gibson and a rapidly closing Claire Ludlow.
Well done all, it was a horrendous night for racing, and equally bad to marshal I am sure! Here's hoping for a return to summery weather for next Thursday's Louth and Leinster Time Trial Championships!
Photo Credit: Fran Hollywood