The 4 day Ras Mumhan International race got underway in Killorglin, Co Kerry on Good Friday with a 96 kilometre stage that included 4 categorized climbs. And in true Kerry fashion after a long dry spell the heavens opened for the race! Despite this the stage was one of the fastest in recent times with an average speed of nearly 44 kph. Dungarvan Cycling Club entered a team of 5 but unfortunately only 4 started as Daryl Kearns had to stay at home due to illness. Marc Flavin, John Hodge, Aidan Connell and George MacLeod took to the line ready for what lay ahead.The usual mad dash at breakneck speed out the Killarney road opened the stage with riders losing contact early on. From here on the race switched to narrow, rolling and heavy roads where the bunch was gradually whittled down to a much smaller group than the 178 that started. Several breaks formed and were caught before a large bunch of 82 riders reached Killorglin together for the tough finish up the main street.
Tom Mazzone (Isle of Man) took the stage from Matteo Ciagala (Aquablue) with Paudi O Brien (Killorglin) in 3rd. Marc Flavin and John Hodge finished in this bunch also. Aidan Connell came home in the 3rd bunch to finish with George MacLeod coming in in the next group. Such was the severity of the stage that 15 riders finished outside the time limit and are on their way home already!
Stage 2 of Ras Mumhan got underway at 11am on Easter Saturday from a dry but cold Listowel in Co Kerry. Ahead lay 130 tough kilometres with some 9 KOM climbs along the way. As with the first stage the pace was extremely fast in the early stages and just fast for the rest! A breakaway group of 5 contested the finish up the hill in Athea with Paul Kennedy (Newcastle West) taking the honours from 2016 An Post Ras stage winner Eoin Morton (UCD). Dillon Byrne (VCUK Velochampion) completed the podium in 3rd. Behind the race was in bits! There was another group of 7 some 20 seconds back containing stage 1 winner and yellow jersey Tom Mazzone (Isle of Man).
The main field lost considerable time on the 12 men who comprised the front and chase groups.The race split to pieces, with the third, small, group on the road losing more than two minutes and everyone else over three minutes behind. Over half an hour had passed before all riders were across the line! Marc Flavin and John Hodge came in 44th and 46th @ 3:22, Aidan Connell was 124th @ 20:11 and George MacLeod was 146th @32:11. Overall Paul Kennedy leads the race with Marc Flavin 46th @ 3:24, John Hodge lies 49th @ ST, Aidan Connell is 132nd @ 37:14 and George MacLeod is 151st @ 55:42. Stage 3 is the famous Valentia Island stage that zig zags and criss crosses the Kerry countryside around Waterville. 155 kilometres with a Cat 1 climb thrown in for good measure along with 6 others, you can be sure it will be a well strung out peloton that comes into the finish in Waterville.
Stage 3 of Ras Mumhan was 150 kilometres based out of Waterville. The longest stage of the race was always going to be the real turning point. And on a day when strong winds blew the peloton to bits, the time gaps were significant. Lawrence Carpenter of the Surrey League Team took the stage from Ronan McLaughlin (Aqua Blue Academy) and Keith Finn (Planet-X Bikes). John Hodge had a great day on the tough Kerry roads coming home in 21st place only 27 seconds behind the winner. Next home was Marc Flavin in 37th place @ 2:14. The race was blown apart so much that no group on the road had much more than 20 riders in it! Aidan Connell was next home in 110th place @ 28:44. Then we had George MacLeod coming in 136th @ 42:27. Super riding by all on a tough day. Overall with one stage remaining Dillon Byrne (VCUK Velo Champion) take over as leader by only 16 seconds from Ronan McLaughlin (Aquablue) with first stage winner Tom Mazzone (Isle of Man) only another second back.
John Hodge lies 23rd overall @ 3:44. Marc Flavin is 37th @ 5:31. Aidan Connell is 119th @ 1:05:51 and George MacLeod is 140th @ 1:37:52.
The final stage and it’s all to race for at the top of the GC so the day is sure to be a fast and attacking one. Its 115 kilometers with the first 75 kilometers mostly flat before the race switches to the laps of Killorglin that are covered 10 times with the leg bursting climb through the town each lap! We’ll have a report on the last stage next week.
The Ras Mumhan team would like to thank Dungarvan Nissan for the use of a car over the weekend and also Kevin Forde of Daybreak service station for filling the tank with petrol before they left. Two great supporters of DCC always, that’s again.
Sunday also saw racing in Rathdowney, Co Laois with Alan Landers and Davy Nugent making the trip up there. Alan was in the A3 race and it was a tough race made worse by cross winds and it was lined out a good few times with guys getting dropped early on. Alan managed to hang on and gave a great gallop to the line finishing outside the places but not far away. Well done Alan. Davy rode a good race with the A4’s finishing in the bunch at the end.
Last Tuesday saw the return of the midweek club spins. A good turnout of 15 headed into a tough headwind to Cappoquin. Some relief over Dromana and down to Villierstown. A pacy cruise over Aglish and back up to the Welcome Inn, all looking forward to the tailwind home. Many thanks to John Moloney for taking charge if this group. A flat 45 kilometers covered in 29.6kph. The Saturday club spin had 10 out covering 100 kilometres around the Dungourney route. After a quick separation on the climb into Dungourney the group were reunited by a flock of sheep and lambs on the road. Then came the coffee stop in Castlemartyr that was full of antics but all good fun. The spin home back the main road saw a lively pace but the group stayed together bar two veering off for the short cut home. Also on Saturday, five very sleepy-looking souls departed Dungarvan at the unearthly hour of 7am for the 250k DCC April Audax, taking in Kilmac, Carrick, Fethard, Urlingford, Cashel of the Kings, Cahir, Mitchelstown, Fermoy and Lismore. Special thanks to Emily’s Tearooms and Ladyswell for delicious much-needed sustenance along the way. A constant north-westerly breeze made the journey tricky and only relented after Mitchelstown. However there’s always a silver lining as the group were shunted home in double quick time. 252k @25kph in 10hours 5mins. Roll on the planned 300 in May.
On Sunday Group 2 went to Old Parish, Ardmore, Youghal, Killeagh, Mt Uniake, Inch, Tallow, Lismore and home. 6 in group as far as Youghal, where two turned right over Knockanore owing to time commitments, leaving 4 for remainder of spin. Around 110km covered at an average of 30kph with a few nice climbs along the way, where it felt as if wind was only behind group from Lismore home. The Back road group’s Easter spin saw 8 riders tackle a number of new roads again, which brought the group out to Coolnasmeer, Kilbrien, Knocknpower and down the black hill to Cappagh they then travelled along Canty to Knockmaun where a left turn took them onto the cat 1 climb of Barry ‘s boreen which drew a few beads of sweat and some choice words before the group headed for kielys cross and the welcome coffee in Ardmore, after the refreshments a lap of the village was tackled to enjoy the beautiful scenery on offer then they headed back towards home via Ballyquin beach, the back roads around Old Parish and the decent back into Dungarvan finishing with 1000m of climbing at an average speed of 27kph.
Group 3’s Easter Sunday spin was a hilly one. Flat to Cappoquin and then the long climb up over the Knockmealdowns. A fast descent to Newcastle and then pretty much up and down over to Clonmel and Ballymacarbry. The captain is always seeking out new roads and debuted some new inclines for the group to try out around Marlfield and Knocklofty. No bother to Group 3 who were all eager to get home for Easter eggs. The pace ratched up in Ballymac and the quick tempo was kept going down to Colligan and across the military road. 20 cycled the 95 kilometer route with just under 1000m of climbing in 27kph. Group 4’s Easter Sunday spin coincided with the very well-organised Suicide or Survive charity event from Leamybrien to Kilmeaden via Bunmahon. Only two weeks ago the group descended the hill to Bunmahon, and the ascent proved to be absolutely no problem. Following a banana-stop mix up in Kill the group got back together along the backroad to Kilmeaden and worked their socks off into the strong headwind to Leamybrien, where a great spread of food was on offer to all. Fast rollovers were the order of the day on this last 20k in order to keep a good rhythm, so it was no surprise that the group was joined by outsiders who saw the benefits of being safely sheltered. Many thanks to the organisers and the many stewards along the way. Afterwards the main group pushed on for home by Durrow, whereas the mountain goats opted for more headwind over the Maama Road knowing that the wind would be to their back from Beary’s Cross. Official spin distance 90 kilometers at 24.1kph. We wish our G4 contingent heading to the sunshine in Mallorca a safe trip and a wonderful cycling adventure.
8 cyclists took to road on Sunday with Group 23K leaving Dungarvan and heading for Lemybrien via Durrow. The group took part in the Mental Health cycle which headed back to Durrow and then onto Bunmahon through Kill and onto Kilmeaden where the group stopped for a short while . The group then headed for Lemybrien along the N25 for much needed refreshments. The group then headed for home via Durrow with 89 kilometers covered at 22 kph. Last Sunday saw 9 cyclists from Group 5 take part in the Mental Health and Suicide Awareness cycle; two of the group cycled from Dungarvan and the rest met them in Lemybrien for the start. 10am saw them on the road to Durrow, Bunmahon and Kill, where they had a welcome water stop after a few hills. They headed out again for Kilmeaden and the dreaded main road back. Sure enough a headwind greeted them and the Group split into small pockets using rollovers to get everyone back to Lemybrien safely. 56 kilometers (89 kilometers for our 2 hardy souls who cycled from Dungarvan) at 21 kph was a spin well done and for a great cause.