Wexford Training Weekend Report
by Brian Kilbride
We had a well attended weekend of cycling and socializing down in Carrigbyrne, this weekend gone by with 18 down for the Saturday spin
11 for the Saturday Night and the hard core of 6 who headed out into the wind and cold on the Sunday morning.
Saturday was a stunning day. All assembled in our Wexford bolt hole at
10 am on the Saturday, in slightly over cast conditions. Bikes were put together, and the group assembled for the briefing. A slice of apple sponge, almond cake, tea brack, tea and coffee could be devoured guilt free by those conscious of getting down to their racing weight.
The touring group had their route outlined – an out and back run to the Hook Head Lighthouse – and Brian and Andy vowed to look after the map reading and general guidance. The faster group received a review of the finer points of group riding in the hope that the friskier elements would come to heel.
We set off after the obligatory team pictures and the two groups headed out at a nice gentle saunter through the warren of small highways and byways till we got on the main road to Campile. The groups split and the lead group pushed on to Arthurstown and the first view of the coast. The Hook Lighthouse was silhouetted in the early morning sun. We couldn’t resist the road round the coast to Ballyhack but were too proud to turn around on our arrival and had to head up the 19 percent gradient that climbs like a staircase up from the harbour.
Round we went to Duncannon and out onto the rolling roads of the peninsula catching up with the touring group minus their two leaders – Brian having separated himself from his flock through Campile and Andy heading out to locate him. Jess, Rob, Paula and Robbie pressed on rudderless but strangely on the pre-ordained route while Brian and Andy phoned around for directions.
At the Hook, the tourers stopped for a coffee while the rest of us headed on past Baginbun, to Fethard on Sea, Saltmills and along the Bannow Bay to Wellingtonbridge. The first of five punctures was suffered and cost the group about 50 minutes in total of daylight which could have usefully been spent downing pints and supping chowder in Kehoe’s.
The warm sunshine and unseasonably mild 14 degree weather made it almost a pleasure to be stopped at the side of the road expending CO2 canisters. Five minutes out and five minutes back were the strict instructions for the rest of the group and this was adhered to for the most part. A cracking Bohereen from Carrick-on-Bannow to Duncormick allowed the classicists to stretch their legs. On the Road to Kilmore, mutiny ensued and with the fading light, the group leader was threatened with severe physical consequences were the group not too turn around and head homeward in the fading light.
Food as running short, bottles were empty and spirits were sagging as it became a little overcast and a few degrees cooler. A garage outside Ballymitty was a welcome sight and gave us the chance to clean our bikes and load up on coke before launching ourselves at the last leg back to Wellingtonbridge and up the heavy roads back to Carrigbyrne.
The finishing sprint up the hill to the 100kph sign was taken from 300m out by Barry who lead out and was never threatened.
A shattered group of riders arrived in and refueled on soup and tea and cakes. A quick spruce up and a trip across the road for the France Wales match and a nice chance to undo some of our good work with a few pints.
Eleven were down for the evening for a very social dinner and learned discourse. Brendan drove the kitchen and got it all together. Tag bol, salad, garlic bread and then some of Bren’s lemon tart and chocolate cake washed down with only the most necessary amounts of wine and beer.
Sunday morning was rank- 6 degrees, wet and windy. A hardcore of six of us got out to see just how wet it was. Out through Old Ross to New Ross and on up the hill to the Rower, Graiguenamanagh with great views of the Barrow and Blackstairs. We turned for home over a lump course to Inistioge and down the Nore Valley and back to New Ross before a few final climbs on the way home. 70 km on the day and a great end to a very successful weekend.
Again, our sincere thanks must go principally to Dr. Bart Curtis, cycling patron and all round good egg, for very generously hosting the club this weekend.