The conditions could have been better, but that didn’t hinder or stop the Louth Mountain Bike Championships from taking place last week.
16 riders signed on for the race and unlike the MTB League races, when it comes to the Championship race there are no handicaps and no intervals between riders.
The course stood at just under 15km, with over 550m of climb, comprising of an initial fire road section leading to the open mountain, a mixture of all terrains, vicious climbs and fast flowy descents made all the more difficult by the new water hazards which had formed, finishing with a technical forest section and a 600m fire road sprint to the finish.
From the off, club rider Ray O’Shaughnessy took the lead with visiting rider Conor Kavanagh sitting close to his back wheel and club rider Michael Wilson moving into 3rd place after the first 800m of racing.
The positions of the three riders didn’t change through the course of race, Conor losing some time on Ray through a mechanical and one or two lapses of concentration resulting in him having two minor crashes and Michael had to stop on several occasions to fix direction arrows which had been disturbed by the weather or wildlife.
Meanwhile the three ladies were battling it out tooth and nail. Club riders Sandra O’Hagan and Sarah Fagan and visiting rider Meave Baxter were all looking for the honours on the night, changing positions several times during the course of the race.
A couple of minor crashes by Sandra allowed Meave to increase her lead at the front with Sarah moving down into 3rd place, positions not changing for the remainder of the race.
All riders finished and met up in the Lumpers Bar, sharing stories of near misses and not so near misses over a coffee or a pint. John from the Lumpers did the honours of presenting the medals and the Louth Championship jersey to the ladies and Debbie Lundy (race marshal and photographer extraordinaire) presented to the men. A huge thanks goes to Fra Murphy, Debbie Lundy and John Grifferty for timekeeping and marshalling, without the volunteers that do these jobs, races just wouldn’t happen. Thanks to John from the Lumpers for the use of the piping hot showers and the lounge to carry out the presentations. And finally to the riders, without you, there’d be no race and no craic.
Round 8 of the Cuchulainn MTB League will be on Tuesday July 9 at 7pm. All visiting club riders and guests are welcome to compete as long as they hold a current (2013) Cycling Ireland Licence.