The 2016 club league of Scott-Orwell Wheelers kicked off on Thursday with the Pine forest prologue TT. This was on the same course as has been used for the past three years, and has proven a popular starting point.

The course is just short of 5km, and rises gradually for the first 4km of that before kicking up sharply in the final kilometre. The Pine forest prologue TT was also the first counting round of the BAR (Best All Rounder) competition based on the league time trials, so effectively a time trial league within the league. This will be based on the average speeds from all of the club TTs so with a view toward the BAR, it would be important not necessarily to ride a fast time, but not to post a poor time. Placings (points) were available for the 6 fastest riders in each ability group. Valdis Andersons won the time trial and topped the scratch riders category, Eoin Byrne was the best of semi-scratch 7 seconds down and took 4th place too, Colin Caesar was the best of semi-limit 47 seconds down and Kevin Sammon was the best of limit finishing one minute down.

Charlotte Stevens (photograph with thanks to Fergal O'Sullivan)

Several new course records were set: Philippe Bourdarias chipped 1" off his own 2014 Vet's record with a time of 8'54." Aideen Keenan likewise took 6" off her own 2014 Women's record for 9'38." Eoin Byrne took 48" off Conor Murnane's 2014 Junior record for 8'50." Tadhg Fitzsimons took 4'12" off Uisneach Sheridan's Under 14 record for 10'49." Best of the lot was Ruairi Byrne who too 8'50" of Cathal Keogh's Under 12 record with a time of 12'35".

Valdis Andersons

It was a lovely Thursday evening, excellent weather for this time of year and well suited for a time trial. The complete opposite of what it was in Kerry last Saturday. After the unfortunate DNF there due to hypothermia I was a bit unsure how the legs were going to feel when asked to go flat out. I got a good warmup by cycling to the venue but I almost missed my start slot. Though that might have played in my favour as I had no time to get cold while waiting for my start.

  • T-30sec: hasty unwrapping of thermal layers
  • T-15sec: panicky attempts to clip in while Eric tries to hold me and my bike steady
  • T-5sec: adjusting hand position to drops
  • T-5sec: adjusting hand position to drops
  • T-4,3,2,1, GO!

Immediately it's clear I'm in the wrong gear, shift up, keep going. The aim is to hold 400W, eyes are tearing up rapidly from the brisk wind in my face. I can't see the numbers on my Garmin anymore, going by feel it is then. Lots of shifting for the ups and downs on the first part of the route. Catch a glimpse of the power number on a down stretch, 258W. What's that?! Drop a gear and go harder! Feeling the burn in my lungs and legs are about to quit on me. That false flat with 1k to go makes my eyes tear up even more, it's not just the brisk wind anymore causing it. Sharp left hander, I'm almost there, gentle right, drop a gear and keep accelerating the finish ramp looks worse than it is. Done.

Valdis Andersons during the effort (photograph with thanks to Fergal O'Sullivan)

Faded a good bit towards the end and fell a good bit short of the target watts (363W) so a lot of work still to be done before end of May. Was a good bit surprised at my result and delighted as well. Huge thanks to all the marshals and organisers for a great night of racing.


Orwell League R1: Pine Forest TT (31/3/2016)

1 Valdis Andersons (S)    08:43
2 Brian McNally (S) 08:45
3 Brian McArdle (S) 08:48
4 Eoin Byrne (SS) 08:50
5 Eric Downey (S) 08:52
6 Philippe Bourdarias (S) 08:54


1 Valdis Andersons    08:43
2 Brian McNally 08:45
3 Brian McArdle 08:48
4 Eric Downey 08:52
5 Philippe Bourdarias 08:54
6 Freddie Stevens 09:01


1 Eoin Byrne       08:50
2 Sean Murnane 09:07
3 Stephen Rowan 09:24
4 Eoin Ahern 09:29
5 Raffaele Bonadio 09:33
6 Aideen Keenan 09:38


1 Colin Ceasar        09:30
2 David Bradley 09:51
3 Greg O'Donnell 09:54
4 Martyn Holmes 10:05
5 Garret Connolly 10:07
6 John Blennerhassett 10:11


1 Kevin Sammon    09:43
2 Brendan Kenny 09:45
3 James McCluskey 09:48
4 Bernard Sellars 09:53
5 Conor Dowler 09:58
6 Ronan Fanning 10:00


1 Breda Horan (L)    10:30
2 Yvonne Doran (L)   10:50
3 Rachel Glendon (L) 10:50