Tour of Omagh presented by Omagh Wheelers and written by club member and participant Colin Abernethy.
I was contacted by Gavin from Cuchulainn Cycling Club late on the Tuesday night before the event. One of their riders was injured and couldn’t compete in the 3 day event. Having given Gavin a run down of my experience and abilities he was still keen to get me onboard. I knew it was going to be a tough 3 days with 4 events and it was!
The team was well organised and I immediately felt part of it. Pleasantries exchanged and numbers pinned on the jersey it was time for Stage 1. It was a nervous roll out and an even more nervous first few miles. 1st KOH came up and I lost contact with the main bunch. Having failed to get back on it was basically a solo effort to the finish line. I was 100th in GC out 110 riders. I was for quitting that night.
Stage 2 was TT in the morning. I managed to get my head sorted and made way down to Omagh again. It was a relatively short stage thankfully and headed back with the team into Enniskillen for a bit of rest and lunch. The rain was coming for Stage 3.
Stage 3 was going to be another tough one with 2 Cat 3 KOH’s plus the weather to add to it. I lost contact up the 1st KOH but this time managed to make it back to the main field as a few of us worked together this time. Was steady until the last climband lost contact again. 4 of us tried to work together until the end but we were all suffering in the rain and wind. 3 miles from the end my legs started working again and I made a bit of recovery to the line. After the 2 stages I managed to move up to 83rd in GC.
Stage 4 was tough with 3 KOH’s with, the last one a CAT 1 lasting 3 miles. When we got going I felt better than I thought I would have. Having kept a better position I was managing better up the 1st and 2nd KOH’s. Then the legs started to cramp. It was all I could do to keep the legs turning and get to the finish. Overall standing for the weekend was 80th. I can easily say I gave it all I had in every stage.
A big thank you for Cuchulainn Cycling Club and the team. The guys were fantastic and full of useful advice and encouragement. A special thanks to Alan and Josh for keeping us right all weekend and looking after us. I learned so much from them and the weekend as a whole. I’d like to thank the messages of support from my own club too, it made a big difference to me over the weekend as it wasn’t just a physical battle! Big thanks to Omagh Wheelers for such a well run event. It ran like a well oiled machine.
Knowing what I know now, I think another years racing in the legs would have helped. But then I wouldn’t have the experience and knowledge I have now. A great experience and looking forward to next year.