OldVelos –Earthquake TTT – Six men, seven bikes.

“Push on, push on” urged The Viscount Tom de Gribdaly, “only two more hills to go”. ‘Yeah right’ replied the unbelieving 6 man Oldvelos team, but nonetheless dug in, pushing and pulling through dips and bends of the Tallow-Dungourney road, keeping a close eye out for the famous shed from which our devil may care descent would plunge us towards Midleton and TTT glory…or at least coffee.

The Viscount kept the chaingang rolling “drill it, drill it” and we did – right in front of Sky television too. [Word has it coverage from our descent was sent straight to Geraint Thomas’ directeur sportif in Nice]. Then the Viscount’s chain ganged up on him as he drilled it right off the 14 cog and onto a sudden stop. With the end line so close a team mate got him up and going and pushed him old style back into gear and the pair caught the team making sure the 6th man over the line finished with a time that counted. However, Phil Cunningham’s Earth Quake team time trial is not so much about about winning, but about bragging, so the truth is this report should really finish here. . .

But a race is much more than that isn’t it? Our international team with riders as far away as Durrus, Kanturk and Dublin was the domestic equivalent of those old Tour de France international teams, cobbled together at the last minute in mismatching gear, language differences and dodgy management. The three Italians on the Team, Derry Bianchi Cadogan, Paul Colnago Birchall and Colinolmo [in the way you need only say Coppi to know who you’re talking about] were getting along famously, all bon homie except in Italian. The Ti Raleigh of the Viscount and Raleigh Panasonic of Barry Van der Mooney acknowledged each other with a hint of domestic rivalry. Meanwhile Holdsworthy of the team management just looked on happily, if vaguely.

Shortly after the manager was busy introducing the teammates and presenting their team tactics when he was interrupted by the race starter. 10,9,8 “Single file chain gang” 7,6,5 “go like the clappers” 4,3,2 “are you listening down the back?”1. Too late, we were off, passing the flag of race patron Culann, with a wave and smile and a “what have I got myself into” from down the back. It didn’t take long for the team to realise they needed to work as a team and as they flew through Castlemartyr and Killeagh the team tactics came clearer and quicker (with the exception of passing the Midleton ladies team when the three Italians went off the back. Typical!) Regrouping and sheltering each other from the wind, the unit climbed and worked well for each other up and over the bypass and down to the roundabout.

Youghal –Tallow is always memorable except when it’s forgettable. I think I’d have preferred it to be forgettable, but I’m also thankful. Good memories: team camaraderie, a few jokes and “drilling it” with de Gribdaly and co into Tallow; Forgettable Derry saying “I think there’s something wrong with my cranks”, and working on the side of the road to refit the Fixed Cup as the Viscount, Colinolmo and Paul rode away up the road; Thankful ringing Jim in Killarney asking for Donagh’s number in Midleton and getting Donagh on the phone “we need a new old bike Donagh, can you help?”. Again the team regrouped and really drilled it into Tallow when eventually team management let them in on the secret of the left hand turn into Dungourney. Hail Mary make these brakes work.

The team heaved itself toward Leahy’s farm, working corner to corner, when the approaching Garda car shot past us. We were in trouble alright and we knew he’d turn to come after us. ‘No sooner said than Donagh’ came past us again, parked up, blue lights flashing and pointed a Birmingham Small Arm (BSA) in our direction. ‘Looking for a bike lads?’ The Bianchi was jettisoned, Derry taking the Holdsworth and team management got what he deserved…a single speed to ‘’push on, push on’’ all the way home. Six men, seven bikes – the first ever Oldvelos Team raced the Earthquake Team Time Trial and drank their coffee in aid of Culann wants to Walk.

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