Ellen Mc Dermott travelled to Holland recently for three back to back Road Race events. The Women’s Commission were delighted to support her efforts , read her Race Report below:
The Good the Bad and the Famous
Second time in the Netherlands for yours truly, and to kick off the ten day trip I had three back to back races, let me tell you a little something about them:
The Bad — Volta Limburg Classic
Coming into this after only racing two UK races was in hindsight a bit daft, it was a spring classic, to be televised [as snippets during the men’s race] and had a couple of pro teams present and accounted for. The other thing about this Belgian Beauty was that it was hilly, 114k. Great big bunch on the start line and and then when the gun went it was just fast! And the amount of road traffic in the first 10k was boggling. Having been out of the big bunch peloton for so long I was honestly a little confused, and could never find my way through the bunch where I knew I had to be when it came to the hills. Over the first climb with the peloton strung out it was hard work holding the wheel and with some tricky decending before ramping up again. All tgether after that first big lap and then on to the smaller ones. more hils but I didn’t have as much slipping room and this time was oot the back with a group of 9 or 10. We worked as much as we could to get back on and could see the back of the convoy for a painful amount of time before the time gap officials called our race finito… Refelections on that — woefully underprepared for such a monument and racing it as a solo rider sans team is always a bt daunting.
The Good — Wielerronde van Oploo
A flat Dutch criterium raced over over 60k on a 3.5km circuit. Small bit of paved cobbles thrown in and Baltic conditions equals a very happy Ellen. Also I had a deal with my Dutch host, Harrie that I was never to be outside the top 20. I had a long drive home yesterday to think about what the hell was wrong with my bunch skills and as soon as the race began in Oploo it clicked. And it was beautiful, picked up a few prime points along the way, legs felt floaty and if I hadn’t been a bit of a girls blouse at the last corner I might have got a bit closer to the podium. But i’ll settle for 6th.
The Famous — Ronde van Gerwen
“Anna van der Breggen is aon the start list!….. And so is Annemiek van Vleuten!” Nah, they’ll never ride, VdB had a 27 solo time trial yesterday on her way to the win at the Tour of Flanders and VV dislocated her shoulder is a crash in the same race, surely they wont show up to a midweek crit. “Ah, but they get paid quite a lot of start money you see…..” crap! Well they both showed up, along with Puck Moonen and well what an interesting race that made. Same deal as above but a crazy arrow head route around the final 500meters on cobbles, which were threatened with rain at one point, made for an energy sapping course. Three club riders got way practically from the gun and after a little while VdB just sort of sat on the front and slowed the pace down and nobody came around her… Well I obviously had no idea what that was in aid of and wanted to do something daft so off I went, that spurred a flurry of attacks which kept the peloton strung out. At one point I was on the the afore motioned Olympic champs wheel she flicked her elbow and to keep up the theme of being daft I came through, only to be left there while gold bands goes and attacks with Rainbow band in her wake, well I never! Only Moonen was able to go with them at that point and off they went in chase of the early escapees. That I’m told made for a very interesting spectacle which is why I’m sure they are paid such good start money. the spoils for 6th place and down were picked up by the rest of us, my legs finally gave way in the last lap and was only good for 14th. But what a race!
So grateful to be helped out on this occasion by the Women’s Commission of Cycling Ireland, and with the backing of my Team making it all the more easier.
(Photo from Ronde van Gerwen by Marcel Van de Meulengraaf)