‘Twas the Sunday before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Gizmo Grylls had awoken, with only one thought,
This was the day, when the people of Carrick would say,
Gizmo Grylls rode his bike, to victory today’
The day began much like any other winter Sunday. Rain beating against the window as breakfast was wolfed down. A nine AM roll out saw a group of almost fifty leave Carrick on Suir heading for Clonmel and then a split would leave just eighteen continue on around the infamous ‘Ballymac loop’. Given that it was the last Sunday before Christmas and the upcoming regular version of a St. Stephens Day Massacre, there were a few bodies hoping to lead the way across the line into Carrick and secure the Christmas victory as the Winter World Championships draw to a close.
Heading towards Colligan I found myself on the front alongside Dukie ManSheabo. As we chatted away we discovered that we both had a thing for latex gloves. Never leave home without them said Dukie. He slit a tyre down in Kerry last week and the latex glove was able to perform as a Tyre Gator and allow him to finish out his spin. Another advantage is when a puncture arrives on wet days your hands stay clean as do all other contact points after all the grit and grime is taken care of by the gloves.
A tailwind pushed us on towards the Pike and it was Postman Paul and Red Alert who led the way up the climb at a very brisk pace. Postman Paul is following directly in the wheeltracks of his late father ‘Ryaner’ who was patron, mentor and inspirational leader of the group for over thirty years. The front of the group was always a place where you worked hard to Ryaner, and he would be very happy to see his son carrying on that mantle.
Down the other side and a few feathers were now being ruffled. Gizmo Grylls was spending time at the front and was not satisfied with the work rate of his rival the Magician who was extolling the virtues of a Pioneer lifestyle having tried to contribute to the Guinness workers Christmas bonus the previous night. Turns at the front were short and the back of the group was visited regularly. Turkeys O’Donnell was trying his best to keep order to the group as Garmins now read speeds of over fifty kph.
Up towards the Haysheds and the Magician was in and out of the saddle like Lannigans ball as the Boxer and Joe the pro drove it on beneath a large rainbow. Uncle Vinnie and AK47, who has just shot his way to the big leagues with NRPT for next season were relaxed looking behind. The Magician was now speaking of seeing stars instead of rainbows but was still managing to hang on over the top.
Postman Paul did another big turn approaching Daruas cross where the King launched his initial attack. Fearing another Poggio style disappearing act, I clipped across after him. Just as I bridged the gap I was surprised to see the apparently fatigued Magician on my wheel, closely followed by Gizmo Grylls. The Cat and mouse was about to begin, until last weeks victor the Bullet Bennett went to the front and did a massive turn which was basically a 5k lead out. If Bora Argon are looking for a new lead out train for their top sprinter next season they need look no further than across Sams Christmas Dinner table.
Joe the pro was strong and attacked over the Col de Curragduff before being reeled in by the newly re-named Big Mick who was riding as strong as Big Mig Indurain in his heyday.
The gallop started as Joe the pro lead it out followed by Red Alert, Dukie ManSheabo, the surprisingly rejuvenated Magician and Gizmo Grylls. A slight veeration in lines as we overtook the one man lead out train which pushed me in pretty close to him managed to offer the hustle and bustle of a Tour sprint, so that is another box ticked for Bora Argon in their search for a new lead out man.
The line closed in and to the dismay and horror of the hard working Gizmo Grylls it was the reincarnated Magician who managed to steal victory on the line from the motoring Dukie ManSheabo with Red Alert taking a fine third.
The last Sunday before Christmas is a big one to win. It sets the victor up for a big start to the festivities and celebrations. By pulling victory out of the hat of defeat, the Magician gave an intensive course on tactics and bluffing to the man who craved victory most on the day.
However, within minutes of crossing the line the Christmas spirit had returned and all was well once again in the town of Carrick on Suir.
Happy Christmas everyone,