The rising star in the Planet X stable, Ryan Mullen travelled to the Emerald Isle to compete in the first ever edition of the Nenagh Classic.
Riding his off-the-peg Planet X N2A, Ryan made it four out of four in 2012 with another great winning ride.
Ryan took the ferry over on Friday evening to make up part of the Cycling Ireland development team. Saturday saw some pretty tough training in windy and rainy conditions followed by the 104km hilly road race on the Sunday morning.
Here's what Ryan had to say: "It was a fantastically run race, one of the best i've taken part in. The development team and I were really well catered for in the hostel we stayed in and the welcome we got from everyone was superb.
"The race was tough (to put it politely!). There was just under 1000m of climbing on proper 'classic' climbs with gradients ranging from 10 - 20% on some hills. I was under strict instructions from the Head Coach, Frank O'Leary to not go from the gun, like I did in February in the Traders Cup in Dundalk where i spent 60 miles off the front only to be caught with 10k to go. I was told to see how things turned out after a few of the climbs and to keep my powder dry for as long as I could and then make my move about 30k from the finish.
"When I went, I wasn't really too committed to it. i just put in a small dig up one of the hills about 17 miles in, looked back and had about 75m of a gap. I waited up a little bit so my team mate Daniel Stewart could get across to me so we could work together to establish as bigger lead as possible. And so that I wouldn't get in to too much trouble with Frank from totally disregarding what he'd told me to do!
"We achieved a gap of around a 90 seconds by the half way point but Daniel faded a little bit. I waited for as long as I could but I didn't want to risk losing the gap we'd already made so I pushed on.
"The miles were ticking by nicely until i came back round to the headwind, i was holding a 2 minute advantage, or at least i thought I was. I wasn't given much information from the lead car and no one was telling the team car either so I just had to assume the rest of my team mates were doing a good job behind.
"I felt really good up until the last climb (3.5 km with an average of 16%) but cramped severely after I descended down from it so I had to back off a bit for a few kilometres. The team car supported me a good bit and gave me a fresh water bottle when I needed it.
"The last 10k really hurt me. The head wind was relentless and didn't really ease up. I was just counting the metres until I got back in to Nenagh.
"When I crossed the line I had an advantage of about 4 minutes, which i didn't think I had at all. I was certain the bunch were well on for catching me because my speed just dropped (from holding at about 25-30 mph to less than 20mph). I was in a bad way come the finish!"
Ryan was rewarded with €150 for taking first place and a further €50 for taking the King of the Mountain prize, he also received a big bunch of flowers (which he so kindly gave to Miss Tipperary) and a £100 watch.
That's four races and four wins in the last week for Ryan.
Let's hope he holds this good form.
24 April 2012