Senergy Criterium- What a feeling!

Hi! I’m Ciaran McSherry and this is my first season of racing and couldn’t ask for better teammates or a club to race for! Here’s a little bit about me and how I won my first race.
Wow! That really felt amazing, after a very tough couple of years it was such a brilliant feeling to get my hands in the air. The last 2 years have been very up and down for my family and I, with my little brother Reon (now 13) being diagnosed and battling with Leukemia. To this day the battle continues but he’s in a much better position now than he was 2 years ago. All of this has obviously impacted our lives greatly and especially with exams at school happening it didn’t make it easy to train. On the 25th of October 2016 Reon needed a bone marrow transplant and I was a perfect match so I donated over a litre of bone marrow to him which seemed to be the cure for him until exactly a year later when he relapsed. Since October last year I’ve donated over 7.5 million stem cells and another couple bags of lymphocytes, none of which have completely cured him but the new treatment he’s on seems to be working well and he’s back to being a cheeky little brother.

After poor conditions and mild hypothermia at Gifford forced me to abandon and a mechanical on the second last lap of Stirling’s Crit On the Campus cost me a good place (I think a win), I was really looking to finish this race without anything else hampering me! With the new kit from the club and Endura I was excited to start what would only be my third ever race. Before the race started I took a couple laps to get a feel for the course and I knew it would be fast and sketchy with some of the other Cat 4’s not being the best bike handlers (to put it nicely). I managed to get myself to the front of the group for the start but managed to miss my cleat which caused me to drop a few places. UGH! The first corner caused a couple of riders to come off the track as they took it too quickly, I managed to navigate myself up to the top 10 places for most of the race meaning I wasn’t going to get caught out by an attack or a crash. Someone attacked off the front about 7 laps in and I went to follow but Rafael De Giacomo Araujo, who’s in the ERC race team, came up in front of me and paced me up to the attack. The group weren’t letting anyone go though and we soon called it and waited up for the bunch. Rafael continued to help me by attacking to tire out the strong riders and make them work in our favour, he also did an excellent job bringing attacks back. When it got down to the last 2 laps though it was all down to me and my legs felt great, no-one really attacked in the penultimate lap but as soon as we crossed the line for what would be the second last time an attack came and I was quick to get on his wheel and sit in the slipstream for about two-thirds of the lap until he tired. Another attack came, I jumped onto his wheel and sat in until just before the final sweeping left hander where I nailed it around the corner (thanks for the advice Logan) and up the slight rise to the line. I managed to open quite a big gap which gave me enough time to celebrate.

As you can see I’m quite happy to take the win and wasn’t just going to do a little celebration. Nah. I went all out. full thing, punch the air and the classic arms aloft in the air. Everyone was so nice after the race too with people coming and saying, “well done!” and “nice one!” but it felt amazing to see my teammates after the race giving Rafael and Steven ‘man’ hugs. Chris also came and said well done at the end, but I didn’t recognise him till I saw his bike, that’s the problem with only seeing your teammates in their kit! (sorry Chris). Finally, to have my Grandad, Dad and Girlfriend there to watch, it was great to win in front of them and hopefully this will be the first of many, now on to the Junior Tour of Ireland with Chris, Logan and Louie!

Signing off for now, Ciaran.

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