Cycling, crashes and comebacks

In 30 years of been involved in cycling John O Halloran gives us his account of winning his first ever road race.

For those who don’t know John, here is a brief introduction, John hails from Clifden Co Galway, he took up cycling away back in 1986 in the hay days of the Kelly Roche era.

John O Halloran

John was recognized mostly as been a good breakaway rider to be with who was very good against the watch, back at that time there was little or no TT equipment but John was one of the first to use TT bars as used by American Greg Lemond who pioneered them at the time. John won numerous TT’s and was unlucky not to win a host of road races, the standard at the time was savage as the class from 1972 produced some sterling riders who were all very competitive. to give you an idea of the numbers racing,  65 Under 16 riders signed on for the Connacht Championships in 1987 and there were heats to qualify for the final race at the All Ireland U16 champs at Mondello, probably close on 300 U16 riders signed on.

John became friends with the Marrey of Ballinrobe and over the years they built up a great friendship, both raced together on Connacht and Western Region teams throughout the early 90’s.

John raced in the 8 day Junior Tour of Ireland in 1990 and finished 3 Ras Tailteann 1992, 93 and 97, he raced for a period in France before John’s cycling career took a  bang when he crashed head on into a car at a race in Sligo, his injuries kept him our for a while and then like so many other riders Life got in the way and cycling was parked for a while.

In the winter of 1996 John decided to make a comeback as the Ras route had announced a stop over in his native Clifden. John got himself fit and finished that Ras, for the next few years John only raced sporadically and more or less stopped  racing altogether from 2001 onward.

John was also one of the founder members of Western Lakes CC when the club formed back in the winter of 1998. John is also a great race announcer (MC) at road races and especially Criteriums where his knowledge of the sport is clear for all to hear.

John O Halloran winner of round one of Western Covey league.
It was a bit of a dream return to racing for me  to be honest and to the point. I have been thinking and talking about it long enough at this stage, so it was time to bite the bullet and go for it.  There was a bit of the  familiarity  in the sense that  there was a  couple of faces  from the last time I raced 15 year’s ago  and at the same time strange  because there was a lad there  who wasn’t even born the last time I pushed pedals in anger.
John O Halloran winning Western covey race 2016
It was a really nice evening for racing, with 5  groups on the road with  generous  handicap in place.  Given the opportunity and the benefit of the doubt 7 of us were in the 2nd group on the road.  We  managed to stay away for 20 km   then  as the  chasers pushed through to the front of group  the pace  went up  again.  With 4 of the 5 laps  covered   it seemed likely to me that we would  stay clear,  I was feeling good  about the chances of getting a place and when one of the Covey  riders  joined us from the chasers  I knew that he would be strong  but  after making a big effort to get across to us’ the edge would be gone off his  sprint.  Luckily I was in a great position  in the last km and as the finish loomed  the  sprint started at 400m. Position is still key, and I was just able to get out  and held a good line to stay clear..
Happy days.  Great to be racing again  and thanks to the race organisation and  Marshall’s
John o halloran

 

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