How do they do it.. Waking up in the morning you assess the ‘hurt’..walking to the toilet you say…’how the **** am I going to ride a bike today. But somehow you do..
The day was here. 2 Days left. But this day was to be a bitch of a day. When we hit the mountains of Kerry it kinda took me by surprise and I rode outside myself for the early part of it until the Rev counter went up the left.
Now I knew what lay ahead and how these lads were going to tackle the Wicklow mountains. Like before I wanted to stay as far up as possible coming into the climbs but the early part was steep and took an effort. I lost contact with the main bunch but worked up to the tails of it once more. The next bit of climbing i wasn’t fit to go and I had to settle into my own rhythm. There were familiar faces around and lads that can ride but one thing about this 8 day challenge with ‘Elites’ has shown me is that boys give up and spit the dummy when they miss the moves. Some of the pro lads wont even come round and ride when they know the stage is for nothing. But this is my world cup and this is there summer league!-
I got up and over okay. Suffered another puncture but with plenty of practice this week had me back in in no time. We rode into Naas and I kept to the theme of the week with a sprint for the line. I was happy that the day was over and I didnt crumble. Rodger finished 2nd and lost out by a tiny margin… One more day!
The best part of this day was definately going to be seeing my family at the finish. All I had to do is do what Id been doing all week and Id be fine. Its strange how the legs come round and you’re able to ride hard. The fight in the pelaton wasnt as ferocious as day one but you still needed to be on-gard. I was feeling great, I had a couple of digs but nothing worth writing home about. Alot of county boys tried it but i think they were looking for Twitter mentions or Stickybottle time..;_)) When I was brought back Rodger told me not to bother as the pace went up a couple of times I tried it. One Brit told me ”We’ll hunt you down every time my Brother- Stay back and save your energy”.. I kindly informed him I wasn’t his brother and that I was his Sister and that I would Ride him after!- that was the end of that!…
We got to Skerries and we had 2 laps to do around the town. There is a nasty small climb at the start of the lap and coming over it i felt strong. I didn’t want to lose touch and getting up to the front was my aim. The buzz going through skerries was electrifying .. I could here all the Cuchullainn Support as well as my families!.. unfortunately going into the last lap at the bottom of the hill I touch another rider and lost control.. Straight over the handlebars and it was game over. I was pissed off but i got up and rode on with a bent hanger and a very sore knee.. I picked up the dropped lads coming over the climb and towed them home.
I had done it- The Ras. On reflection it is one of my biggest personal achievements. Maybe its because I’ve wanted to do it for so long. It lived up to all the hype and more and Ill definitely be back.
The Louth Prague Charter team was unbelievable.. Everyone preformed and got out of the race what they wanted to achieve. It was an honor to ride with Rodger Aiken. Watching him attack full timers from the pelaton would leave the hairs standing on the back of your neck. He is what O’ Sullivan is to snooker and what Best was to Soccer.
Ray was unfortunate after day 2 but lives to tell the tale and Ultan and Colm got stronger as the week went on. Colm says hes going to race on the Saturday, the day before the Ras next year to make sure hes sharp… cant wait to talk to him in day 4!!
Thank you for all the support. Id like to thank our club Cuchullain CC and Bering Time. Through my own business Bering stepped in and gave us some needed financial support on the Eve of the race. We were also decked out in the best gear, all down to Rapha! I was also Fed well… GU & Zym got me through all the grueling miles.. The last hour Zym Catapult fairly gives you a kick!
It has been an amazing week. Thank You.