Wednesday, April 07, 2010

2010 Ras Mumhan - Stage 1

Ras Mumhan has the reputation of being the toughest stage race in Ireland outside of the FBD RAS. It was this reputation and the associated hills that led myself and Mel to sign up for the race. As it turned out, Mel was the only female rider M.A.D. enough to take part so she was going to have a very tough time - lots of hard training for her. We booked ourselves into the Kilburn House B&B (which was simply perfect) and then took the long drive down.

The weather forecast for the race looked terrible – lots of rain, high winds and even some snow – we packed a few extra layers and were determined not to get too bothered by a bit of harsh weather, although by the end of the race, we felt some of our tan had somehow washed off.

The stages lay like this: the first was a mostly flat 100km, second stage was flatish for 60km and then some long but not steep climbs (I had my eye on this one) for the final 80km. The next stage had lots of smaller climbs and was very exposed while the final stage was two 35km laps and then a circuit race around the base town of Kilorglin.

140+ riders started the first stage – basically I spent all of my time trying to stay around the front of the peleton but always being squeezed back – it has been a long time since I raced in a big group so it took a little getting used to again – after the first stage I was fine. It was at one of the times when I was squeezed back on narrow roads that I could see a break get away. There was nothing I could do... 100 meters back on packed tiny country roads – damn – rookie mistake. As the race progressed I got to the front and tried to get a good chase going with a bunch of attacks – at one point we had a 30 second gap on the peleton but they chased us down. We headed back to Kilorglin for a mass sprint behind the break. A crash in front of me on a tight corner caused a break in the peleton and I was a further 10 seconds back. After the stage, I was 5:34 back on yellow (It is important to note the 5:34 for when you look at how far I finished the stage race behind yellow).

It was a windy stage but the scenery was beautiful with Kerry's finest snow capped mountains being our backdrop.

Later – stage 2 (much more interesting!)

No comments: