Tuesday, May 03, 2011

2011 Ras Mumhan Part 2

Stage 3 – 142km

This is a repeat stage from last year – the Waterville stage where we go on a very lumpy tour of the surrounding area and a circumnavigation of Valentia Island. Last year, the weather was terrible and there were huge crosswinds – I was in the break for the day and had a pretty good ride. Today, the sun was shining and the scenery splendid. Kerry at it's best.

A small break went pretty early, which I was happy about, I missed getting onto it but wanted to bridge to it on the first 5-6 minute climb. Unfortunately, the break was caught at the base of the climb. The dutch team in yellow were keeping tight control of the race (a mistake? Why not let a break of “no-hopers” from a GC context get a few minutes?). Attack after attack came and everything was chased. With 40km to go, a dangerous move went and I missed it. I was left back in the peleton (well, what was left of it – the days hard roads and strong winds tore it to pieces). Paul Griffin drove the pace over the final climb of the day and we were only 20-30 seconds off the break. With the main teams represented, it made sense their riders didn't work to catch it, but everyone else... Maybe they were too shattered, or just gave up, but no one came to help Paul and I (and a few others) pull it back.

With 20km to go, after I put in a hard pull, Andrew Roach made a huge effort to get away and bridge – damn, that was my ticket outta here and I missed it. Paul, hitched on and after a few km, they made it to the break. Me, well, anything I did had 30 riders tagged along looking at me. Eventually, I got away too taking a few riders with me. Of the 6 or 7, 3 of us were working – the others sat on. We were close to catching the front of the race, but still the others sat in... Why the hell did they make the effort to get on my wheel and form a chase if they didn't want to chase? A race WIN was only a few seconds up the road...

Anyway – I finished up a few seconds off the front having ridden full gas for a long time... Really great training though. I changed my position on the bike a lot recently, and now feel I'm getting very comfortable with it.

Stage 4 – 113km

2 laps of a big loop, followed by 10 laps of a shorter course around Killorglin. The big loop was straightforward while the short lap had lots of scope for splitting the race (like every other year).

I woke in the morning feeling good, my legs felt fresh and I was starving – a good sign. From the start, I was aggressive, in a few groups off the front and solo off the front for a while (hoping for some other strong riders to bridge). I was enjoying myself. After about 15km, my teammate, Martin O'Loughlin came up to me – the peleton has split – we have a lead bunch of 30-35 riders and the yellow jersey missed the split! I looked around, Sean Lacey and many other Edge riders were up with us (Sean trailed the yellow jersey by a second). We all kept the pressure on until there was a sizable gap and then the Edge team (and some others) went to work on the front pushing out the gap to a max of 2:20. The Edge team worked amazingly well with teammate after teammate destroying themselves keeping Sean and Timmy (mostly) fresh for the finishing circuit.

As we hit the finishing circuit, the gap was a little over a minute. The front group would split a bit, then come back together, then split again. Through all this, the elastic would break and a rider or two would be dropped off the back. As I said earlier, I was feeling good – in the final couple of laps, I stayed around the front and scoped out the line I would take for the tricky left hander onto the final short kicker climb to the finish line. When the last lap came, I stuffed it as I was almost thrown into a parked car, lost momentum and chance for a win. We finished 1:40 up on the peleton moving me to 7th overall.

No comments: