Wednesday, April 27, 2011
RAS Mumhan 2011
Just returned from Ireland having ridden this years RAS after a last minute call asking if I'd ride for Surrey League. I was planing to do a 4-dayer in Newcastle but couldn't turn down the chance to ride the RAS.
This year it was just 3 of us (John-Heaton Armstrong, Lee Tunnicliffe, myself) who rode rather than a larger contingent which usually represents Surrey League. John has or is going to post a full report on the Surrey League site so mine's going to be brief.
Great racing though, very aggressive on every stage, lots of fast riding (the bunch spent many happy hours lined out doing 40-60km/hr riding in the gutter!! ). And to top it all off we all got a nice tan.
Stage 1 Killorglin and Sliabh Luachra / 105km / av sp. 38km/hr
Flat to start with then kicked up and continued to be a rolling course until the last 5-10km. The race was neutralised for 12km due to road works then was absolutely balls out from the flag. A constant fight at the front and lots of attacking which eventually caused a split which I missed but Lee made. Did eventually get away with 6 or 7 others and with 5km to go back wheel started to lock up and I had to stop to get a wheel. The bunch rolled passed me in the process and I had to ride the last 5km in the wind eventually coming in 5min+ down. Lee did really well and got 8th, John finished in the bunch.
Stage 2 Dingle and the Conor Pass / 126km / av sp. 35km/hr
Would need the climbing legs on today! course had a few KOH climbs before the final climb of the connor pass to the finish line.
Flat out from the start again and an early crash on the narrow coast road caused a split which was brought back to everyone's relief. Soon enough there was a break of 20+ riders which Lee had made. With a few of the contenders from stage 1 in the bunch I kept my eye on them and stayed close eventually getting into a chasing group of 6 riders. With the break in view ahead of us we hit the connor pass and it was every man for himself. Came in the top 40 today.
Stage 3 Waterville and Valentia / 142km / av sp. 40km/hr
A course with plenty of KOH climbs today.
Sore legs this morning so the prospect of a hilly course was worrying. Suprisingly the legs felt fine as soon as we got going and the speed ramped up once again. I fought to stay at the front and went with the attacks eventually making the break when the field split up on the cat 2 climb. Some really windy / exposed conditions and rough roads out on the coast made for hard riding and with the pace high (40-60km/hr) the group was lined out riding in the gutter. A small group or riders made a break 10-15km from the end and I got away with another rider 5k from the line eventually coming in 28th. Lee and John finished in the bunch.
Stage 4 Killorglin and Milltown / 114km / av sp. 42km/hr
2 x flattish circuits then 10laps of the town.
Today was basically the hardest 80km race I've done followed by a 10lap crit!!
The field split 10-15km in with some of the contenders left if the bunch. Lee made the split so John and myself were left in the bunch where the teams in contention started to ramp the speed up in a desperate attempt to close the gap. It was hard riding for what seemed like an hour with the bunch lined out and the 10 laps of the town still to come. With the gap not dropping to below a minute there were a few lulls in the pace before ramping up again for the first lap into Killorglin. I felt ok over the 10 laps and stayed up near the front where the prospect of a crash was much reduced. Lee in the break got the prime on the 5th lap and came in 15th. John and myself finished strong in the bunch with alot of riders having been shelled out over the 10 laps.
Lee 19th - great ride