By Mick Leonard
Well, I’m glad to be sitting here as a Man of the Rás! As per usual, today was another tough fight. My neck is quite stiff from the many lineouts over the last few days where you’re buried on the drops and pushing as hard as you can just to hold that wheel. The pace at which you tear through a town is ferocious. When going through a tight corner and you’re lashing on the brakes beforehand, the thought that overwhelms is the effort and acccelleration that will be required to get back up to speed you’ve just scrubbed off. It’s compounded when you turn the corner and there’s a rise from the junction! I’ve been afraid to review my average HR for each stage due to the realisation that may come of the efforts that were required… and that the same will be required tomorrow!
The speed was high today from start and with a fairly big blip to overcome 7k in, it didn’t disappoint. Over the KOHs today, I’d start to lose ground as the legs would burn up and you have to just bang it down a few gears, get out of the saddle and force the bike up the hill. For the entire stage I don’t really know where I summoned the energy to get over them in the bunch and hang on in the lineouts but some how I managed. I was anxious to make the laps in Skerries and to be able to complete the course before being lapped so I could finish out the complete distance and I did…. somehow.
The laps of Skerries are where the damage was done. After crossing the line for the first time, we made it around the coast to the foot of the KOH where people started to crack – including myself. The legs just said no as the gradient picked up. I was happy to finish it in a group and finish out the total distance. The legs were weary.
It’s surreal how quickly the week has passed. Last Sunday after the torture that was stage one, I didn’t think I’d make another day, never mind seven! This is no doubt due to the care, help and attention we received from Frances, Damien, Lyndsay and Graham, they made it so much more manageable.
The faith and support from Graham and Eugene is what got us to the start line and without their encouragement I wouldn’t have any stories to tell. It was great to see so many LCRC friends and clubmates as we rounded the laps in Skerries, I think that is what got me over the last three climbs!
Despite the pain and torture it’s been a great week with my teammates Mark, Ronan, and Peter and we had some good times. My commiserations to Ross who had to retire due to sickness as he has put in the same work and sacrifices but there’s always next year, we’ve laid a good foundation…. I think there may be some room to move in the team classification….!
Thanks for reading,