Stage 5 Sneem to Clonakilty 148.3kms

Over halfway! Feels like we’re on the home stretch now, sure tomorrow’s the weekend, right?

The weather has been fantastic so far – sunny and dry every day bar the first. This year the team is staying with the race accommodation, where last year we booked B&Bs ourselves. It’s been mostly good – upmarket hotels with leisure centres where a jacuzzi does wonders for the legs.

In Dingle however, we ended up in the overflow hotel. They tried to give three triples, which doesn’t work when you have two females. The hotel’s solution was to put the four riders into one room, which was probably only big enough for two. Once Mary got on to the accommodation officer though, they got us an extra room elsewhere, so we weren’t quite as jam-packed. At least we didn’t get put in bunk beds like the lads in the room next door!

Last night we were disturbed about 1.30am by a fire alarm going off. Ronan had his toe lanced earlier in the evening, and with the couple of painkillers he took, he slept through the whole thing!

Today’s stage saw us head straight into the Caha Pass, where there were big splits in the bunch. Through the tunnel at the top, we couldn’t see a thing in front of us coming in from the bright sunshine. Then descend into Glengarriff and another climb. I managed to stick with the front bunch, but went out the back over the Cat 3 at Derrycarhoon.

I tagged onto a couple of fast descenders and made it back to where the bunch was nearly riding piano. The rest of the stage is a bit of a blur, but the first time through the finish line the group exploded. I hadn’t expected such a steep ramp, and with the legs already sapped from the earlier climbs, I found myself with some chasers.

We regrouped and on the loop around into the finish, everyone was ready to contest the sprint. I took the right-hand line, hoping to nip up along the barriers. Instead I found a motorbike parked in my way and with no room to change my line without taking out a rider, I hit the brakes and then sprinted again.

It cost me a top ten county rider spot, which is a nice accolade for an unambitious rider like myself, and put me just outside the top 50 for the third day running. It’s only a minor detail though, I’m happy with my rides through the hills so far. I’m almost looking forward to tomorrow’s three Cat 3s!

Brian shows his support for his club's forthcoming hosting of the National Championships (Photo: Stephen O'Shea)
Brian shows his support for his club’s forthcoming hosting of the National Championships (Photo: Stephen O’Shea)


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