By Mick Leonard
Wow, that was a tough day. I was very nervous starting but that immediately turned to excitement after the first pedal stroke: “I’m riding my first Rás!” The procession lap was great and then the real racing started in earnest and boy did it.
The lineouts were fierce and the hills started doing the damage but once the break went it settled somewhat and again I thought “I’m riding along in the bunch in the Rás!” Slowly though, the hills ate away at the legs. I’ve never pushed the pedals so hard nor have I ever had to push so hard through legs searing with lactic acid to hold the wheel.
To add to the drama, I had a sketchy moment where I went over a bidon that came out of nowhere and I dropped a chain. The fear returned again as this happened to me in the Tour of the North and I had to pull over to fix it. Luckily this time I was calm and collected as if time slowed down and gently nursed it back onto the chainring, Keanu Reaves would be impressed!
As the miles wore on, the legs became heavier and heavier and the drags tougher and tougher. I’m happy to have hung in there with the grupetto and make the time cut. Only 7 more days to go….