Sorry about not getting this diary entry live yesterday. I had a choice between going for pints to drown my sorrows or updating the website, unsurprisingly I chose to forget about the diary for one day. I was also visiting relatives down in Clonakilty too. Anyhow, enough of the excuses – so what happened yesterday? By now most of ye will have heard that I am out of the Rás. I was eliminated at the end of stage 5 (of 8) as I missed the time limit. Day 5 was just one step too far but I was delighted to have at least battled on for a few days more than I thought I would be able for.
Yesterday’s stage consisted of a 105 mile cycle from Caherciveen to Clonakilty. There were plenty of hills on the route so it was going to be tough. The night before I had only gotten about 1.5 hours sleep as I couldn’t lie flat on my back without pain. Stupidly I ran out of pain killers that night and had to wait till morning before I could once again numb the pain and face into another tough day on the bike.
On the start line I felt awful as usual. I couldn’t breathe very well (I could only shallow breathe) and knew that once the pace increased to a level that put me in the red I would be in trouble. Like the previous two days, if I could just hold on for the first 20 miles or so it would probably settle down a bit and I could survive. Unfortunately, this did not happen as I was out the back within the first mile. The pace wasn’t exceptionally hard, I just couldn’t catch my breath. Pain killers might numb the pain but the pain is still there.
When you are out of the back after 1 mile of a 105 mile stage you are in trouble. I battled hard in the cars to regain contact but over the next 10/15 miles I couldn’t regain contact and I was on my own. That left me with 90 miles to face by myself. To come in under the time limit I would need a miracle. Even still, I didn’t give in and settled into a pace I knew I could hold for that distance. At the very least I would get a good training session out of it.
The miles ticked by pretty quickly and the broom wagon hadn’t caught me yet so there was still a little hope (usually when the broomwagon catches you, you are probably close to elimination). With 13km to go I was caught by the broomwagon so I knew then that I was more than likely gone. I kept going as best I could but a combination of injuries and fatigue made the challenge too tough for me on this occasion. I finished the stage in 4hr 59mins but that was 14 mins outside the 20% time limit. My Rás was over, but there was no disappointment. I know that most other people wouldn’t have even lined up on the start line that morning. The only way I was giving up on racing the Rás was by being forced out of it.
Nenagh CC also lost Alan Loftus to injury before yesterday’s stage had even started. This meant we were down to 4 on the start line and just 3 after I was eliminated. Gary and Simon both got through yesterday’s tough stage in one of the back bunches. Damian experienced some early race difficulty but unlike me he managed to battle his way back to the bunch that Gary and Simon were in. Gary remains 3rd overall in the A2 category but its going to be hard to catch those in front of him.
I write this from back in Nenagh having just come home from watching the lads on stage 6. The last place you want to be is at the same race you were eliminated from so I needed to get out of there. I will be visiting the hospital on Monday (better late than never!) to be assessed/x-ray’d but I can’t see myself training for a while and with the Kilkee Triathlon coming up in just 5 weeks that is another serious blow for me in a race I like to prioritise.
I am currently trying to convince Gary to finish the Rás diary. There are 3 stages left to comment on so hopefully he can send on something.
That’s it from me.