There were no tears of joy crossing the finish line today, just proper firm handshakes like real men! Today, 3 of our team finished the rás and in so doing, became ‘Men of the Rás’. Kenneth and Shane join a very small group from the area to have completed a Rás. It is no easy task and it seems to be getting harder all the time. It is physically and mentally draining. Writing report make brain hurt.
Here’s how the day went…..
The final day can be a tough one. In your head you are already finished but physically you are still 150km from the actual finish. This poses a problem of motivation. None of us wanted to get on our bikes. Our warm-up was left as late as possible and much of our morning was spent being congratulated on finishing the rás. But we hadn’t finished yet!!
Gary Scully, John Gleeson and Will Rymer were with us at sign on to wish us luck on the last day. Gary turned down the offer to go as Shane’s body double for the last stage, although a few noted cruelly that he was double Shane’s body size now. Gary warned us about the crazy speeds we would experience once we got onto the lap circuit in Skerries. He certainly wasn’t wrong about that.
Today’s start was in Baltinglass and we were expecting another very quick stage as the GC was still all to play for. We weren’t let down in this regard as the speed for the opening hour was ferocious. There were plenty of line outs but without any hills of significance on route, the whole bunch stayed together more or less to Skerries.
We could now breathe a sigh of relief. All that remained were 3 laps of the Skerries circuit. If you got dropped, you would still be given a finishing time. The trick now was to hang on as long as possible as the pros reeled in the break and then fought it out for the win. Kenneth went on lap 1 and Shane O’Neill on lap 2 but both cycled all the way to the finish. Shane Scully lasted a bit longer with the main bunch but the bunch split in two and Shane found himself in the 2nd half.
One by one, our lads trickled over the line. We had done it. Now all that we had to do was go up and get our finishers medals (the first one I have ever received that actually meant something to me) and get our photo taken i.e. proof of completion. Now Kenneth and I can lord it over everyone in the club. Be prepared to be constantly regaled with tales of how great we are “ah that’s nothing compared to the rás….”, “did I ever tell you about the time I did the rás?” – you get the idea.
Tomorrow – there is no racing – how delighted am I to say that!!! It’s back to work for the team, actually I think Burger has the day off. Lucky b*******. We will be getting the other lads on the team to write out their take on the rás over the next few days.
That’s this Rás blog over and done with. Will there be another one? Who knows. I am certainly not thinking about that yet. Thanks to everyone for following on the blog online. The support was huge and the amount of people reading each day was well in the thousands. I hope ye enjoyed it and got a good insight into what happens at an event like this.
For everyone in Nenagh CC, this is what can be achieved when you put your mind to it. It certainly isn’t easy but with some dedication you can achieve big things. We would love to become a club that enters this race every year so consider it for next year. Juniors – ye have the Junior Tour. Ladies – ye have Rás na mBan. Think about it!
Massive thanks: to our support team. We could not have done this without ye. Matty our team manager, Anthony our masseur, Dan our mechanic and Sinéad our soigneur and buyer of sweet things – we owe ye one, big time. Readjusting to making my own tea will take some time.
Also thanks to our sponsors Liam Buckley Car Sales Moneygall, Priority Roofing, Analog Devices and a certain curly haired club member. Thanks also to everyone for supporting the Summer League – see ye all out there on Thursday!