Ras Mumhan Stg 2

By May 18, 2017 Racing No Comments

God that was a hard stage I can only hope everyone else found it hard as well, stage 2 of Kerry Group Ras Mumhan was a new stage out of Listowel and finishing in Athea a place I must admit I have never being to before (that’s actually a lie I know we passed through it on the ras a few years ago) but I have a feeling Ras Mumhan will be visiting again as it was an excellent stage.
We started out from Listowel with a nice cross wind to keep us on our toes, so position was key, I made sure I started on the front row of the bunch and focused on staying in the top 30 for as long as possible. Teammates Sean and Cathal were getting stuck into the action trying to get up the road. Jamie Blanchfield came back through the bunch with the spokes hanging out of his lovely new carbon wheels, he has spent the season to date racing on a set of wheels most guys wouldn’t train on and then he gets a brand new set of wheels and they get wrecked! Sean Lacey had some grass stuck in his rear mech that was having no effect on it I am sure, I watched on in horror as his teammate Matteo tried to pull the grass out of the mech while we were doing 50kph, shortly afterwards I was behind him when he decided to take his gillet off at 50kph while we were flying along a typically surfaced Kerry road I was thinking all it takes here is one small stone to hit his front wheel and we are all dead…..crazy Italians!!
The bunch was on high alert and nothing looked like it was going to get out, Cathal slipped into one good looking move of about 6 that had 2 of the irish under 23’s in it, then one of their “team” mates decided he wanted to get across and sparked a reaction so that move was shut down (same jersey different objectives obviously) Only one group looked like it was going to get away but got pulled back before Glin
Up through the village there was a steep climb that dragged on for a good while, we had a cross win on it as well so there was plenty of fighting for the gutter, I got over it without too much bother but over the top I realised I was last man the bunch had split in a big way with about 80 riders left. The climbs came thick and fast after that it seemed we were constantly going up or down. The bunch settled down a bit as a break of 5 had gone away, it was very like a ras stage for a long time as it was steady hard, not hard enough to get dropped but you would want a serious motor to get away. We turned back onto the coast road and the tension raised again in the bunch as everyone knew the climb out of Glin would be critical. Plenty of lads tried to get away but into the wind it would have being impossible to get out. It was full gas up the climb, I was under pressure straight away I had given myself plenty of sliding room but was going backwards at a worrying rate, over the top of the KOH I was out the back with a few other’s we were not far off the back and I was confident we would get back on, it was a hell of a struggle we chased all the way up the next KOH and got back on the descent. I knew I was going to be under pressure again on the climb out of Athea and so it proved as about 6 of us got tailed off, we rode well to get back in, I got as far as the com’s car on the next climb and blew in a big way.
That was it I was done I had 105km on the clock and said that was it I was done for the day, a few cars offered me bottles (many thanks) the dungaravn car gave me a coke but I was still going backwards. Over the top of the climb there was a long gradual descent there was a large cavalcade and there was a few riders still riding hard to get back in, I jumped on them more in the hope that when they sat up or blew I would have a bit of company. Fortunately for us the impetus had gone out of the bunch and now we could see it might be possible to get back. I suffered like a dog and took every risk I could but passing 10km to go I was back in. There was a young lad in one of the cars I reckon I put off cycling for life as he saw me getting my head kicked in for an hour or so as I passed his car 6 times going in both directions. Once I was back in it was handy enough as a group had gone up the road and I reckon everyone else was wrecked (or at least I hope they were) For us we had Sean and Cathal in this group along with Jamie, Ray did a good ride to come in a group not far behind with Mark a little further back. Tomorrow is the queen stage so I reckon we are all in for a lot more suffering! Till then.