Apr 23, 2012
Over Easter weekend Primal Europe sent a 5 man team to the Ras Mumhan in Ireland. The riders that went were James Smith, Wayne Coombs, Adam Bright, Myself and a guest rider from Wilier who we all knew very well anyway Colin Parry. The stage race consisted of four stages in four days. Friday through until Monday. We travelled over Thursday evening catching the 2.45 ferry Friday morning. Then after the ferry we travelled to Killarney where our hotel was, which is only 10 miles from where the racing was based in Killorglin.
Stage 1 was at 4pm on Friday. The start was in Killorglin and was to be a big 65 mile loop finishing at the top of a short sharp 200m climb, just after a sharp right hand bend. As we had been travelling since Thursday and had only arrived at the hotel 3 hours before the race was due to start we decided to ride to the start to try and stretch the legs out and wake them up a bit. Once we got there we put all our numbers on and transponders and were all keen to get going. None of us really knew what to expect for this weekend as we had never done such a big race in Ireland before. But we saw from the previous year’s results that positioning was going to be crucial. The race rolled away and right from the start it was really fast. The first stage was fairly simple in the end though as a break got away about 20 miles in and because it had last year’s winner overall Sean Lacey in it all the teams got on the front and chased. This meant that the first stage was destined to be a bunch sprint. Over the last king of the hills a rider managed to get away over the climb and I jumped across, we were out from 6km to go until about 2km. But with it being the first stage all the teams wanted a bunch sprint so we got brought back. This gave a good opportunity for our sprinter Adam to have a good go. The rest of the guys did a good job to get him to the front and he was positioned really well. But unfortunately due to really bad cramp he missed out on a result he was more than capable of. But it was only day 1, so spirits were still high.
Stage 2 was to be a very deciding queen stage as the race was 78 miles finishing up Conor Pass a 5km mountain just outside of Dingle. Apart from the mountain at the finish there were a few other crucial points where positioning was crucial. A few more big climbs, a lot of the roads were along the coast so winds were a big factor and also a cobbled ford on a corner about 8 miles in which was something I hadn’t experienced in a race before. Again a small break got away early on and again it had Sean Lacey in it. This time the break had up to 3 minutes at one point. But one of the teams called DID had over 10 riders in the race and there GC rider happened to be the Irish national Hill Climb Champion. So with about 15km to go they set there whole team on the front and they brought the break down to 30 seconds for the bottom off the mountain finish. The run into the Mountain was very nervy as it was crucial to be at the front when you hit the climb. The team did a great job and got me and Colin about 10th wheel into the bottom of the climb. A few teammates of various teams set the pace up the climb and a couple of Kilometres in there was only 6 of us left. Which then split again and 4 riders including Colin and me and one other rider just behind. We struggled up Conor Pass because we all thought it was a lot longer than it actually was, so me and Colin were both saving energy in our groups waiting for 2km to go before we would start picking the speed up to make as much time on everyone else as possible. But before we knew it we got round a very foggy corner and the finish banner was in front of us. So we both crossed the line fairly fresh, Colin didn’t have the chance to sprint as he was finished before he got to speed so he had to settle with 3rd and same with me for 5th. But we were still really happy with the result. It meant that I moved into the Under 23 jersey though and we were also leading team.
Part 2 is about stage 3 and 4 of the Ras Mumhan.
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