Stage 3: Healy’s Pass

(Kenmare – Lauraugh – Healy Pass – Agrigole – Glengarriff – Caha Pass – Tunnel Road – Bonane – Kenmare)

Stage details:

Miles: 49.9

Winner’s Time: 2 hours 19 minutes (animal!)

3 climbs: Cat 2 (Knockanoughanish) 7.2 mi, Cat 1 (Healy Pass) 3.9 mi, Cat 1 (Caha Pass) 2.7 mi

Results: 13th, 21st, 27th, 43rd, 45th

Team Position: 6th

The stage started out raining.  Vignettes from Team Mum.

* * * * *

All the English she could manage to muster was: “I’m broken”.  And I said, “Me too”.  Then she turned to me and said, “But I am glad we’re together, though.”  And after a moment, I said, “Me too.”  And it went on, and on, and on.  We churned it through the second climb.  And then the third climb.  And then with 10K to go, I couldn’t believe it.  Still 10K left.  When we saw the line, she turned to me and asked, “Yes?” I nodded to her.  She got out of the saddle.  I got out of mine.  But two pedal strokes in, I couldn’t manage it anymore, and I watched her fly across the line.

[Note to Reader (hours later): In hindsight, I was willing to try.  But if she had said, “Let’s not”, I would have said, “O.K.”]

* * * * *

We were together up Healy’s pass, slowly.  Her team manager, from one of the Dutch teams, drove past and started screaming, “Go haaarder!  Go haarder! Keep goinggg!  But when you get the chance, look to your left!  It’s beeauuutiful!”

* * * * *

I had to attack my group so that I felt I could do something.

* * * * *

“You’re a respectable rider.  You’re an honest rider.”

“I’m out of shape.”

* * * * *

I was by myself the whole time.  I was hoping you could just pass me so at least we’d be together, and we’d have fun.  But I kept going.  And then I was flying down the hills, and I saw a girl in the all Irish kit, and I didn’t stop to wait for her but flew past.  I wanted to feel fast.

* * * * *

What would Beyonce do?

She’d show them her booty.  And that’s what I did.  Sprinting for 45th place…

* * * * *

This is embarrassing.  This is embarrassing.  I am going to have to sprint for 45th place, but *%$*#)@) hell those girls pissed me off.  Should I do it?  Should I do it?!  Oh #&$* I need to win!  I won!  45th place.

* * * * *

It looks like you’re doing Thriller?


It’s raining.

I’m warming up.

* * * * *

Sprinting for 8th, you don’t get money.  I want to be in the money.

* * * * *

I just want to warn you all that I am very low on energy.  Very low.  So if we can invoke the contractual bindings… [note to reader: pre-race contract that allows us to be “ourselves” and all manner of “ourselves” during the race, including but not limited to, extreme moments of anger, fatigue, hunger, exhaustion, pain, agony, torture, personal hell, existential crisis, existential moments, tears, outbursts, mania.]

* * * * *

I was riding like a proper banchee.  Eyes in the back of my head.  Eyes rolling.  Pretty sure.  I couldn’t quite see the road half the time.

Must be something savage going on.

Look at my leg warmers.  I was riding so hard, they turned themselves inside out.

* * * * *

And then I stopped at the side of the road to take off my jacket.

Wait, you stopped?

No, no I didn’t stop.  Maybe?

So you stopped?

* * * * *



* * * * *

Note to Reader (especially if you are a younger racing cyclist and hope to aspire to greatness, which I am sure you will if you heed the following advice): If you find yourself in the back, dropped, please do me a kind favor and take a single pull, and that does not include soft-pedaling to mimic a track stand so as to fool the others behind you that you are actually working.  I know you can do it.  I’ve seen you close the gaps and motorpace off those cars when you think someone else is going to take off.  I’ve seen you speaking to your teammate in X language and trying to get away on the descents when you don’t think I’m paying attention.  I know you.  Here’s a secret: You’re dropped.  You’re probably dropped because you are not as fit as the other girls (which does not mean you are not as good, just not as fit).  You will probably get more fit if you did some work, which probably means you cannot be soft-pedaling in the front or sitting on my wheel for 40k to sprint for 45th place in the end.  I don’t like it.  I don’t like it at all.  You will not get better.  I am nine years your senior and have not touched the bike for 6 (SIX) weeks before this race.  You will not get better sitting on my wheel.

Very tired,

Pan Pan Fan


6 thoughts on “Stage 3: Healy’s Pass

  1. Brilliant! Pan, ladies, you are an inspiration. Keep it going. And no, juniors won’t get better stuck on the wheels of gals like us. I’ve explained that to riders too. I was old enough to be her mum. I think they gravitate to people they know to be safe and steady. Like imitation, treat it as a compliment.

  2. Haha Charlie, I have to admit that I, too, find your wheel comforting. I think I just got used to it after all those rides we did in the fall! See you Sat :).

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