Ras na mBan: Stage 6

Day 5: Moll’s Gap 58k (flat, uphill, downhill into the wind)

By Helen

Molls Gap was tough. The toughest day yet. Not because of the terrain or the weather but because our hearts were heavy.

Yesterday we had everything. Today we had nothing. All our efforts with nothing to show for it. It was hard.

In many ways racing is like life condensed: highs, lows, trials and jubilations all thrown into 1-3hrs. We’d been thrown a curveball. Sure we were disappointed but that’s life. Can’t control everything that happens, but we could decide whether or not that was it for us. But as a team we had unanimously agreed that we needed to finish as positively as we had started.

With the ever-encouraging team manager, Ger, and upbeat mechanic, Tim, we put our heads together and hatched a plan.

Molls Gap, the uphill

Some of the plan went well, some not so well. Elise carried on attacking. I gave it a couple of goes. We got chased down. Lots of people had a go off the front – Dutch riders, Scottish lasses. It was do or die time. There were those defending position on GC and those who had nothing to lose. Made for an interesting race.

The wind over the top of Molls Gap was properly Irish! I think we were going faster up to the top (and let’s face it after 15/20mins of climbing we weren’t at full pelt) than on the crest and descent. I looked for a wheel. Any wheel. I found that the tiny Scottish rider’s wheel was free. I took it. She probably weighs half what I do but knew if I let go, I’d be gapped in no time. Its really telling when the peloton are struggling to muster 8mph. The wind was slamming us back.

Moll’s Gap, the downhill

At about this time Elise’s hubby and daughter appeared on a windswept bank high above the road, standing among the clouds…or perhaps they were sheep, I was losing it a bit, cheering for us. Elise took to the helm and pushed on towards home. The wind changed. The peloton gathered pace and we were soaring down the hill toward home and glory.

Attacks started going but getting reeled in. I saw some powerful ones go, that I thought ‘shoot that’s it that’s the move’, but even they got pulled back in.

Then there were sheep.

Danger in candyfloss form. SHEEP!

I was chasing a group with Elise when they suddenly started slowing up and shouting. We shouted to the riders behind. SHEEP! Silly so-and-sos. We got round them OK, thanks to some good motorbike skills up front, but cripes that was more excitement than I really wanted.

The peloton was still about 30 strong and getting faster with each KM (Elise!)

Siobhan came past me. I sat on her wheel. We saw Lou. We saw Elise. We gathered. I sat on Lou’s wheel but lost it. That didn’t matter too much the best lead out train had come together when it needed to. Siobhan, unfazed by the increasingly jumpy peloton carved a path through. When the time came, Elise came round and stepped on the gas like only she can. And then BANG! Louise went for it.

Unfortnately for us, Karla saw a good thing and sat on Lou’s wheel and managed to get round to take the win. I think Karla would agree that was a good leadout 🙂

The sprint was tight. We thought we might have 2nd place, but it was 3rd. No matter, we’d ended on a good performance and Ger and Tim were on hand with sweet drinks and coats. (Another podium finish for Lou).

Sometimes results and performance cross paths, sometimes they don’t. We took what we were given and we did more than we ever expected to be able to.

Last year we weren’t in a position to ride together, this year having practiced more (although not us 4 together) it kind of happened. It wasn’t perfect, and we would have liked to have kept the jerseys, but then there’s always next year. I’ve learnt a lot and can see areas for improvement, so that will help me pass away long winter nights on the turbo thinking about what I am going to do next time. Mwhahahahaha!

It was hard, then we hit the wind!

I’d like to thank Ger and Tim for being an ace team – always with a carrot and never a stick. The staff at Sneem Hotel were lovely from reception, to the waiting crew. Thanks Louis for first class accomodation and food (we’re spoilt – 4* accommodation – oh yeah! You’re treated well at the Ras). Thanks to the media team for shouting about what we are doing. Let’s hope that interest grows. Thanks to the judges, marshalls, out-riders, organisers (esp. Valerie and Louis) and commissaires without whom there’s be no race. Cheers to the people of Sneem, Kerry and Cork who welcomed the race – you may not get the weather but you get a warm welcome. Lots of respect and high-5s to all the girls racing – everyone put their heart and soul in to it, I hope everyone feels proud. We beat the XXXX out of each other and it was good!

Class act. Danish team ‘L Reelight/Bike To’ conquered.

The Ras inspires, the Ras liberates, I dream of being a pro rider, riding with my mates. ( I know. If I wasn’t a cyclist I could be a poet. Is there no start to my talents?)

This vid from Orwell Wheelers made me feel all warm and fuzzy:


General Classification ———————————————————————— PL No. UCI Code Name CAT Team GC Time @ 1 8 DEN19930818 Vallin,Kamilla Sofie L Reelight/Bike To 11h08’58” 2 1 IRL19870719 Boylan,Lydia L Irish National T 11h09’04” @06″ 3 19 GBR19790728 Bunn,Lowri L Abergavenny RC 11h09’11” @13″ 4 6 DENI9960524 Dideriksen,Amalie L Reelight/Bike To 11h09’23” @25″ 5 32 GBR19850926 Boddy,Karla L High Wycombe CC 11h09’28” @30″ 6 54 IRL19810430 Meade,Fiona L Cycling Munster 11h09’43” @45″ 7 35 IRL19870102 McNamara,Siobhan L Look Mum No Hand 11h10’46” @01’48” 8 60 GBR19870721 Ewing,Anne L Black Rose Cycli 11h13’19” @04’21” 9 22 GBR19840810 Murray,Laura L Abergavenny RC 11h13’55” @04’57” 10 37 IRL19780117 Moriarty,Louise L Look Mum No Hand 11h17’18” @08’20” 11 3 IRL19810718 Dalton,Anne 4 Irish National T 11h18’54” @09’56” 12 27 GBR19871014 Sewell,Iona L Geoffrey Butler 11h21’32” @12’34” 13 12 NED19920925 Lenting,Charlotte L NWVG Bike 4 Air- 11h22’02” @13’04” 14 34 GBR19870203 Evans,Mary Hannah L High Wycombe CC 11h22’19” @13’21” 15 14 NED19840824 Postma,Mary Rose L NWVG Bike 4 Air- 11h22’20” @13’22” 16 16 NED19940901 Markus,Riejanne L District Team NH 11h22’21” @13’23” 17 9 DEN19940112 Olsen,AmalieWinther L Reelight/Bike To 11h22’30” @13’32” 18 61 IRL19670112 Moran,Tonya L Black Rose Cycli 11h22’49” @13’51” 19 47 SWE19881222 Nordin,Gabriella L Sandy Wallace Cy 11h23’00” @14’02” 20 13 NED19911107 Oudman,Hilde L NWVG Bike 4 Air- 11h27’55” @18’57” 21 10 JPN19830104 Hori,Yukiyo L NWVG Bike 4 Air- 11h28’20” @19’22” 22 18 NED19851105 Visser,Silja L District Team NH 11h28’53” @19’55” 23 38 GBR19750727 Sherwell,Elsie L Look Mum No Hand 11h28’56” @19’58” 24 64 IRL19750622 Buckley,Patricia L DTC Orwell Wheel 11h33’47” @24’49” 25 20 GBR19950150 Hill,Amy L Abergavenny RC 11h34’58” @26’00” 26 53 IRL19870501 Stephens,Niamh L Cycling Leinster 11h35’07” @26’09” 27 48 GBR19830215 Taylor,Gillian L Abergavenny RC 11h35’14” @26’16” 28 33 FRA19840515 Copie,Clemence L High Wycombe CC 11h44’57” @35’59” 29 70 IRL19660115 Marconi,Monica L Orwell Joe Daly 11h46’48” @37’50” 30 51 GBR19850612 McDonald,Charlotte L Cycling Leinster 11h48’29” @39’31” 31 36 GBR19780210 McKay,Helen L Look Mum No Hand 11h50’13” @41’15” 32 58 ESP19861105 Ortiz,Sara L Black Rose Cycli 11h51’44” @42’46” 33 2 IRL19871201 Brice,Amy L Irish National T 11h56’13” @47’15” 34 50 IRL19710210 Cooke,Fiona L Cycling Leinster 11h57’38” @48’40” 35 72 IRL19720906 Feton,Vanessa L 3D TC 11h59’35” @50’37” 36 52 IRL19800818 McEvoy,Orla L Cycling Leinster 12h00’36” @51’38” 37 28 GBR19840111 Maidment,Sarah L Geoffrey Butler 12h05’13” @56’15” 38 62 IRL19780612 Kennedy,Roisin L Black Rose Racin 12h07’09” @58’11” 39 25 Erskine,Julie L Aberdeen Wheeler 12h14’03” @1h05’05” 40 57 IRL19730814 Keohane,Anne L Cycling Munster 12h15’24” @1h06’26” 41 77 IRL19780124 Robinson,Karen L 3D TC 12h18’04” @1h09’06” 42 74 IRL Fox,Marie L 3D TC 12h23’17” @1h14’19” 43 63 IRL19631006 Hendron,Orla L DTC Orwell Wheel 12h32’14” @1h23’16” 44 68 IRL Cogan,Isabel L Orwell Joe Daly 12h49’52” @1h40’54” 45 67 IRL19811025 Soden,Lucy L DTC Orwell Wheel 12h54’34” @1h45’36” 46 39 Taromsari,Ishbel L Pedal Power Race 13h00’59” @1h52’01” 47 79 IRL19941114 Gourlay,Lauren L Orwell Joe Daly 13h27’21” @2h18’23” 48 56 IRL19930606 Doherty,Nicola L Cycling Munster 13h33’19” @2h24’21” 49 65 IRL19770712 Donnelly,Margaret L DTC Orwell Wheel 13h37’13” @2h28’15” 50 26 Perry,Jo-Ann L Deal Tri Club 13h53’16” @2h44’18” 51 75 IRL19720904 Finn,Tania L 3D TC 13h56’24” @2h47’26” 52 76 IRL19761227 Mulvany,Maria L 3D TC 14h18’49” @3h09’51” 53 69 IRL19800923 Downes,Catherine L Orwell Joe Daly 14h48’20” @3h39’22”


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