Stage 6 – Buncrana to KiIlybegs - May 25th - 134K

posted 22 May 2012, 12:54 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 26 May 2012, 04:43 ]
(By Shay O'Toole)   
Race The Rás Stage 6
Today was another very early start as we had to transfer back from our overnight hotel to Buncrana for a start time of 7.30am to commence today's stage of 85 miles to Killybegs.  With the factor 30 suncream being lashed on at the ungodly hour of 6.45am it was clear that we were in for another scorcher.  

With Team Wheelers all feeling the effects of the last few days and the thoughts of today's climbs turning our heads inside out, it was one of those days to just get the legs rolling for the first few miles and who better than Duffy to recognise that as he once again  gave a master class in pacing.  

Onwards through Letterkenny with the sun showing off Lough Swilly and God's Country at her best we sooon got the blood flowing and the pace gathered nicely. As we turned for Glenties we hit the start of the heavy draggy roads that this area is famous for and would be very familiar to our racing crew who have competed regularly in the Donegal 3Day (Damien, don't foret to give the cup back). 

35 miles in we started the first Cat 2 of the day  which in fairness was not too bad and it left us with an amazing descent which blew the s***e out of the group and started a war of attrition with lads trying to bridge gaps everywhere. However, speeds were nothing compared to the daredevil continental rider who reached 117km/h coming off Mamore yesterday. Yes you read that right,  just below the legal motorway spped limit! 

Anyway we eventually/thankfully reached Glenties tea stop to an almighty reception from the local community.  At this point I have to compliment the people of Donegal who without doubt have  opened their arms and facilities to Race the Rás and The Rás like no other county. They have been fantastic supporters and have given huge encouragement, especially on their brutal  mountains. After tea we were bound for Glengesh and immediately the  atmosphere in the bunch changed. The lower slopes were unreal as the heat started rising from the tar but as we turned at the hairpin it became intense. With nobody giving in, we all  somehow or other struggled over the top where  the motorbike outridres were almost devoured in our attempts to get liquids. From here we only had 30 odd miles to home but we also had to get over  three Category 2 climbs. 

The descent was once again extremely fast and it was great to see the Wheelers leading the charge at this stage of such a tough week. The final climbs were leg sapping especially the long steep pull all the way out of Kilcar. On reaching the 5km marker we all regrouped for yet another spin en masse into Killybegs and another huge rception from the Rás fans. Needless to say our averge speeds over the last 2 days have dropped dramatically due to the big climbs but we are still hitting between 17 and 18.5 mph which in the heat is  not too bad. 

WE are now only two sleeps from home so our plan is to hammer it but stay safe across Leitrim and Cavan,  which at 110 miles is the longest stage of the Rás.

Glengesh Climb