Beast Of The Burren Tamed As Wheelers Take 5th on Day 4

posted 13 Sep 2014, 13:52 by Kevin Monaghan
(By Steve Franzoni)   
Day four of this year's Rás na mBan seems to have arrived very quickly. Time always flies when your having fun and I think generally speaking this years Rás has been great Craic. At dinner tonight, as even more support crew arrived, our party now numbers fifteen. We realised that every other team staying in the hostel sit quietly contemplating life over food, we however just take the mick and laugh way too loud. 

Some of today's particular gems included as usual Colin (Colombo) Robinson's stories which get ever more random and confuse poor Jessie, our star sprinter. Some new made-up names included grapping, which translates to eating grapes while being fanned as possible fantasy of Julie's. "Average handballs" which is a new term for people who sit a dinner looking very bored and devoid of humour. Nothing wrong with this five stages into this kind of hardship. Apart from the constant banter and support crew frolics there still appears to be some kind of race happening around here. A race which increasingly our crew of riders get more comfortable and confident in.

Today's stage started at 12 noon in Ballyvaughan and was aptly named The Beast of the Burren and it certainly didn't disappoint. The route travelled 105km through the best of the Burren's scenery and unfortunately the best of its hills. First up was a category three climb which was no sooner over before an uncategorised climb started which was twice as bad.
Tough Climbing for the Wheelers Women on Stage Four
Tough Climbing for the Wheelers Women on Stage Four

The next categorised category one climb was a steep killer out of Doolin. Unprepared because we thought the climb was further back down the road, all the girls felt this one was better tackled without any prior knowledge. Sonja even said if she knew what was coming she would never had ridden it at all.  After a relatively flat ish 50km the last climb of the day a category one was on very narrow twisty roads. The stage then finished with a 20km downhill run back into Ballyvaughan.

Spirits were good today in the camp heading into the stage and this showed in the results. Michelle Sonja and Karen battled hard and had their best day yet coming in after the main group but in strong company. We are all impressed. Our guest riders held fast in the main group and yet again fared very well. Julie was 12th and Jessie was a very respectable 5th. You girls will earn those Wheelers jackets yet.

On a more light hearted note Stuart's and my day - if not our week - was made by Julie requesting a bottle mid stage and Stuart having to drive like a madman through the peleton up to the main group.  On a less funny note for Jessie but on a very humorous and educational one for me, Jessie's 5th place earned her a drug test from the Sports Council. Jessie had made a mad dash for the toilet straight after the stage and we had a good wait with the chaperone will nature ran it's course. All the jokes were in my mind but we had to remain very serious to avoid any stage fright or further delays. 

Tomorrow and departure looms and I can't help feeling a little sad. Great few days so far with great company.  I must go now as Stuart is about to parade his high-heels for the group.

The ever-increasing circle of support crew members
Pretty in Pink! - The ever-increasing circle of support crew members