Wild Atlantic Way - Epic Rás na mBan Day 2

posted 11 Sep 2014, 13:55 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 11 Sep 2014, 14:47 ]
(By Steve Franzoni)   
Another day of glorious sunshine in Co Clare and our holiday... Sorry start again... Waking up at six this morning, today's nearly two hour transfer required an early start. All hands to the deck straight out of bed. Breakfast needed preparing, bikes, race food and spare equipment packed. Our four man crew worked hard for the 8:15 departure to the furthest west point of Clare - Loop head. 

On arrival the Atlantic greeted us with glorious views of the spectacular cliffs and sea. Approaching the cliffs we were greeted by a very cow poo covered road (the same one we needed to ride back out on later). The obligatory walk out to the edge made most of us more than nervous.  As we prepped for the 12 noon start the team huddled in blankets as all the teams arrived. We happened to be an hour early.

Ready to roll out to take on the Wild Atlantic Way
Roll out didn't come soon enough and as the stage started Stuart Cox and myself couldn't help wondering whether today's stage with two category 3 climbs and one category 1 climb would be harder than it looked.

It didn't disappoint. The first climb before Kilkee was entered through narrow roads and managed to break the bunch early on. A virtual two way split left bodies all over the road. Our two British riders used their experience to hold onto the pack well with Michelle also in the fray.  Sonja and Karen formed part of the next group on the road. They held well in this group through the next climbs into the finish.

Michelle held the main pack until Lahinch where a tricky descent caught her out. Up front, Jessie and Julie battled to keep contact through the days big climbs at the Cliffs of Moher and out of Doolin. A small split saw them distanced at one point but some strong riding got them get back on and in position for the sprint in Ballyvaughan.  In the end Jessie took a very respectable 7th in the sprint leaving her very well placed for general classification and Julie was 11th.  The stage was won by DID rider Tayler Wiles.  Full stage results and general classification HERE 

Tomorrow there is an early 10am individual time trial followed by a late 1 hour long criterium style race.  It's 9pm now and Colin Robbinson continues his massage routines trying to keep legs fresh and there's meeting still to have. We will keep you posted.

Wrapped up waiting to start stage 2
Wrapped up to keep warm ahead of the start