I must admit I had huge reservations about this race. I felt I wasn't ready. You didn't hear of me on stickybottle getting up in races and to be honest I was getting a kicking in some races I did. I was coming good but I still felt I wasnt right. I dont want to go down the swimming and running road aiming blame there, I feel that is a cop out. At the end of the day my name was down to do the ras. Nobody would give a dam how or what I was doing. The Ras is cut throat, a rat race, a real shit fight.
I was mentally ready, I always am and also because Ive great support, constant reassurance from my wife and from Brendan Grimes my manager. Hes been chipping away at not only me but the rest of the guys for months. Hes a great character and a leader. He instills fun and high standards for us. As he says himself hes no filter.. he'll say it how it is... ''you were soft today''...'' not good enough''.. The compliments come too but you have to earn them!!
I gave a day to day small report on the race on my facebook page so I wont go into great detail on what the days were like. Ill give an overall opinion on our week. The Ras is a huge effort with 5 riders and 4 staff. The days are 7am to 10pm and everyone does their turn. To get a team into the ras isnt easy it takes months of begging sponsors to make our dreams happen. From speaking to some guys some clubs wont fund a ras team or even give a contribution, I cant understand that. Some clubs don't know what to do with their resources. The social and casual side of cycling has added revenue to clubs but they're at a loss as to what to do with it. That side of the club seems to have ripped the history of Racing clubs apart. Maybe they'll be back. To our Sponsors ASEA and Wheelworx we are grateful and I hope we expressed our passion for riding on this team last week. Its not only them that have helped, Niall clarke Oils/Topaz VeloRevolution, Spar Baggot Mile, Trek, Cyclepowermeters. Id love to mention a vehicle company...(maybe next year, wink wink!)
Very quickly about the race and how I perceived it- It was faultless in the sense of organisation and starting at dublin castle was perfect. The weather made this alot easier mind you but nevertheless the setting was special. Tony Campbell must of shook my hand and hugged me a million times over the 8 days along with every other person.. I can see his passion and love for the race. He wants the county man there.
I raced like i always do and the competitive guys nationally did the same, it was great to see county riders popping off the front. Eoin Morton and myself were the first to light it up on day two and we were good partners in crime. I'm glad one of us won it and i'm glad the other didnt get mopped up by the bunch. Eoin deserves his place in history and got the rewarded for his efforts. Mark Dowling had a superb ras and his final gc place doesn't do him justice, with punctures and caught behind crashes he would have easily been plus 18 minutes. He rode at the front all week. Lacey and Feely were other stand out riders that attacked with heart. I was surprised as anyone to get the Mountains jersey for a day and I actually finished 2nd overall in that competition!!.. At the end of the day the pros are just like us. I keep saying the standard here is as good as that in the uk.. they're just made out to be superstars with the coverage on eurosport. The respect is there from them and I saw that we got more room at the front this year. Maybe there's a window of opportunity for a TV station to film us.
I must apologize for my actions mid race where I lost my cool, I do not however take back what I said. Anyone who was there will understand what I mean.
The County race
I don't want to discredit or make little of this prize but It can make the race negative, a race within a race. My team won the Team prize and we accepted it wholeheartedly but we didn't set out to win it. We'd rather get up the road one day and rest the next or something like that!. It was clear that this was a focus for a few teams and I feel they did not race their normal way. That point could be discussed at length. The overall county rider was won be Ian Richardson, my biggest problem was i was within 25 secs of that jersey for a few days. Its very difficult for me to criticize Ian because he is one of the best riders in this country and had a decent ras but Ian rode that race like the Yellow jersey and chased only who was a treat to him ie me, thus pulling the bunch up to me. I feel Ian has ticked that box last year and he might of found more out about himself had he attacked and went in a break. But that's just me. I think the Overall GC county rider prize should be scrapped and let the county man who is first man over the line wear the coveted Blue jersey the following day. That way you'll see a race with no agenda.
Where to now..
I ran today.. slowly. enough said.