Ras 2017: Stage Five – Teamwork beats fading time and soaring temps
WHEN the line-outs start after 10 of the day’s 180km on the year’s hottest afternoon so far, you know it’s going to be a big one.
The race up front has been completely torn apart in Donegal, and what it takes to make that happen did damage everywhere else too.
James Quinn was caught on the wrong side of the elastic when it would stretch no more. Now this isn’t a huge problem if it were any other day, but this was not any other day.
The realisation that they might be going home a few days earlier than Sunday hit the group hard though, and they knew they had to ride to make the day’s time limit.
Attempting to do the mathematics lead to some questionable ideas on what the pace should be but ‘as hard as you have left in you’ when they hit 5km was what was needed. Hitting 1km out, there were 3 minutes on the clock.
They made it in, just, JQ being officially the happiest man in Dungloe on Thursday night – the yellow jersey had nothing on him.
Up the road, Niall Dwyer, Ronan Killeen and John O’Regan finished safely in their group, having been well looked after by manager Justin and mechanic Lawrence in the baking conditions – the scores of empty five litre water drums in the back of the team car telling the story, not just for our team but for the lads in Scott-Orwell, who were also being serviced by us.
Even further up the road, we had Adam Greally, who was being serviced by the Scott-Orwell team car, while the Navan car was helping James all day – showing his bias for only talking Meath bottles.
Adam put in another great ride, losing a little more time then he wanted but continuing to perform at a high level. Given the make up of his group, it was clear to see today was the biggest day yet.
Whilst Lawrence has been a rock of support for the team, Louth Cuchullain were lucky to have him today too when one of their riders found his headtube barely hanging onto the fork mid-stage.
Anyone who knows about bikes (and those who don’t) will quickly realise that this is a perilous situation. Lawrence sorted him out with a spare bike and his own shoes – the rider’s shoes not being compatible the bike!
This evening Glengesh looms large on the horizon. If yesterday’s atmosphere up Mamore was anything to go by, everyone is expecting great things. There are some familiar faces expected on the slopes. First – to get there.