Team presentation before the start of stage 1.
Rolling to the start of stage 1.
One minute I'm in the middle of a stage race thinking it will never end and now I am back home writing a blog at 4 in the morning as I can't sleep because of being jet lagged.
Lucky number 66. Was a bit surprised by the shoulder numbers though. I thought that was a USA Cycling nationals thing.
The An Post Ras race is run like clockwork, as are most top ranked stage races. Everyday was practically the same. Breakfast at 8am, leave for race around 9:30-10am, start at 11am, finish around 2-3pm, massages and snacks before dinner at 6:30pm, team meeting at 8:30pm, and bed by 10pm. It really makes it go by fast and by the 3rd day it felt like I had just got off my bike and we were racing again.
Just a nice Ireland village. This was at the bottom of a pretty nice little climb.
Standing out in front of Ole Glory before the start of the one of the stages. I did sing the national anthem before stage 1 as it just didn't feel right not hearing it.
I could go on a describe stage by stage, but the time for that has come and gone. I would have loved to do that straight away, but the wifi over there hardly worked. The stages were either hard, or really hard.
I made a lot of efforts through out the race by trying to be aggressive which is what I set out to do. If I conserved a bit more maybe I could have finished overall a bit better, but then you might miss a very race decisive move. It's all hindsight now, but what I am happy about is I know I gave it my all.
One of the 8 three course dinners we had. Yes there we fancy and delicious, but the 2.5hrs to eat them seemed a little crazy. Especially after a long day of racing. If we could only have got a bit more bread tossed our way.
Dinners every night were rather similar. Also it was rather similar to Thanksgiving dinner every night. The starter was vegetable soup (no actual vegetables in it), followed by Turkey/Ham with 3 types of potatoes and vegetables, and dessert of apple pie.
There are some great climbs in the race and awesome roads. But my favorite day was being in the break all day on stage 6. I just really enjoy racing out front. I wish we could have made it stick, but it wasn't meant to be. Ryan however followed it up with a 10th place finish on the day. I did collect 4 KOM's along the way though. Racing off the front through the small villages along the way with all the people and school kids out shouting was pretty awesome.
Along the west coast of Ireland. Just magnificent. This picture does not even do it justice. Look at the great weather as well.
Another wonderful surprise was the weather. All we heard about before going was to be be prepared for rain. The team even purchased us new nice rain jackets. Turns out it was rather sunny every day as our super white Canadian teammate applied sunscreen daily and it only rained the 3 days before and the day we left. I think we had a wee bit of luck!
It took to my last evening in Ireland but I finally was able to get myself some fish and chips. It was from a take away restaurant and we at it on the curb. Served in a bag with salt and vinegar poured over. Man that was good eating.
Next up is ASCO, which is a huge cancer convention in Chicago where we will be part of the Astellas Oncologys expo booth, and then it is onto another UCI international stage race in Canada, The Tour de Beauce. Super excited for this one.