Another day from hell, Newport to Ballina. Apparently only about 50km as the crow flies, but we managed to make it 142km and found a few climbs on the way. Just before the off at 11 the slight rain got heavier and it was another gillet and overshoes day. I knew also that it would be another day of a battering with the crosswinds.
The first 16km was fast and I was working hard to stay close to the front. The rain was steadily coming down and the spray from the wheels coupled with traffic and road furniture made it all stressful and hectic. When we did finally hit the crosswinds I was once again found wanting. I don’t seem to have the same power with those crosswinds as the gaps start to open everywhere.
The killer thing is it is an insane 20 to 30mins then unless you are in the front or chase group it becomes a relatively easy day. I wasn’t strong enough to be in either group and with 50 or so up the road the main bunch just rolled along pretty much disinterested for the rest of the day, coming in some 21mins down.
I am finding it a bit frustrating as I believe I am a better rider than the last 2 days would suggest but you loose out in those crucial sections and your day is done. Tomorrow is the longest stage and we head back inland. Hopefully the crosswinds are behind us and I’ll start to fair out better.
Tonight we are in the same hotel for thd 2nd night which makes life a bit easier. The day goes by so quickly. After the stage food then drive to digs. Between eating, massage, showering, sorting gear, dinner and relaxing the evening goes by quickly. The support crew work their hands to the bone, honestly we, the riders, are unbelievably demanding. Dinner is good craic and spirits are still high. Appetites are not as impressive as earlier in the week. Porridge, muesli and rice are still consumed in copious quantities. We have 2 rice cookers with us and at least twice a day you’ll have a snack of rice with pesto and cheese with tuna or parma ham. Undoubtedly the highlight of the day comes at breakast, 2 bowls of porridge, scrambled egg with a slice of bacon and then the mandatory, blissfull bowl of coco pops. To quote Colin Farrell from Intermission, in his best Dublin drawl “man, thats fu*!in delicis”