So, I did the Gorey 3-day this year. The last two Easters I've raced the Ras Mumhan in Kerry as the only girl, but this year I got talked into doing the Gorey.
Stage 1: Blessington to Gorey
My head wasn't in it, PhD was taking up too much real estate. I was scared in the bunch of 180 riders (only 4 women) leaving the start, and sure enough, the first crash happened just outside Blessington when a rider crashed smack bang into a car. Not really helping my confidence in the bunch there. It took me about half the day to get used to the nerve-wracking experience of excited riders invading my personal space at over 50k an hour. Unfortunately I was sitting in the bunch too far back when it split over the hill in Hackettstown, so that I was in the group that arrived 5min down. So was the Manx girl, the only girl who made it into that group too.
Stage 2: 6.4km TT, no wait, 5.8km TT
Well, the finish line did come early, much earlier than advertised in the race booklet. I thought I went out too hard as usual, but looking at the power file I actually didn't pace it too badly. Not too happy with my average wattage though. The Manx girl gained 12 seconds on me. The question is: would I have been able to match her time if I was on a TT bike too?
Stage 3: 4 laps of a "24km circuit", starting at "Monument top Gorey"....??
Might mention Google Maps and course profile to the organizers... I finally got head around bunch racing again. Enjoyed trying to fight my way to the front through 160+ riders and actually made it to the front. Another proud moment for me was that I didn't sit up during the mayhem of the bunch sprint. I wasn't anywhere near the front, but I was with that part of the bunch that did not sit up but sprinted for the line. What a rush! The Manx girl was the same time.
Stage 4: Gorey to Blessington
I wish I could zoom myself up to the front in an instance. I could see a group riding off the front, not attacking, but just riding away nice and easy. You could see them for ages! But it took me ages to get to the front and by the time I was there, they were far gone. I rode in what felt like the front 3rd of the bunch for a good while, so I'm really happy with that. We never caught the group of about 21 riders, but our bunch still sprinted for the line, and again I was happy enough to be involved in the fast action. Pity they didn't bother putting the results in order of finishing, but I think I was about 35th of our bunch sprint. Manx girl was also in this group, so she won the overall.
Huge thanks are in order to the South Dublin CC who took great care of us girls over the weekend, especially Colm, Mick and JP.
So, now I've done it, but I think I'll be back in the hills of Ras Mumhan next year. Or maybe the Ras Chonamara, it's got hills too. I like hills.