I’d never heard of Mount Leinster until I saw the pre race report of Stage 3 of the An Post Rás na mBan. That and a text from my Dad saying “Jeez, just heard a bit of the radio about today’s stage… Mt Leinster at the end? Ye’re mighty girls” Thanks Dad!
Quick pep talk by Eileen Roe guesting for WNT gave us an idea of what to expect, really steep at the start, then evens out then gets really steep again, then there’s a hairpin and a long steady drag to the finish, with a cattle grid thrown in somewhere!
Sounds good? Tag over 100km to the start of that, persistent pouring rain, howling winds and we were in for a treat!
The bunch stayed together till the foot of the climb, with a small breakaway containing the eventual stage and overall winner up the road. Me and my fellow Jadanites were all happy towards the front staying out of trouble in the few descents in the rain, shouts
of GELS and DRINK being shouted any time we saw each other. Climbing isn’t at all a forte of mine, so being in the front 10 riders when the climbed kicked off was the only way I was gonna get over without losing too much time, but disaster struck and into
the ditch I went having to unclip in the mud!
Sorted myself out and got back to climbing the wall of Mount Leinster, picked off a couple of riders but it was painful! We found out later that our youngest rider Shauna McFadden was geared on a 39/25 and can only say chapeau to her for making that work! Probably
motivated by her name being scrawled all over the climb!
The wind wrecked havoc on us already weaving all over the road with the strain! The aforementioned hairpin caused a bit of mayhem including to one of our own, Sarah, who managed to complete the last 3k of the stage on a bike 3 sizes too small for her with pedals
that didn’t match her cleats!
But to the top we all made it in some shape or form and I will never forget that stage for as long as I live, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a phrase that springs to mind!
Thanks to the Rás na mBan for having Team Jadan-Weldtite, to Victoria and Scott our manager and mechanic for looking out for us so well and all our sponsors who make stage races like this possible!
Over 23 Rider