Rás reporting from Seomra a Seacht ...by Creda (Ciara & Breda!)

Ciara Ni Fhlathartaigh and Breda Horan are two Rás na mBan Rookies who are sharing a room this week. They have taken the time to compile a race diary for us! We will add to it daily and keep up with their antics.

Day 1

There was a day 1?  It's all a bit of a blurr - leaving Dublin, registering, eating, racing, eating, sleeping.......

 

Day 2

Day 2 was wet n' windy morning with the "welotoze" out in force.

The start was steady with less bursts than yesterday as the teams from warmer climates were very wary of the wet roads. Most of bunch stayed together until the 6km climb at 23k - then it was stretched out with Lauren, Breda and Isobel in front bunch closely followed by Sinead and Ciara in groups behind.

The front bunch was strung out on the second drag out of Castlecomer with Isobel and Lauren staying in front group. Breda H with Team Leinster in next bunch and delirra keeping company with Lydia Boylan as part of the gang! Breda fought her way back through the cars and the group caught a few more riders up the road and the group of 12 riders stayed together to the finish. With no organisation in the group the pace was slower so hopefully leaving fresher legs for tomorrows ascent of Mount Leinster.

Sinéad was in the bunch with Ni F following in a group of 7 behind in the company of Dublin Wheelers Lyndsey Bryce and a mix of English and Norwegian riders. That group eventually was whittled down to four as we lost a few out the back and the remaining 4 worked well together to do a windy, wet and mishty slog to the finish. 

Isobel was very unfortunate to crash 10km from the finish and was unable to cross the line having stayed with the front group for the entire race. She had some elbow stitching  by the the Superdoc who is our very own Lucylou Soden and had to attend to the GP to get a tetanus. She was well looked after by the very capable Freiband - who is partial to a hospital visit herself - and also Orla H who was overseeing all proceedings with due diligence ;)!

The support team are playing an absolute blinder with Mihai, who has been renamed Michéal, doing great work with the bikes, Gillian taking the knots out of tired legs and driving the van that requires a braking distance of 3km....a very delicate procedure, Monica masquerading as a very able one armed bandit making stem notes and helping to organise our timetables etc and Orla driving the team car and organising our highly important feeding activities and just being her usual managerial self :)

Breakfast with the support crew
Isobel is unfortunately unable to start tomorrow but the remainder of the team are in reasonably good spirits prepping for the long Mount Leinster stage tomorrow. Breda has been noted to have laid out 15 gels for tomorrow with Ciara packing a full hamper basket of hang sangwiges, kit-kats, Camembert cheese and a small bag of new potatoes in anticipation of the time it will take to complete the stage. #beprepared :)
 
Talk to you all tomorrow - if we have any air left in our lungs!
 
 
Day 3: Seomra a Seacht today reporting on Mount Leinster

Ciara:

Having lost Isobel to Thursdays crash 4 riders set out yesterday to tackle the hardest stage - a 110km race distance with a trip up Mount Leinster at the end. My goal was to try stay with the main peloton as long as possible as an early drop would risk not making the time cut off due to the length of the stage.

The pace was pretty brisk to start and I was managing to stay with the cool kids until roughly 17km when  they blew the whistle for an upcoming island.  This creates a sudden narrowing in the group and I became the filling for a bike sandwich as a rider came in from the right and I was already pretty schtuck to the rider on my left. She managed to hook the handlebars under mine and get her pedal caught in my chain and lifted it off. I unclipped both feet and pulled off a bit of cyclocross as I  tipped right and pushed off the ground with my foot,  then tipped left and did the same and managed to stay upright and manoeuvre off to the side with both feet out. A quick chain back on and my heart sank as I watched the bunch weaving up the road.

I struggle to stay on when I'm in it never mind when they are up the road! I put the boot down and started to try catch them.  I worked my way back up through the cavalcade and thankfully managed to regain contact with the group having burnt enough matches to light all the candles on a 90th birthday cake - knowing full well it would come back to bite me on the ass later on.  I had 3 more non mechanical related drops off the group but managed to get back on each time until the 4th time where I just couldn't pull it off - the legs were gone! I knew I wasn't at the back and looked behind but couldn't see anyone.  I realised I had reached 60km with the peloton but still had a long stretch ahead of me. 

The next 40km before Mount Leinster was a solo slog on a wide exposed stretch of road with some headwind and already burnt out legs. There were many, many small violins playing in my head at that point and if I had my mobile with me I would have considered ringing the Samaritans phone line for some moral support.  I knew it was a case of getting the head down, fueling and drinking well and focusing on getting to Mount Leinster - once there I would deal with the climb.

At this point I spotted flashing lights on a car up ahead and realised that I now had my very own lead car ...#notions...which stayed with me for the entire 40k. He let me know that there were a few behind me but wasnt sure how far back they were so I decided to push on.  He dropped back to me at one point and may have mistaken me for either a seasoned  racer or a person with 4 arms as he offered me a closed can of coke and a bar in a wrapper  - and looked completely bewildered when I tried to explain 'sure I'm not going to be able to open that '. A bit of manoeuvring later and a much needed opened can and bar was passed through the window. There were some serious mental challenges during that spell to the point that at one stage I was counting every pedal stroke and resting one leg every 5th rotation  just to keep moving. In sailing there's a term they use  - 'hold your line' - where you are aiming for a mark in a race and whatever happens with the tide/wind/etc you keep your eye on the mark and adapt to the other variables as you go. My line yesterday was getting to Mount Leinster regardless of what my body wanted to do. I made slow progress on any class of an incline during that 40km and I'm pretty sure the lead car pulled in for a short nap every time the road went up....I think he may have also caught the 13pm mass going through one of the town's. Serious kudos to him as he dropped back a few times to make sure I was OK and was so supportive. 

At one stage I was running low on fuel and water and just at the right time the ever helpful John Hammer popped up on the side of the road like a mirage with water and a gel.  I was somewhat delirious at that stage and took the bottle from him but forgot to slow down to get the gel making him run up the road after me to shove it in my pocket - sorry John and thank you! Some much needed encouragement from Sean Rowe along the road as well - it all makes a difference.

Two girls from an English team then caught up with me and I managed to have a short rest for 4km sitting on their wheel until we hit the mountain.  Given that both of them together weighed less than I do it was a short lived companionship. Going up that mountain I regretted every pie and bun that I eaten in the last 5 years. I cursed the 25 skittles my roomie Breda Horan had given me the day before as I was sure the blue ones were particularly heavy.  I told myself off for not listening to my coach Gavin from HupHup  who had sensibly suggested I wait another year to try Rás. I looked behind several times in case a sheep had attached itself to my wheel as it felt like I was pulling an entire flock up the climb. I reached the first hump near the finish and got a very welcome push over the top from a helpful chap who had correctly read the situation in that I was on my last legs and liable to roll backwards at any minute.  

The relief at reaching the finish was overwhelming  and I was met by the super Scott Orwell support team ready with jackets and food. I wasn't sure if i was going to keel over, throw up or start to recite the speech that they say in Croke Park for the all Ireland..."Tá an áthas orm...etc etc". (The Ní Fhlathartaigh in me is never far from the surface!) A hug from Gillian and a well done from Orla and then the tears came - short lived mind you - but they made a rare appearance until I became aware of not dehydrating myself unnecessarily as there were 3 more stages to go and so I needed to smarten up and pull myself together! 

An epic stage with a multitude of emotions which is what Rás seems to get out of you. Extreme highs and lows cushioned by the amazing support from not just your own team but also the other Irish rider teams support who all look out for you - as the saying goes it takes a village! 

Sinead also put in a tough day yesterday with only one person for company  - again a hard slog with little shelter and felt it was an improved performance on last year's efforts. 

Support team of Orla, Gillian, Mihai and Monica doing a super job of minding and feeding everyone and it's much appreciated my everyone...we are just to tired to say thanks properly yet...

Breda:

Aim for the day: position myself better in the bunch and get to 60k for the QOM without getting dropped.

When I heard a ‘fffttttsssssss’ at the start of a drag around  50k, my first thought was ‘game over’. It was fun while it lasted. I pulled over and there was no puncture in either front or rear wheel but the neutral service man spotted a stone jammed between the brake and tyre. A quick fix and I was making my way up through the cavalcade. I caught the peloton before the descent and I could recover for a while. I was off the back again after the second QOM with a few more but we managed to get back on the descent again. Now to just stay in the bunch until Mount Leinster.

Once we hit the climb proper it strung out straight away and the cars started to make their way by. As soon as I was over the toughest section I put my head down and tried to catch any riders I could see just ahead of me. So much relief crossing that finish line and seeing Gillian with a can of coke and a hug!

Unfortunately Lauren had her wheel clipped and was taken down at the start of the climb. She had been very well positioned in the front group but still managed to put in a very strong finish.

3 more stages....and on it goes...

Seomara a Seacht and the Final Two Days of Rás na mBan!

The last two days of Rás na mBan are always a hectic blurr of racing! With two stages on Saturday and the final hurrah on Sunday the Women of Seomra a Seacht have now had a chance to catch up on their diary writing and reflect on a week that they will definitely never forget!!

Breda:

Stage 4: TT

One benefit of not being high on GC was an early start in the TT. Orla took us on a recce of the course that morning in the car and we debated tactics. I rode the first part of the course just to see how my legs were feeling but it didn’t take me long to turn back and just stay ignorant of the pain that lay ahead. Having ridden Mount Leinster the day before I had a fair idea of how much time could be lost on today’s stage. Back at the van I quickly removed the bottle cages and even left the screws off. Rumour was Nikki Juniper and the British squad were removing theirs - marginal gains right?

Mihai was on hand to even carry my bike onto the start ramp for me and I sat and waited while the riders went off ahead of me - it all felt very ‘Pro’. Whatever about the camera man at the start of the ramp, I certainly wasn’t expecting someone to be on the course on the moto recording the suffering. ‘’Just don’t pull any strange faces’’.

I managed to catch my minute mark before 3k and I could see the 2 minute mark ahead of her but the steeper sections were still to come. I crossed the line having given it my all and I rolled back to the van, where Gillian had the live results on her phone. Quick chats and we were back to the B&B to get prepped for the Criterium.

Breda giving it all in the TT, photo thanks to Sean Rowe

 

Stage 5: Crit

The least said about this stage the better. Once I could hold on for a suitable amount of time and stay upright, I would be happy. Once the pace picked up after the three neutralised laps my legs just said no. It was great to have the support along the route on the night, especially considering the weather. My group was pulled after 40 mins with five laps to go. One of the guest riders for TC was worried it meant a DNF but we put her mind at ease. It was great watching the riders with Lauren right up there in the front group and had a great result finishing sixth.

 

Laatste Etappe!!!

My nerves were worse this morning more than any other. The fear of not crossing the finish line had my stomach doing somersaults. The pace was quick with constant attacks and I was making sure to maintain a good position towards the front of the bunch. I made sure not to make the same mistakes of being near the back going through the narrow streets of Thomastown and stuck there until the start of the Woodstock climb. It paid off as I was being passed on all sides but I found an extra gear passing the Orwell supporters.

I was unlucky on the bottom of the descent and had a bump with the bridge. Got going again with a push from neutral service and tried to catch up with the group just ahead but the legs didn’t have it in them to go any faster even with shouts of encouragement from the cars. I was on my own for a good 10K before a marshal told me there were four girls behind me. Sweet relief! It felt like a constant headwind so any shelter would be welcome. We worked well together and with about 10k to go Brian from Leinster came to our rescue, filling bidons and offering a bit of shelter.

I had thought I would be overcome with emotion crossing the finish line of my first Ras and bawl my eyes out but thankfully I managed to contain myself. To think I wasn’t going to enter, so thanks to Orla Hendron and Eddie Lane for changing my mind for me!!

 

Breda's Post Rás Reflections:

Pit of the week?

  • Stopping thinking I that had a puncture when I didn’t and having to ride out of my skin to get back on.

Peak of the week? Too many to mention but

  • Being looked after by the Orwell crew - Orla, Gillian, Mihai & Monica
  • The cheers from the crowd
  • Text messages and phone calls of well wishes
  • TT Stage
  • Chats and lolz with the other riders
  • The endless laughs at breakfast, lunch and dinner provided by Ciara Ni F
  • Pushing my limits and getting stronger every day
  • Inspiring me to enter again next year but fitter and stronger

 

Team Creda - photo thanks to Sean Rowe

And the last word (actually words, LOTS of words!) from Ciara - because we wouldn't have it any other way:

Day 3: The Double Header of Stages 4 and 5

Today was to be a double stage with a 6km hill climb TT and a crit around the streets of Kilkenny in the evening.  Our superstar team manager Orla Hendron got us there in time to drive the course and given the undulating nature of the 6km there was a big ring versus small ring unresolved debate in the car. Orla advised that we warm up on the turbo but leave enough time to ride the first 2km and then decide what was the best gearing to use.

Heaven forbid would I ever pay heed to what the team manager was advising and I didn’t leave enough time to do a proper recce on the bike due to the amount of essential chatting meetings I needed to attend to.  Suddenly (i.e 90 mins later) I was due to start and decided that I would take off in the big ring, take my chances and could gear down if needed.

The TT start was an experience in itself with a full on stage with ramp set up, but we had Gillian standing by while we were waiting to help calm the nerves. I took off as fast as I could but given the previous two days activities my legs very quickly started to burn as the road ramped up.

At that point a motorcycle with a camera man on the back started to drive alongside me filming what I would imagine not to be my most attractive facial expression. I needed to drop the gearing, but given the incline was afraid that the chain would drop while on camera so continued on despite my exploding legs. Based on my numbers, my coach later commented that ‘more control was needed at the start, I’d say that hurt’ … but when on camera one has to put ones best foot forward and (a) not risk looking like a complete spanner by dropping the chain (b) not risk rolling backwards and make an absolute show of oneself.

Once the film crew had gone I got into the proper gearing and tried to catch the rider ahead. I managed to catch up and for a brief 10 seconds got past her until she took one look at me, ramped it up a gear and inched past me again. I was reasonably happy with the result and we set off back to base for some R & R before the crit. Monica and her co-pilot James set up a much needed lunch and we refuelled and went back for a rest.

 

Stage 5

Ciara in the Crit Stage, photo thanks to Sean Rowe

The second stage of the day was the crit, a 45 min + 3 laps circuit around the centre of Kilkenny. This was the part I was most afraid of, especially given that I am just about getting to grips with fast cornering. The crit was going to be superfast, with a heape more riders than I am used to and to top it all off, it started to rain to ensure maximum slippiness.  It was so lovely to see the Orwellians out in force to support and our own team crew were on hand to help with the pre-race jitters which were stronger than usual.

I did a few laps and tried to familiarise myself with the course – with one corner in particular being particularly tricky after a descent. As time went on, the apprehension was building and I just wanted it to start. The group gathered and started to roll – I breathed a sigh of relief that it had finally started – once you are on the move the nerves are replaced by concentration -  but then we were stopped again as we had to gather and wait for the TT presentations to finish.

None of this was helping the fear that had taken hold and as I sat in the bunch waiting for the off, I began to feel a little ill and thought up some marvellous stories as to why I would need to bow out and not start. I was waiting beside Maura and Jen from Team Leinster and given that Jen had done it last year I asked her how it was, looking for any sliver of reassurance. Being her very practical self she responded with a ‘yeah once it starts its dog eat dog really’…which actually made me pull myself together a bit and focus on giving it my best shot.  At that point I decided to offload anything I could and passed my bottle to Gillian assuring her that I had no intention of taking my hands off the handlebars for this one and wouldn’t need it.

There were 3 neutralised laps which were fine – then the peloton took off at high speed. I kept up for a few laps, but slowly drifted off the back of the bunch as it stretched out -  with a small group at first then solo, with a small few behind me. Once I was on my own, I assumed they would pull me quickly – but as I wasn’t in danger of being lapped for a while, I was to continue for almost 33 minutes. I was surprised that I was out for that long and at one point when they blew a whistle for me coming around a corner – I hopefully asked the whistle-blower.  ‘is that for me to pull in?’ but I was told in no uncertain terms to keep going. 

The cheering on the course was super and it always amazes me how supportive the cycling community are of each other. There were the Orwell supporters of Louise, Grainne, Ken Moloney, Yvonne Doran, Una May, Helen Horan and Dave Maher shouting encouragement at various points. The women’s cycling tribe had also turned out in force with Kate Earlie and Niamh Stephens shouting at one of the sharper corners, Anne Coleman, Susan Fagan and Claire Ni Reachtagain positioned at another point and Beata Golzak at another section.

Once I was pulled in I watched in awe as the remainder of the bunch flew around the course at high speed. I chatted with the marshall that had pulled me in as he looked at my tyres and commented that it was a good idea to put on grippier Winter tyres for the crit given that it was so wet and  slippy….ehhh yeeaahh whoops… I agreed with him wholeheartedly and said yes that was exactly why I had winter tyres on my bike………..

 

Day 5: The Final Stage!

The last stage was an 89km rolling stretch with a climb at Instioge at roughly 41km in. Orla had given me instructions that my goal for today was to get up the front of the bunch, even if it was for a short spell. The peloton took off and I managed to manoeuvre myself up – not quite to the front but further than I had the previous days. Any time the speed ramped up I had to put in huge efforts to regain contact – my legs were not a bit impressed at this stage of the week.

At roughly 30km the back of the bunch started to stretch out. I suddenly found myself solo with a few behind me but also riders visible ahead. Two riders who I had spent some time with the previous few days came up behind me and I fell into a rhythm with them knowing they were of a similar level and was somewhat comforted that I had the ability to get to the end in their company. We then caught up with Emma Desmond (TC Racing) who is new to racing but very strong and had been a fair bit ahead of me in previous stages. True to form, she had other ideas about the pace and proceeded to organise the 4 of us to up the ante and took off up the road. The other 2 riders waved her on and I hesitated for about 5 seconds and thought feic it, it’s the last stage and in for a penny, in for a pound and took off after her -  thinking that I would get as far up the road as I can with her, see what happens and deal with the consequences later.

We did a spell of up and overs and every time I was in front I felt like a horse attached to a jalopy as she very encouragingly kept shouting in the finest Cork accent..’c’mon, you can go faster than that, it’s the last stage, you’re doing great, keep going’ and managed to push me on – clearly not realising that I was in zone 16 every time I was on the front. She was a good companion to be away with and I managed to hang on until we hit the climb at Inistioge. Whatever was left in the legs was quickly ebbing away going up the climb – but the support of the Orwell crew cheering gave me enough to make it to the top.

           Sinead getting cheered on over the climb by the enthusiastic Orwell supporters!

Once over the climb, Emma had a small gap and was chasing 2 riders ahead. I chased for about 10km holding the gap, but not managing to reduce it or regain contact as the 3 riders ahead began to work together. At about 75km in, I knew getting to the finish would be a struggle as I was empty. A moto marshall came up and let me know that there was a group 30 seconds back and I was about to hit an exposed stretch of road into a headwind that would last until the finish in the town. I figured that would be minus craic on my own and sat up to wait for the group behind. I was reassured to see the familiar faces of Sandra (English team) and 3 Irish riders – my own teammate Sinead Molloy who had a mechanical earlier, Dublin Wheelers Lyndsey Bryce  (who had crashed and was missing the back part of her jersey!) and Marcia who was a Team Verge teammate of Lyndsey’s.

Apart from the Mount Leinster stage, this was a second spell where I went into a dark and painful place. My legs were empty after the previous efforts with Emma and I knew I was in for a hard stretch.  The road back into the town was wide and exposed and into a headwind. All 5 of us were suffering but we worked as a group rolling over into the wind to make it back. I had spent significant parts of the Ras with this group but this stretch was different as each rider was facing their own challenges.

On previous days there was always the intermittent jolly along comments to up the pace etc but this stint was primarily silent. With any incline in the road, various riders drifted off the back and we slowed and waited as 5 bodies, however tired, into the wind was always going to be better than a split group. Every corner we turned, there seemed to be another vast expanse of road that tilted upwards – on a normal day it would have not posed a challenge, but at that point it was soul destroying and seemed to go on forever.

We passed a 10km sign, the pace picked up a small bit, then a 5km sign appeared. I started to allow the relief to creep in and a wave of something, I’m not sure what came over me and I thought I was about to cry. 5km is nothing on a bike, but with the way I was feeling – it was still 5km and I gave myself a mental clip around the ear and thought ‘you’re not there yet…. and you know Lyndsey is going to sprint even though she’s half dead…so hold it for another 10 minutes…hold on….nearly there’. We reached the 2km sign and the speed picked up as we realised the end was near.

True to form Lyndsey put the boot down and we all emptied whatever was left to get across the line. Crossing the finish is a bit of a blur and I just remember an overwhelming sense of relief and of disbelief that I had pulled it off. The ever attentive Orwell team were waiting and Mihai took the bike after the 6 attempts it took me to throw the leg over it and get off – to allow me soak up the moment. Gillian and Orla came over to give jackets and drinks, but more importantly the best hugs ever as they had been on the journey with us for the week and were a huge part of it. The Orwell crew all came over and there were lots of hugs, photos, some tired tears and I tried to absorb every bit of what was happening so I would remember it all.

Ciara finishing the last stage! Photo thanks to Sean Rowe

 

Ciara's Post Rás Reflections

Coming home in the car I had the music up full blast and found myself singing along to the naff 80’s songs that were on the radio and just thought how lucky I was to have been able to do something like the Ras. It is so hard, but it is a choice you make to put yourself through something that pushes you to your absolute limit. Even when you are at your limit, you manage to pull out 10 more levels that you never thought you had. It is amazing to be part of such a close network that is the Irish cycling community, in particular the women’s group. Throughout the week, everyone was so supportive and encouraging – all of the Irish ladies that I knew that were taking part, Lyndsey, Maura, Jen, Aine, Sofie, Emma, Fiona and ones I didn’t know previously that were always ready for a chat.  The non-participating racers of Monica, Kate, Niamh S, Sandra, Anne, Bea, Susan, Claire, Yvonne and Louise all gave up their time to cheer us along and then there was the ever supportive Orwell crew of Ken, Grainne, Una, Helen, Dave M, Dave T and Mike H that travelled to Kilkenny.

Rás na mBan "groupies"! Photos thanks to Sean Rowe

There was also another layer of support from the organisers who despite being tasked with the actual running of the event always had time for some encouragement– Stephen O’ Shea, Valarie Considine, the always smiling Gen and Naoise Sheridan at sign on each morning, Dr Lucy with a well timed encouraging word, Terry with the ponytail from the IVCA and Ronan Fox all took time each day to say a well done and keep her lit.  Then there were the daily messages from friends and family, Gavin from @huphup.ie and so many of the @scottorwell club members helping to jolly you along.

You are truly in a Ras bubble for the week and I am glad I have two days leave to recover and switch off to try resume normal thinking patterns. Without a transition period I would probably have been in work today and ended up defaulting to the in-depth discussions that I have had repeatedly with my roomie Breda and the team for the last 5 days, which I suspect would not fit with the normal hospital management discussions.

‘What should be our strategy for end of year waiting list targets? …’hmm - I think 4 gels and 1 bottle of carbs should do the trick’.

‘Will you be attending the HSE meeting in town?  ‘Yes  - do you think I need arm-warmers or would a mesh underlayer be enough to wear?’

‘Will you be able to make the meeting at 12 today’ -  ‘Yes - do you think we have time to go to the bathroom now or will I risk not getting a good position at the boardroom table for the start?’.

There was a small car in front of me on the way home yesterday and I found myself thinking.. ‘ jaypers the draft off that isn’t great…I need to make my way up the van ahead to save energy’!

Huge thanks due to the Scott Orwell support team and their help is so appreciated by all the riders.  We  had a hot shot team with Orla doing a superb job of driving the team car, leading the general organisation and giving the much needed jolly-ing along that was  essentially variations of ‘get up the front’! Being such a key supporter of women’s cycling, it was primarily because of Orla that I ended up on the start line in the first place – a huge thank you for that. She has a great skill of letting you make your own decision so you own what you are committing to - but gently nudging you in the right direction.

DS Orla Hendron at the helm! Photo thanks to Sean Rowe

Gillian did an amazing job of the daily leg rubs to keep us all motoring and being on hand with recovery drinks, jackets and much needed end of stage hugs. We were so lucky to have two such experienced women cyclists as part of our team. Mihai was on the ball  both with the co-piloting in the team car ensuring we were all fed during the race and also with all the bike maintenance as he presented the bikes as if by magic at the start of every stage.  It was a testament to his work that we had very few mechanicals. Monica sorted all the stem notes, organised some of the food set ups and was on hand to give much appreciated advice based on last years’ experience – a big ask given the disappointment of not being able to race herself given an injury the week before.

The riders themselves were a pleasure to spend the week with. My roomie Breda who is very relaxed company and a good match for me to share a room with as we both suffer badly from exploding suitcase syndrome - but it is a dual effort so it is tolerated by both. Sinead Molloy who we borrowed from Tullamore and who was always smiling and ready for the chats, which I am very partial to;) Isobel Oakes – who unfortunately was doing so well but crashed on day two and switched into supporter mode for the days after. Lauren Creamer who brought a wealth of experience to the team and managed to get the Scottorwell colours onto the stage on the last day.  An emotional roller-coaster of a week, but I wouldn’t change a thing about it (well maybe faster legs would have been a bonus J)

So where to next? Well next year’s Ras…where else..!

 

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