7.30am. Riders and backup team meet for breakfast. Fruit, yogurt, porridge, scrambled egg and bacon, beans and toast. This all washed down with litres of coffee.
8.30am. Thirty bottles filled with high five and water. Five mussettes packed with spare bottles , energy bars and gels.
9.30am. Big Martin Gill packs the van with luggage while Derek sorts out details of the feed zone. Ken is busy pumping wheels. David studies the map and tries to find the most direct route to the finish. He doesn’t trust the garmin. The riders do a final check before cycling to the sign on accompanied by Martin and Ken. The team car is checked for fuel and the race radio is connected up. Extra bottles, gels and bananas are packed alongside spare wheels, tubs of high five and containers of water. The car number is fitted. Number 27. We’ve moved up three places.
10.00am. Arrive at sign on. Find parking for the van and car. Martin unloads van again. Riders get their pre race rub from David and load up with race food and bottles. Numbers are checked and details of the feed zone and the climbs are given to each rider. The van is loaded. Martin has the strength of two men. Ken checks the car and Derek has a final word with the riders.
11.00am. We roll out. Sirens and car horns greet the crowd. Derek is driving today and enjoys every minute of it . The race is neutralised for 3kms. Five, four, three, two, one. Race on. The bunch is lined out at 55kms an hour and this speed is constant for the first hour. Welcome to the Ras! Riders are dropped at 10kms, but Team Wexford are still in the bunch. Rider number 170 looking for a bottle. We are one minute from the back of the bunch. Derek takes us to the rear bumper of the commissaires car. Will Byrne takes a ‘non stick’ bottle and makes his way back to the bunch. There’s a lot of racing going on with attack after attack. More bottles required and more white knuckle driving. The bunch is now split into four groups with Team Wexford in the third group with all the county riders. Needless to say the pros are at the front of the race driving it to the finish.
One hundred miles covered in three and a half hours. Stage finishes at 4 00pm. Van is unloaded and the gazebo is up. Keith rolls in followed by Alex, Murt, Odhran and Will. David is waiting with coffee and sandwiches. The riders put on fresh Tshirts and clean off the days grime. The van is loaded up and we head for the B and B. Van and car are emptied. Martin brings luggage to rooms. Derek heads to nearest supermarket. Bikes are cleaned and checked and forty bottles washed. Martin picked up ten at the feed zone! David massages two riders before dinner at seven. Jerseys and shorts are left out for washing. Its now nine o’clock and David and Ken are still working.
10 00pm. All done and dusted for another day. We’re all wrecked but the atmosphere in the team is upbeat and positive. Derek’s wit keeps us going. Bikes are secured for the night and the washing is collected.
11 00pm. ZZZZ.