O’Toole takes 1st in Tour of Connacht Ladies
A great result for Noreen O’Toole at the Tour of Connacht A4 weekend in Castlebar last weekend.
This is her race report:
Last weekend was the A4 tour of Connacht . Weather was favourable and with a field of 50 or so was just perfect. We left Castlebar at 14:40 and headed up North Mayo for an 80km race over main roads by smooth and not so smooth roads. All was going well until the dreaded hill leading to Crossmolina where I decided to just get up and not over spend myself – hills not being my thing. The Commasaire came up along side me and said there is a ladies prize for the weekend – suddenly the race took on a new meaning. There were 4 ladies in the race, 2 were behind me and one in front so I put the foot down and fought up to Elaine and from there on we worked together and picked up a few lads and dropped a few as one does.
We made it to de final km and I was in a good position 500 metres to go and a lad in the group went for the line so I jumped on his wheel but he died a death with 200m to go. Then all I could see was Elaine to my left in full flight for the line – I missed her wheel with the result she got to the line. Good job Elaine. Lesson learned forget the men and keep an eye on your competition.
Day two was not such a bad day – windy conditions but not so cold, and thank God, dry. We got a little head start again and we ladies worked very well together. We had a lovely tailwind and we took full advantage of it. As we were racing for a ladies prize we said we would stick together when groups pass and pick up the stragglers as we moved along. We hit a head wind after about 35km and boy did we know it. It was down to myself and Elaine as the other girls were struggling . As predicted we picked up a few stragglers and it once again came down to a sprint for the line – this time I didn’t take my eye off Elaine and just went for it. Thankfully it was me who got it this time: lesson learned.
Stage 3 TT 8.1 km into the wind you might think, hmm, not too bad but boy you would be wrong. The wind was too strong for the TT bike and my Zipp wheel so I used the road bike and borrowed a wheel from a lad in Ballina. Good decision – I went to finish the TT in 17:58 – a minute ahead of Elaine and about half way up the list. Happy out. So that was stage 3 and the overall win.
Thanks to Connacht Cycling, it is great to see encouragement of ladies cycling. John Brennan did a great job for the second weekend in a row. Thanks to all the marshals and all that helped out.
Congratulations Noreen – a really great performance put in over the weekend.
(PS I changed de for the, hope you don’t mind!)