The inaugural Fitscience GP is a little under a month away and the organisers have promised a gruelling race on some of the toughest, most exposed roads in the north west of Ireland.
The main event on the day is the A1, 2 and 3 race which takes the riders on a 120-kilometre loop, starting and finishing in Ballina, Co. Mayo.
It’s a race that will suit an all-rounder; someone who can climb well and also ride strongly in crosswinds.
The racing scene in Connacht has really blossomed in recent years with the number of active participants being at an all-time high.
That’s something the organisers have cleverly tapped into and the guys at Fitscience are promising a great race and with one of Irelands top cyclist swapping his cleats for a clipboard and taking on the challenge of running this event in conjunction with Simon Walsh, Patrick Clarke gives us his view on the course and racing in Connacht.
“It’s going to be a cracking race, a really classic-style event, not for the feint-hearted,” he said.
“The strongest man is going to win, it’s as simple as that”.
“We wanted a race that started and finished in Ballina and a route that took in some of the most beautiful scenery in the north-west. We’re confident we’ve picked a good route, and one thing’s for sure; it will not be a bunch sprint”.
“I see the race breaking up badly and a small group coming to the line. The standard is very good up here and with the National Crit champs coming to Mayo later in the year, as well as a few stage finishes of the An Post Rás in May, the sport is really on a high.”
Clarke outlined the race route and where he thinks it’ll be won and lost.
“The climbing starts straight after we go through Crossmolina and reaches 100metres after 20 kilometres. That doesn’t sound like much but on these roads, trust me, it’ll be difficult.
“A break could well go on that drag because for the next 40 kilometres it’s mainly flat and if a group is gone they could make some good time here.
“The race reaches its highest point (120metres) around the 80 kilometre mark and that’s up around the coast on a very exposed stretch which nearly always sees a blistering cross wind this time of year, good bike-handling skills and awareness will be needed here!
“We then turn back inland, south towards Ballina where there are two drags. If the front group fragments here there could be a regrouping but at this stage, it’ll be all about who has anything left in the legs – as would be the case after a race with 800 metres of climbing.”
The A4s will have a separate race on a shorter 70-kilometre route. They’ll be turning right at Enniscrone and straight up towards the coast after which they’ll turn right and come back down towards the finish again just outside Ballina. In total there is 384 metres of climbing.
For more information contact Simon or Patrick at Fitscience on 096 24782 or email firstname.lastname@example.org