Cyclist Sean Downey’s blog

It has been a while since my last blog update. The reason for this is that I have been travelling and racing so much that there just wasn’t time to do it! Now that I have a little time on my hands it’s time for an update about what has been happening …. I’ll have to go back a month or two though!

On the 17th May I travelled back to Ireland for the An Post Ras. I never really told anyone that it was a goal but I really wanted to do well. I had a really good build up to the race, lots of hours on the bike and lots of races and I was in perfect condition – so it was up to me to nail it.

Starting the race my goal was to win a stage and I came very close to doing that. Stage one I got off the front with two other riders, but in the last 3k we were stopped because of a crash! That was the craziest thing I ever heard – I couldn’t believe it, but we were stopped and then let of again. However with the stopping and starting it was just so hard to get going again and we were caught with 500 meters to go. I was not a happy man after the stage, but I gathered myself and knew there were 7 more days and 7 more opportunities.

As the days went on I was moving up the GC which I was also very happy with, so my goal changed to getting a top 10 place. I was up in the moves and fighting every day. I was getting up in the morning looking forward to racing which is good motivation and it really showed me that I can ride hard for 8 days straight and be fighting up at the front every day. In the end I finished 11th overall and 7th was my best stage result. It gave me the confidence and put me in a new mind of thinking, telling myself that I can do it.

So after the Ras I took a few days to myself. I wasn’t really tired physically, but I knew I should take a wee break because of bad experience I had a few years ago, but we won’t go there. So after my little break I started back into training. I had got myself a new TT bike, a Trek Speed from my dad’s bike shop Downey Cycles, and I was thinking to myself I would really like to give the TT championships a go, so I did a few wee tests and then started to train for the TT champs.

My racing program had changed so I had to go back to France and ride the Tour du Pays de Savoie (2.2). This race is in the Alps. It started in Italy and went into Italy and Switzerland, so it was very hilly. Luck was not on my side, as I punctured 3 times on the 1st stage and the last time I had to get a wheel from someone watching the race.

I climbed the last climb 15k on a flat tire, got a wheel and arrived at the finish 45min down so this race was just going to be good training. It was good training for the TT championships because the climbs were so long that I had to maintain a high power output for a long time, so this was perfect for a TT effort minus the speed.

After the race in France it was a 12 hour drive back to base and then the next day back to Ireland. On the Wednesday I went out for a easy spin, but got caught in the rain. That evening I could feel a cold coming on. It was not good, so I started getting lots of vitamin c into the body. The Friday night of the TT championships and the weather was really bad: very cold and lots of rain. I didn’t let that get to me. I was there to do a good time and a good time I did: 51.21 for 25miles. That was my first ever 25mileTT so I was very happy, 1st u23 and 4th in the elite, so not so bad. Unfortunately as soon as I had finished the TT I knew I dug deep. I could feel my body saying to me ‘too deep’.

I woke up the next morning feeling bad. I went out for a recovery ride and it hurt a lot and I knew it wasn’t looking good for Sunday and the road race champs. I went early to bed on Saturday and prayed that I would wake up fine. Sunday morning and I felt worse than the day before.

Not good. I got ready and went for a warm up, but when I had signed on for the race, I just had no power at all. I knew I was in for a bad day, but I tried my hardest to get through it. I knew if I kept going I was just digging into the hole and it would only get deeper and take longer to recover. I stopped and had to watch the race from the road which was so hard to do.

After the champ I took a break and went away for a wee holiday- a mid season break. It’s good to live a normal life for a wee while and have some fun and now I am back training again. I was told I was riding the European Championships and road race in Italy on the 17th July, so right now I am training for that. After that I will be going back to France to finish the season! will have live score updates on all GAA Championship matches over the summer.


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