As the light began to fade on day two of Race Around Ireland, Nicole Reist held the lead in the solo class of Ireland’s toughest bike race.
Riding without sleep and virtually non-stop for 28 hours save two short interludes to change support crew, the Swiss rider stretched her lead over Dutchman Henk Verouden to almost an hour by the time the latter had left time station five at Lifford in County Donegal with former champion Valerio Zamboni in a secure third place.
Reist continued to press home her advantage as the riders moved through Leitrim into Sligo as the first mist and rain of the ninth edition of Race Around Ireland fell on the riders. Headwind for much of the ride through Ulster had also taken its toll but still the leading riders pushed on into the night.
As dusk approached, Reist was controlling a lead of almost 30km over Verouden as leading Irishman Pat Doocey moved into a podium spot ahead of Zamboni.
Meanwhile, further ahead, the leading competitors on the road were the four-man crew of Team Aspect who enjoyed a half hour lead over St Tiernan’s CC who were locked in combat with Veloroos. The latter named team had recovered from a brief off route excursion in Donegal and are well on course for a new record time for a four-woman squad.
Leading eight-rider team Team Outmates had stretched their lead to almost an hour and a half over Meath Fireblazers as the teams left Castlebar heading for Galway and the epic delights of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Last rider on the road Dan Fallon, the popular psychiatrist from Chicago, was forced to retire as evening approached on day two. Fallon was bidding to become the first rider of a recumbent to complete Race Around Ireland. Fallon, a veteran of US Ultra Cycling, won many friends on his first acquaintance with the world of Irish ultra cycling.