Morton in 'best form I've ever had'
Eoin Morton will be hoping some home comfort can help lay the foundations for success in tomorrow's Shay Elliott Memorial race.
The Swords man now calls Bray his home so will have the luxury of being able to roll from his front door to the start line on Bray's main street for one of the most prestigious races in the Irish cycling calendar.
"The sign-on is less than a five-minute cycle from the house," he said. "We're usually driving somewhere up the north or down to Munster. This one I can just roll out of bed, there's no panic. The neutral start rolls out about 150 metres from the house so the family will come out and watch that."
Not that he will need any extra advantages. The UCD-Fitzcycles rider has scored some impressive results this year including overall victory in the Tour of Ulster last month and last weekend's Castlecomer Cup.
"This is the best form I've ever had," said Morton (28) who last year became the first amateur in seven years to win a stage of the Rás. "I'm looking at the power and heart rate constantly when I'm out training, it's way up on last year, it's a massive improvement, which is great news not just for this weekend but for the Rás the following week."
Morton, however, is "up the walls" between training and work commitments. His commute to his office in Dublin city centre provides the best time to train, often with three-hour detours on his way home. "As much as I'm feeling very tired at the moment, the legs are super," he said.
He'll need all that horsepower for the punishing 165km race, hosted by Bray Wheelers, that will inevitably be shaken up when the road heads upwards on the Shay Elliott climb 40km before the finish at Djouce.
"It's a race that means a lot to a lot of people, so the bunch is really cagey and the favourites are watched really hard," said Morton.
He'll certainly be marked closely. But that, like tomorrow's race route, has become familiar territory.