Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thanks To All Involved And Supporters Of The 3rd Beir Bua Waterford Adventure Race

Despite the cold wind there were smiles all round at the 3rd Beir Bua Waterford Adventure Race last Saturday.  The participants were fantastic and many achieved personal best times which were really great to hear. Of course the participants are critical to the race but none of it could have happened without the tremendous work and effort by the organisers, stewards, volunteers and supporters of the race.  We would like to thank you all for your time and support; we would especially like to thank the following;

Category & Prize Sponsors; Cycle Sports, O'Mahony Cycles, Ger Wyley, Connolly Chemists, Sam McCauleys, AllRounder Sports

Event sponsors and support was also gratefully given by; Coke Cola Ireland, Tipperary Water, GlaxoSmithKline, Garveys Supervalu, The Country Store, Lismore Castle & Farms, Deise Design, Coillte, Melleray Abbey, Melleray Scouts Centre, Waterford Leader Partnership, Waterford County Council, Dungarvan Town Council, Lismore & Cappoquin Garda, Road Safety Authority, Civil Defence, Waterford & Tramore River Rescue, West Waterford Athletic Club, Tomás Walsh Builders and Moloneys Gates

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fergal (Elite) Until next year - Beir Bua

It is with a tinge of regret that I write this, my final blog for Beir Bua Waterford Adventure Race. Not that I have regrets from Saturday but rather that I’ll have to wait 12 months for this great race to roll around once more. I have to admit that I didn’t really know what to expect from this race, not having raced it before or ever having raced in this part of the country. It certainly exceeded my expectations from the off, registration on the Friday was smooth and everyone was displaying the Deise hospitality. David and I did a quick course recce after getting our goodie bags and racking the bikes, so we’d have some idea what lay ahead.
 Saturday morning (thankfully) dawned bright after some heavy rain the day before. Conditions were near perfect if a little cool for late May. David (competing in the Duathlon) and I decided to run together for the first run through the forest. I worried that we may have picked too conservative a pace running at approx. 4 min kilometers, as the first run was mostly downhill. The forest tracks were great and a joy to run on; before we knew it we had reached the bikes after picking up a few places. The pace had probably worked well for me as I still felt fresh. David had done exceptionally well to run a strong pace despite having not run in 6 months,  but had to start the 1st few km of the bike a little easier to fill the lungs once more. I pushed on towards “the Vee” pretty much cycling the whole way alone before catching up with Nigel Keane from Kerry who I would also go on to buddy up with for the kayak section. The climb up the mountain was murderous certainly no running here just scrambling upwards as fast as possible. I soon regretted choosing road shoes over trail shoes as the descent from the top was death defying stuff with no grip from my shoes, I eventually got down bloodied & bruised but alive. The bike to the river was winding and technical but all downhill and enjoyable stuff. The kayak was a long haul but with Nigel’s help we got through it. At this stage I knew I was going fairly well, and once I’d shook off the jelly legs from the kayak I was back running at a decent pace soon picking up a couple of places. David fresh from his impressive 4th place finish in the duathlon arrived at the roadside at this stage to voice some encouragement and let me know I was on for a top 10 finish if I could keep it going. I saw out the 2nd run comfortably enough but knew my fellow competitors weren’t far behind, so the final cycle back was done at as high a tempo as I could manage, but it was tough long arduous climb that seemed to go on forever, finally though the abbey was in sight and I cycled across the impressive finish line 3hrs41mins after setting out as 7th elite overall. My best ever finish in an adventure race. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the day and Beir Bua will be one of the 1st races on my list for next year, it’s a credit to all involved that the event went so smoothly and I never heard one negative note from any competitor, it’s great to see that a locally organized race, can be run as professionally if not more so than any race put on by one of the many events companies operating out there. I have no doubt that when word gets out this race will grow & grow and deservedly so.
 Until next years start line, keep training and Beir Bua.

David (Duathlon) - And so it ends....

And so it ends. With no more time for prep and all excuses exhausted myself and brother number three headed to Mellary Friday evening to register and park up the bikes. That done there was no way out now, the next time I would see the bike would be after 6.5 k run and for me I would be one quarter into my race.
Against my advice Fergal wanted to recce the course so we headed up the Vee and got out to look at the Sugar Loaf.  We could barely see twenty yards but consoled ourselves that all the fog would be burned off in the morning and it may not look so daunting on a clear May morning (how wrong we were).  After a trip back through Lismore and Cappoquin Fergal informed it was no worse than the ROAR or WAR courses and may even be a little faster and consequently he would need to go off hard from the start to try offset the advantage enjoyed by the guys who brought and knew how to use their own kayaks.
"Great" I thought : Bang goes my idea of hanging onto his coat tails to get me up the Vee.
Anyway after the usual pre-race fitfull sleep we arrived at the start line feeling generally good and ready for action.
Elites, Teams,Sports and duathletes all headed off in one group shortly after nine and we tore out of the Abbey downhill at breakneck pace.
The first km was covered in 3.5 mins and I thought to myself "I’ll pay for that later".
Still clinging to Fergal’s shoulder we began passing runners through the forest trails and my confidence grew that I could maintain a decent pace for the run (anyone who read earlier blogs will know this was only my second run in seven months) despite lack of training. The strain began to tell on a steep incline at the 5k mark but I consoled myself that there were no more than ten guys in front of me and I would gain ground in transition when they all changed to cycling shoes and I continued in my runners.

Sure enough I got my bike out quickly and jumped a few guys including Fergal and set out to try and hold onto a decent position on the ascent.
Fergal was beside me in minutes and quickly let me know I was going fast enough but he threw off the run exertions in seconds and I was still struggling and would for another couple of kms . He was to be the first of many to pass me going up the Vee and I counted ten cyclists in total who glided by individually or in groups over the next forty minutes.

Frustratingly I seemed better able to hold off a guy or hold onto a group on the inclines but if the road flattened at all, inevitably the gap would open (note for 2013; work on straight line speed).  It was also at this point that I first realised I didn’t really know who I was racing against, were all these guys passing me elites or duathletes?  This really didn’t help motivation and maybe something can be done next year to distinguish the two groups.

That aside the wind and thickening mist were to the forefront of my mind as the summit approached, the last 2k were particularly hard as by now cars coming against you had their lights on full and the end was nowhere in sight, completely blanketed in fog.  Just on the point of despair all of a sudden there it was, I was within twenty yards of the car park and the despair lifted as I dismounted and counted discarded bikes at the Bealough entrance. Three bikes put me in fourth for now but as I headed downhill I could hear a few more dismounting and I wondered could I gain a place or even hold what I had.

500 M in and I met the eventual winner on the way back putting him a good seven mins ahead and out of sight.  The guys in second and third passed me when I was about 400m from the turn giving them about three mins of a lead.

On another day I may have been encouraged but I really was not enjoying my running and my head told me if they passed me on the bike ascent what chance had I of catching them on the descent.
The climb out of Bealough was the toughest part of the race by far and the thoughts of "what am i doing here" were creeping in but the encouragement from the crowd gathered in the car park got me back on the bike clinging to fourth position by seconds at this stage.

Once out on the road and descending rapidly I got a second wind and decided to push for all I was worth until the legs gave out using the logic that if I could keep it up for ten more k I would be close enough to home that will power would do the rest.  Good theory and it gave me a lead over fifth place that I could maintain but with every corner that went by I realised I was never even going to get a glimpse of third place either.

I was almost glad my race was over when I hit the final "bitchin" hill (only word for it,sorry) leading into Mellary.  I found myself weaving over and back the road covering twice the necessary distance and delighted I was no longer fighting for a position.  Still I came home in fourth with no regrets .  It was my first duathlon after all and would I do it all again?  Of course I would.

Later that night in the pub we were already planning how much better we could be next year with injury free training and virgin status gone.  However that was after a few scoops and the pains in my legs today would make a different argument.

Having said all that and hopefully not bored ye all to tears I am looking forward to my next adventure race and will definitely take part in the Waterford Adventure Race next year but till then
Train hard, Race easy (easier to type than do..I know) agus Beir Bua.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Course Record For The Beir Bua Waterford Adventure Race

It was windy and cold but spirits were high at the third Beir Bua Waterford Adventure Race on Saturday (19th May 2012). The race to the finish was nail biting but Tim O'Donoghue from Midleton pipped his fellow elite adventure racers to take first place with a course record time of 3hrs 21mins. He was joined at the podium by a fellow elite athlete, Cork lady, Fiona Meade who crossed the line in a time of 3hrs 57mins. This year also saw the addition of 2 other categories - duathlon and team relay. The local relay team (Philip Harty, Tony O'Mahony, Thomas Walsh, John Horgan) from Dungarvan set a course record with a staggering time of 2hrs45min while local lad Jason Travers won the duathlon race in a time of 1hr 39mins.

Many of the participants said a small prayer or two as they started out from the beautiful 19th century monastic settlement of Melleray, home of the Cistercian monks, but once they got into their stride seemed to enjoy it…for the most part! The challenging but varied course really is a race through time and scenery as participants journey through the beautiful countryside of West Waterford; through Glenshalane Forest, up the Vee and along the Blackwater River, through the villages of Lismore and Cappoquin.

The true spirit of Beir Bua, the Irish for 'be victorious' or 'go grab the win' was expressed in the banter at the post-event reception and prize-giving in Mount Melleray Scout Centre, as participants praised and supported each other while swapping stories of the race and challenges for next year exchanged...roll on Saturday 18th May 2013.

Full race finish times and photos can be seen on www.waterfordadventurerace.com.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fergal (Elite) - Going The Distance

Incredible to think this is the Penultimate weeks training before togging out for Beir Bua Waterford Adventure Race.  Time really has flown. 

I have to say I was happy enough to take it relatively easy this week, after last weekend’s exertions. Tuesday was just a recovery day, so the week kicked off with 10 x 100mts in the pool Wednesday morning, averaging 2.06 a lap. Wednesday evening was a steady 13km run in 58.55. It goes to show how consistent training is starting to pay off for me; I’m calling that a steady run now, a few months ago I would have struggled to do that time for 13km flat out. 

Thursday was another take it easy day. Friday Morning was 1500mt in the pool in 34.55, Friday evening was 5 x 1km run intervals averaging 3.48 per km.  Saturday was an early start – 6am for my longest outing of the week a long “brick session” (that’s combined run/bike training for the uninitiated). 1st section was an undulating cycle (17km) 2nd section was a (9.5km) mountain run. 3rd section was a repeat of the 1st to get me home again. Finally the 4th section was my usually 8km run route at home. Total distance = 51.5km, total time = 2hr 57min. 

That’s 10 min’s quicker than the last time I did this session a month ago, so the omens are good I’m definitely fitter heading into Beir Bua than I was for my last adventure race. Now it’s all about getting everything right on the day, hopefully avoiding punctures, crashes etc. 

Today, Sunday, was pretty much an off day as well with the exception of 30 min’s Core/weight training.  I have to admit I’m regretting not having done some more core work over the last couple of weeks, as the prospect of being squashed up on a sit on top kayak for over 6km is a bit daunting. Still too late to worry now. 

I’m just going to spend the next couple of days studying www.waterfordadventurerace.com getting as familiar as possible with the route, registration requirements etc. before loading up the family and heading south Thursday night.  Hopefully by the time I’m crossing the Shannon back into Roscommon next week I’ll have had a good race behind me, and the boys in Primrose & Blue will have done the business against Gaillimh in “the Hyde”.

See you all down there!


David (Duathlon) - Enlightenment

Hello again.

Final blog before D-Day and a good week of intensive training behind me and I'm as ready now as I'm going to be. Started the weekend with a gruelling circuit training class on Thursday night that had me tired and sore Friday morning and the real training still to come .

Got on the bike for my last hill session in the afternoon and "powered" up and down my regular 3 mile climb three times before finishing with a one mile near vertical climb that involved out of saddle pushing for 75% of the way. That hurt beyond belief and gave me a whole new appreciation for those guys that fly over the Conor Pass during the Ras not to mention Alpe d'huez .

Anyway after that pain subsided, I decided that I would have to attempt some running before race day and the Pieta House Darkness into Light suicide awareness run at 4 am (yes am, not a typo) on Saturday morning offered the perfect opportunity for a former runner to get on the road and test himself - without being passed by numerous club runners along the route.So at 3 am (just enough time for the lactic acid from previous day to completely seize muscles) I rose and with a heady mix of caffeine and paracetamol I headed off for my first run in almost seven months.

I decided to be cautious and went out at 4min ks and for the first while I felt ok but inevitably at 3k the body remembered i hadn't done this for a while and cycling was no substitute . Luckily, I had a compatriot running at the same pace and I dug in to try and stay with him for as long as possible.

With a kilometre to go I thought I would have to stop but when i saw the 800 to go sign I knew I had to go on and even managed to pick up the pace and leave my pacer behind . I sprinted the last few yards to finish in twenty mins (3 mins slower than a year previous) and all in all I was quite satisfied .I know I'll get through the run now and that time will keep me mid pack at least.

After five more hours sleep I decided to get Saturday's long cycle out of the way early and headed off for a couple of hours in the afternoon. The gale force winds turned a nice leisurely cycle into another test of will but this time the body was'nt really up to it and after 25 miles I was home .

To round off the weekend, I decided a brick session was in order (run and cycle to the uninitiated and me up to a month ago) and with the sun beating down I set off on another 5k before jumping on the bike for twenty more on a hilly course to semi-replicate next weekend before collapsing into a hot bath and a well earned Sunday afternoon off .

Monday and Tuesday will involve light jogging cross country to try and protect heel followed by a swim or something light on wednesday before I call quits on prep for the Beir Bua Waterford Adventure Race 2012.

Hope to see ye at registration Friday night or Saturday morning pre race (I'll be the terrified looking one in and out of the toilets every fifteen mins)

Till then don't train hard , we've all done all we can at this stage agus ar Satharn, Beir Bua!


Friday, May 11, 2012

David (Duathlon) - Prepared or not, here I go!

Sorry I'm late folks but with long weekends extending until Wednesday there is little to report!

Covered over 1000 kms over the last few days , unfortunately about 970 of those were in the car and even though you feel sore and exhausted I don't think it counts as training.

Borrowed Fergal's bike on Sunday to see if there is anything to the theory that a carbon fibre bike can save you minutes (and hoping to dispel it ) and quickly came to the conclusion that there is a definite corellation between how much you spent on your bike and how fast you can go. It will never substitute hard training though and if you're unfit getting onto a e500 or a e5000 bike and heading up the Vee on Sunday week, nothing will save you.
Anyway I witnessed Fergal run 39 for the 10k on sunday (chapter and verse available on his blog) after competing in a duathlon on Saturday so for once I'm glad we are not going head to head on May 19th! I'm nowhere near his level this year yet but i have just made an appointment for some, say experimental, treatment (i prefer revolutionary) for the 23rd to try and sort out my heel problem once and for all and assuming success, I hope to be back pounding the roads before the end of June.

Obviously racing four days beforehand is not advised but I can't watch another race without taking part so I'll toe the line in Melleray in ten days time and hope to just get through the run sections and hopefully pick up a few places on the bike.

As for this weekend its circuit training tonight (Thursday) followed by bike Friday ,Saturday and combined bike and run on Sunday.

Tapering doesn't really apply as you need to have tapered up in order to taper down but all those serious racers will be putting in their last hard sessions by Sunday evening and making sure all their equipment is in order. I, on the other hand, will do a bit up till race day for confidence as much as anything and will check I have all my gear in order when I reach the registration and bike drop area as usual.

Now for one more hard weeks training and the promise of a few beers on Sunday evening week.

Till the next and final blog - Train hard, Race easy agus Beir Bua!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fergal (Elite) - Training Hard

I kicked off training this week with a half marathon on the road on Monday. I pushed it on for the first half, running at 90min pace before having to ease up over the second half of the run to finish in 95mins. Not too bad but still need a little work as I’m planning on running a sub 90min half marathon later on in the year. 

Tuesday was 30mins of core/weight training, I had purchased a medicine ball at the weekend to try and target some more core work, but I think I’ll need some tips on some useful exercises to do with it from elder Bro. David, who has been doing regular circuit training incorporating medicine balls while out injured.

Wednesday & Thursday were both very long days in work so only managed a quick run interval session Thursday morning of 5x1km averaging 3.52 - disappointed with that. My run speed in this session seems to be static. 

Friday Was a 1500mt swim in 35.10 which I was surprised with as it was my only swim of the week I’d thought my times would suffer, but that was quicker than last weeks. Friday evening was a quick brick session starting with a 5km run in 19.40 followed by an 8km cycle at an easy pace in 17min and finished off with a 1.6km run in 6.15. 

Sunday was a race day - Boyle Charity Duathlon, in the fantastic location of Lough Key Forest Park. First 5km was completed in 19.37 followed by a 20k bike in 36.43 and finally a 2.5km run in 9.40. All times I’d be quite happy with and which would have been good enough for 13th place based on last years’ results, but it’s a sign of just how fast Multisport is growing and how competitive it is getting that my total time of 1.07.29 had me finishing a very ordinary 35th

I’m still happy enough with my performance though. This was, after all, a sprint Duathlon much shorter than the Beir Bua Waterford Adventure race, and I’d like to think I can do better over longer distances in tougher terrain.
Today, Bank Holiday Monday, I rather foolishly decided to race again, as a 10km was on my doorstep. The same route I raced a couple of weeks ago, nice course. I was running with the wise old owl of the family, eldest brother Kieran who’s usually good for a sub 40min 10k in his sleep, so was hoping he’d pace me around. Although a bout of food poisoning meant he shouldn’t have been lining up at all, but as usual come race day common sense was put aside and the runners were laced up. 

I do have a habit of going off too quick so even though the 1st kilometer felt slow it was judged just right coming in at 3.50, the second also felt slow but Kieran was reading the pace perfectly as the watch ticked over for a 3.54km. Then disaster, as Kieran had to drop back to be sick, the food poisoning eventually catching up with him. That was a definite blow to my confidence as I had much more faith in his ability to pace the race correctly than my own. Sure enough the next 2 km were my weakest dropping to 4.03 & then 4.08. Just after 4km though we turned, putting the breeze on our backs and I was joined by another runner who seemed to be holding a steady pace, I relaxed a bit into my stride then, just keeping time with him. 

We crossed 5km with 19.51 on the clock which was certainly slower than planned but I had increased the pace again to a steady 3.54. The next kilometer went by at exactly the same pace, and with 4 to go I started to allow myself to believe a sub 40 was on the cards. 7km was also completed in exactly 3.54. Losing Kieran had been a blow but I had lucked out by having another runner slot into his spot running a very consistent pace. 

The next km was a little slower at 4.03 but at this stage I wasn’t concerned I knew now bar a complete collapse I’d post a sub 40 time, and I think both my new companion and I were saving a bit for what we both knew was coming – the fight to the line. With 1500mt to go I made my move on a slight uphill, I figured if all this mountain running was worth anything it should give me an advantage on the gradients.

Sure enough I opened up a gap of 10-15mts, which I was sure would be more than enough. But my running mate had other ideas and as the road flattened out again, he fought back and had caught me by 9km, the racing had increased the pace of the penultimate km to 3.53. Now all thoughts of finishing times were gone it was perfect racing one on one. 

Fellow Blogger David had been following us around the course on my bike giving encouragement, and was urging for me to kick again, but I was happy enough to run shoulder to shoulder for another 600mts as I knew my 1st break hadn’t taken much out of me and I still felt strong. In saying that I know I’m no sprinter so I wasn’t going to wait for the last 100mts. So the next time David called for one last push with only 400mts to go, I put the foot down again, opening up a big gap within seconds and pushed hard all the way home to finally not only record only my 2nd ever sub 40min 10k but also a P.B. of 39.23, and 7th place overall. 

Not lightening quick by road running standards I know but it’s a goal I’ve had for a long time now and nothing beats setting yourself a goal, putting in the hard yards and finally achieving it. So If Beir Bua Waterford Adventure race is for you about winning it, finishing ahead of your mate/rival or just finishing it, put everything into it. The satisfaction of reaching your own personal goal makes up for all the hardships endured in training. 

I’m really looking forward to it now; this weekend was all about short sharp racing the perfect tune up to the bigger challenge coming next week. By the way, age certainly doesn’t bring sense as instead of walking back to race HQ after turning his guts inside out, Kieran proceeded to finish the race coming in just a couple of minutes behind me.

See ye all in Waterford next week!


Adventure Racing Competition In County Waterford, Ireland. - Live For Adventure
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