Achill Roar Adventure Race 2015
I haven’t had a sceond to blog in the last few weeks so I decided to wait until after the race Saturday. This meant I would have a nice long post for everyone to roam through.
As it turned out Saturday really was a good day but I will try and start at the beginning and relay the story. I apologise if any of the “u” letters are missing as my laptop has seen better days.
The past couple of weeks since Gaelforce West I have tried to train cleverly and bring some speed and power into my training. This has been tough but I feel it is helping. As well as the long runs and the hill sessions I have thrown in a few tough hilly bike rides and I have started aerobic threshold sessions in the gym. These gym sessions are made up of 1 hour of training at maximum heart rate. They involve bike, rowing and running at intervals of 5 minutes on and 2 minutes off with three intervals at each dicipline. It hurts like hell but I think it is working. I am getting used to feeling really out of it, but the legs keep going. It also sets an emphasis on posture and technique. You really have to work to maintain technique when extremely tired. All in all this has been the training until this week where I toned it down before the race.
I had never taken part in Achill Roar but had heard the run was a little easier than other races, although the cycle and the kayak were harder. I arrived up, with Emma as support, on Saturday morning. The formguide was giving me a top 6 finish. The pressure was on.
After racking the bike and warming up it was soon time to start. I lined up beside a few of the big guns and felt very relaxed and really had no nerves like I have done for some races.
Warming up on Keel Beach.
The race kicked off at 10 am and after a quick kilometer run off we went for a 3km kayak on double sit on tops.
This was really tough considering shallow water meant we couldn’t gain any momentum and the top few competitors had their own sea kayaks to tear ahead and strip minutes off early in the race. Something to remedy next year I reckon. Taking this into account we put the heads down and my partner for the kayak, James Keane, put everything into it so that we kept withing touching distance of the leaders. The head wind was met half way by a lovely tail wind as we turned and after a quick dash through the water we were off on the run.
The run would consist of 15.5km of beach, bog, mountain ascent and descent and then returning via the beach. After the kayak I was 3 minutes down on Dessie Duffy and Killian Heery, the race favourites and I was lying in 10th position overall. I hit off with extremely cold legs after the kayak but soon into the beach section the legs kicked in. By the end of the beach, some wave splashing , rock slipping and gravel trashing I had moved up to fourth position and could see the mountain looming. I gradually reeled in the man in third and took his place around half way up the mountain. I could see the leaders at this point and decided I might as well get a good run under me and really go for it. As we reached the top of the mountain I was in touching distance. On the descent all three of us were neck in neck and flying down at ridiculous speeds! I went for a boggy tumble at one stage landing face first in black bog. This gave me a real beaten look! I moved into second at the base of the mountain and as we reached the beach hopped into first place to finish out the run. I knew at this stage that there was 45km of really tough biking ahead, but sure what the hell, I had enjoyed the run. How would the bike section go?
Back from the run.
The bike stage started with a long drag out of keel and this would be the feature throughout. Hills followed by exciting fast downhills. Dessie passed me after 5km and Kiilian after about 15km but I wasn’t finished and promised myself I would really try hang on for third at least. I stayed with both the leaders in sight throughout and was glad to see them watching me too. I would gain on the uphill and lose it a bit on the flat and downhill but I was staying in touch with average speeds well in the thirties. With 5km to go Killian was tired and I passed him. Dessie took off shortly before this so it was up to me to hold on for second. To my amazement I still had power in the legs and I powered on to come in only 3 minutes behind dessie and a minute ahead of Killian. I was greeted by surprise off some and most importantly I felt I had accomplished something I really wasn’t sure I could do and that was stay with the bikers.
Just before the line and 1,2,3 in the Expery category, 63km complete.
Here are the official results ! http://www.redtagtiming.com/results/AchillROAR2015_Expert.pdf
Prizegiving, thanks to Paul and Hillary of Outfront events.