Race Report, The Race 2017

The question is, how do you account for a race of this time and distance in one blog post? A total of 247kms over 15 hours and 21 minutes. Can I try and account for this in a single post. I will give it a shot and hopefully give those of you interested an account of one of the toughest and most amazing days of my life. What an event to be part of. All proceeds going to Gorta and all the people organising it on a voluntary basis. It really was a privilege to be involved.

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After a journey up to Donegal, accompanied by my sister Lisa, we arrived at the bike drop in Rathmullan and from there travelled to the box drop and start line in Garton Adventure Centre on the shores of Garton Lake. The organisation was superb and I had all boxes for 4 transitions and registration sorted by about 4pm. Plenty of time to settle in, get some food, attend the race briefing and get a few hours sleep before things kicked off at 5am. There was a great buzz about and everyone was in even better mood as the forecast was good for Saturday. I managed to get about 5 hours of sleep before the start. The start can be seen in the video above and the buzz is felt even in the video as we set off on our 23km road run to Ramelton for the kayak stage.

Stage 1 23km road run.

The run began at a decent pace and I found myself running with Shaun Stewart and Marty Lynch as well as another competitor early on. We were running a pace of 3.50 to 4 minutes per kilometre. This was way too fast for my intended time so within about 4km I backed off a bit and settled into a 4.25 pace for the remainder of the run. This was more comfortable but I also intended to save my legs as there was one hell of a day ahead and my intention was still to finish and wherever I found myself position wise would be. The run really had little to write home about as it was dark until the last few kilometres. I finished in 1 hour and 43 minutes and cruised into transition feeling nicely warmed up. I met Shaun as I went in the door. He was already on the way to the kayak and going well. Of course having raced and trained with Shaun and having become good friends, I was hoping the day would go really well for him and he would take the victory. I entered transition in fifth and exited in less than 3 minutes in third.

Kayak Stage 2. 15km.

I ran from transition with my paddle, buoyancy aid and backrest, grabbed a kayak, clipped on the backrest, almost slipped on the slipway and hoped into the boat to paddle away. The crowd were cheering us on with great vigor. I turned the boat towards the course and on my first stroke disaster struck! My carbon fibre paddle split in two. With disgust I through half of it away. I paddle back to shore with the other half and I roared at the marshal for a paddle and they quickly through down another one. I heard later that Shaun’s brother, Patrick, actually helped grab a paddle for me and get me going again.I had to laugh at this point of the chances of such a thing happening at the start of the paddle. My luck of course was that it happened here and not 5 miles out to sea. I got going and soon settled into a bit of rhythm. I could see Martin Lynch was only about 200 yards ahead and Shaun was almost out of sight. I was happy to push hard during this section but there was no need to go into the red. The sit on top kayaks only do a certain speed and time gained would be minimal. Energy could be more adequately spent later in the race.

The water was like glass as we paddled down the river and estuary into Lough Swilly. The tide was in our favour and the morning was close to perfect. A seal popped it’s head up between my boat and Martin’s about half way across the bay. I’d say he was unimpressed by 78 kayaks moving through his territory first thing in the morning. I decided with my luck so far it was most likely the seal would land on the front of my boat at any minute, but unfortunately it never happened. I had this experience while kayaking in New Zealand. Probably not the kind of thing that happens twice. So to this point it probably all sounds like a walk in the park. The legs and arms had a good warm up but the real race was about to start as we pulled into the Bike transition at Rathmullan. The final few paddle strokes were fun as we paddled under the pier with crowds of people looking down at us, including Lisa. I shouted up at her ” we are sucking diesel now”, which got a good laugh from a few of the locals. Out of the boat and a run up into transition for the bike.

Bike 1. 96km

I changed into cycling kit, out of pretty wet and cold kayaking gear. There were about 5 of us in transition with Shaun gone ahead and Martin soon got going. I took an extra two minutes to eat a jar of overnight oats and have a coke and some water. A good breakfast at my usual time of about 8.15am!

I came out of the transition trailer, left my box at my bike and grabbed my bike. At this point I realised there was no helmet with my bike. Disaster number two at transition number two! The marshals quickly got on the case and started searching. One of the race directors was straight in on the action and said he would sort whatever time I lost, as it was their mistake. Lisa was there and shouted that she had the car and could grab my spare helmet. Obviuosly an unsupported race but on this occasion it was not my mistake and they said go for it and get a helmet. Lisa found the helmet and 3 minutes would be deducted from my finish time. I didn’t get flustered by all this as I knew this was only the start of a long day and no point getting stressed and emotional so early on. Stick with your own plan and all will be well, start trying to race those around you at this stage and I could have a really bad day.

Once out on the road I found myself swapping and changing with Peter O Donnell, another of the local guys. We were in 4th and 5th throughout the cycle with Michael Mchugh, Martin and Shaun ahead of us. I was happy  to spin up the hills and try get some speed up on the downhills. The average speed was decent but the hills, well what can you say about this cycle. I suppose my cycling experience, apart from some multisport races, a few sportives and charity cycles and my own training really isn’t that amazing. I haven’t cycled in multi day events and since I started adventure racing in 2010, cycling has been my second sport to running. Therefore I may be corrected on this but in my experience this 96km is the hardest 96km you can do in Ireland. If anyone knows harder, give me a shout and I’ll come for a spin! Hill after hill after hill, relentless in and out of the saddle. One man said to me after the race that the hills were so bad that he couldn’t spin out his legs to shake the lactic acid as the gradient was too steep. Slow and painful on the ascent followed by teeth gritting and elbow tensing fast decents, far too fast to spin your legs out.This was the case for 4 solid hours on that first cycle. I actually feel like I enjoyed it so much more than my first experience of the area when training. Maybe I was fitter or maybe the weather played a part. When I looked up from the pain of the hills there was nothing but beauty around me. The beaches, the hills, fields full of lambs, small country cottages, everything was in it’s finest spring glory. The sun was splitting the rocks and the fluids were leaving my body faster than I could replace them. A local pulls up along side me in his car and says “this is a long one, keep her lit”, as I start the ascent of Lough Salt hill. A long long gradual climb to the finish at a steep short climb. Almost all the locals i met said “keep her lit”, a saying you hear all the time in Donegal. I decided I better take local advise and keep on pushing. The top of Lough Salt is only about 20km from the end of this stage. I thought the last 20km would be ok, I was far from correct. The climb from the valley up to muckish was relentless. My legs were beginning to burn and the hills were annoying my head. I stayed positive when I saw the sign for 130km’s gone. This meant of course that I was over half way around the course and anything positive is good when the tiredness begins to set in.

The signage throughout the course was top notch and the marshals and support at every turn in the road gave the whole race a more positive feel. The sections where you go for hours without a seeing anyone are by far the hardest. I arrived at Muckish mountain in just under 4 hours and looking at my time I was about 45 minutes ahead of my predicted race time already. A quick change of footwear, a bite to eat, some tea and a toilet break saw me in and out of transition and off up the mountain by about 12.10pm.

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Thats me at the base of the mountain.

Stage 4 Muckish 5km mountain hike.

Muckish would be my strongest section on the day but my plan was not to expend too much energy trying to go up and down fast, risk injury or burn out. This was a race to finish. I started the hike in 4th postion. The ground was soft and pretty nasty in areas. I met a lady half way up that was supporting Michael, her brother, who was up ahead of me. She was full of enthusiasm and like all the support on the day her encouragement pushed me on. I reached the top feeling strong and the legs were loving being off the bike. What a view from the top. A picnic would of been fantastic but it was time to start running. I ran the majority of the downhill, landing on my ass twice, but luckily on the slippy boggy sections further down. I passed Michael on the way down and came into transition a minute or two before him. I sat down to change for the bike and my first and only bad cramp of the day  hit on the inside of the leg. A good lesson to keep moving and probably not sit down at all if you can avoid it!

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Bike transition for stage 5 and my helmet was found.

Stage 5. 68km Bike

Stage 5 would be a total unknown stage for me. The first 10km or so were mostly downhill with some nice rest and good speed picked up. I managed to take on lots of fluids, a few gels, some coke and some cake during this section. I knew from the race profile that more hills awaited so I needed as much fuel as possible. My second jar of overnight oats and cake at the muckish transition area wouldn’t be enough to get me as far as the marathon. This bike stage is almost a blur to be honest. I was probably tiring but I do remember the climbs going into pretty remote areas, down worn country roads, though marsh and bog land, along the coast, through small villages and up more hills. The locals were out to say hi, while some of them really didn’t seem to know what we were doing there. I was of course only the third bike through the area that day.Michael passed me half way around the stage but I quickly passed him again as he had a few punctures. Somehow he managed to fix 4 punctures and arrive into the next transition only minutes behind me. Amazing you might say.. My bike was performing well until with about 5 km to go one of the cables became fraid. I couldnt change down gear but luckily I wasn’t far from transition. Once again the timing of this was in my favour. After battling the hills and the backroads the final few kilometres were also on the main road, so my gears got their first rest in hours. I arrived in transition 4 in about 2hours and 43 minutes. My total time at this point was around 11 hours, giving me plenty time to try hit my goal time of 16 hours in total.

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Garton Lake

Stage 6. 40km road and trail run.

I stayed in transition 4 for about 13 minutes, to get some decent food, some tea, soup and overnight oats into me. The volunteers were so friendly and helpful, giving us a table each, having boxes laid out and ready and offering as much tea as we wanted. I can’t thank these people enough for thier kindness at every transition. I changed, stocked up on food, grabbed an all important can of coke and started on the next stage. I was once again so happy to be on my feet, although my legs were pretty much spent at this stage. I brought my poles along as an aid, I could run and keep the weight off my knees once I had the poles. “Who’s yere man with the sticks”, was a line I heard a few times from some of the locals! As I made my way along the small road at the start of the marathon, I realised I was way overdressed. There was no breeze and the evening sun was warm. I decided to ditch my warmer long sleeve top and go with one layer, plus I had a jacket in my bag if things changed. One of the relay team guys pulled up along side me near the start and offered great words of encouragement, said i was doing so well. Another couple pulled up and told me I was an inspiration. Another family stopped and all jumped out to clap and cheer me on. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced such encouragement during a race and these people are the reason I managed to keep going.

The first 15km were on the road, gradually climbing to the start of the minors pass, a section of about 10km of trail that runs down to Garton House and along the lake. The trail then takes a turn right up over a hill though some bogland with more small lakes to one side before descending back down onto the road for the last 10km. As I did in the Race I will take this run in sections. The first as already explained was monotonous, on the road. The views were nice but the road really takes it out of you when there is little left in the legs. The trail was a welcome sight, with some downhill and I started to gain a bit of speed. I was averaging 6min/km on the road and soon brought this down to 5.30’s or so on the trail. A competitor came out of knowwhere at this point, passing me out at great speed, but withing 100metres I met him bent over getting sick on the side of the trail. Like so many others he had possibly pushed too hard and the body said no. He did manage to finish the race but lost alot of time at this point. I was still holding third for the time being with Michael, and his crew, now in sight behind me. As I made my way along the lake I could see the trout were on the evening rise and wished I could stop and drop a dry fly over them. The Moon was coming up and was huge over the hills while the sun was going down behind me. Boy was I glad I was half way through the marathon before it got dark.

I left the lake to climb the section of trail back up over the hill. I hiked the majority of this section, knowing that I still had a small lead on the group behind. I wasn’t really worried if I was passed out as I knew I was going as fast as I could and I wanted to finish and not blow up this late on. Lisa once again met me as I came off the trail and met the final road section. I would say I was at my lowest point at this stage. I was in pain. My right hamstring was sore and all my legs were screaming. My feet were good though and once I went from hiking with poles to running and back to hiking I could manage. I adopted the run the downhills and parts of the flats to hiking the uphills method. Michael passed me soon after I had met Lisa and she told me I was doing so well, was in control of my position and had only 10km to go. Lisa ran along side me for a few hundred metres and then said she needed to go to make the finish line. I laughed thinking she would have heaps of time as this was going to be the slowest 10km of my life!  The thing that saved me was that I was prepared. I had told myself in the lead up to the race that if I got this far that the last 10km would be torture.

There was no doubt it was torture but there was support out on the junctions and I had a brilliant experience in the middle of it that made me laugh and got the spirits going! As I ran through a forested section of the road I saw 6 eyes bearing downing the trail at tremendous speed. Once in view I saw that there were 3 badgers closing in on me at full tilt. The badgers ran passed my feet and on down the road as if I wasn’t there. Had I been on the trail a few days I would say I was hallucinating. There was a sight you don’t see mid race too often. But then this is a full day of adventure racing in Donegal and anything can happen. The final few kilometres on the road were sore and slow but I found myself on the home straight before I knew what was going on. I could hear the mike call out my name and the crowd cheering as I made for the line. I flashed my headlight as I crossed over and felt an amazing relief lift from my shoulders as I realised I had just finished one of the toughest 24hour races out there. All the training and all the effort came down to this. It is only now three days later that I am starting to understand what an incredible achievement it is for everyone that takes part in this race. To test yourself this way is amazing both physically and mentally.

At the finish. 15hours and 21 minutes later!

All in all the Race couldn’t of gone more to plan for me. My transitions were good, my fueling was good, I had no stomach or intestinal issues and I made the finish line. This was all I could of asked for and hopefully it will give me the confidence to try some more of these long distance events.

I have to thank Emma, my family and friends for all the support in the last few months. The training effort since Christmas has been pretty massive but the encouragement from everyone top class. A huge congrats to my training buddies Rachel Nolan and Sinead Keogh, Rachel who won the ladies race in a course record time and Sinead who came 4th. They are  incredible athletes and it has been a pleasure to train with them and make friends with them along the way.

I have to mention the battle that took place ahead of me all day. Shaun and Marty fought out to the death for the win. In the end Marty finished stronger on the marathon and Shaun came in behind him. The effort and times they put in were unreal. Both of them smashed the course record and I’ve no doubt without one pushing the other on this may not of happened. Shaun will be back to fight another day, but for now I hope he is in recovery for our High Peaks Challenge FKT in April. A far more important few days out!! .

The race stats! 4th place!

http://www.therace.ie/the-race-2017/2017-results

A few more pictures to round up The Race 2017.

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Misty Mweelrea

After a lot of hours training last week and increasing my mileage, I finished with a relentless hike on connaught’s highest peak of Mweelrea on Sunday. David and I arrived at Doolough near the base of the mountain at 9.30am and sat looking at a heavy mist descending on the valley above. To go or not to go?!

First selfie of two, no more I swear!

I had never been up Mweelrea for some reason so a day like this could be tricky but no better way to try learn more on my navigational skills. I had my map, compass and all gear to stay warm and dry, well as much aa possible on a wet January day in Ireland.


We started the hike with a river crossing and then a long valley awaited. The ground was soft but less so than that on the Turk’s or Ben’s. We hiked to the base of the mountain range.Mweelrea lies a few kilometres away from the top of most climbing on this hike.After an hour and a quarter we reached 750 metres and there was a peak of 795 and 790 on both sides as we made our way through a narrow gap. Mweelrea peaks at 814metres. A wee bump on the ground to many of you mountain hikers and runners.  I will let the photos talk for this post as my time is limited today. 


As you can see the weather was worsening at this point. I knew if we followed a flat section on the top keeping the ridges on either side and taking a left southerly turn after roughly a kilometre all should be ok. In saying this visibility was extremely poor and conditions just nasty. A slight error saw us go too far to the west and we ended up at 640 metres. At this point i knew the safest thing was to use the gps and get out exact location on map. From there it was possible to reroute and find the base of Mweelrea. This added an hour to hike but when the cold and rain is that bad the gps is essential. I found the map reading fun and had it almost bang on. Using the gps was a safety and shows respect for such conditions. As you can imagine the terrain was soft and slippy so we were hungry at the top. A two second inhalation of a sandwich and we were off back down the mountain. 


On the top and fed. 

The descent was slippy but navigation across the coll went well and we took our time in the tricky descent. A round trip of just over 5 hours had us back to the car. Nearly two hours slower than I expected. the original plan was to do a two hour cycle but we hadn’t factored in needing lights so this will wait for another day. The conditions had us flattened anyhow.  This goes to show to always give yourself plenty daylight and never go up without a map,compass, lots of food and extra dry clothes, especially in January. 


Finally on the top. 


A day to toughen the body and use the mind. 

For anyone that hasn’t checked out Gavin hennigan’s adventure/row, check out the link to his blog below. Phenomenal stuff. 

https://www.gavanhennigan.com/blog/2017/1/16/583lrtb5un0qdhg797790i2qyqus0c

A long walk on a short day

Thanks to Frank for the title of my post as well as organising this great hike. The days are at their shortest right now but the weather has been mostly excellent and we made the most of a good day on Saturday. We left Galway at 5am and were at the starting point for our hike of the Galty Mountain Range at 7.45am. Six brave trekkers made the journey to this point and we knew it would be head down hiking for up to 8 hours before we reached the finish. Our hike would take in 6 peaks including Galtybeg and Galtymore mountains. Galtymore is Ireland’s six highest peak at 920metres. I may be a few metres off there but not far. 

Galtybeg and Galtymore. 

Our hike started with a gradual climb up to around 600 metres and from here we would trek over boggy ground, tricky at times but mostly super under foot due to a good freeze at this altitude as well as a hard frost over the entire country last night. A biting wind meant an extra layer was needed on top and bottom after about an hour. I felt great with the extra clothes. We summitted our first peak, soon after my layer change,  not hanging around long due to the cold and hiked on taking in the views.The visibility was super on all the trek apart from Galtymore. This was due to cloud cover at the higher of the peaks. Everyone was doing well apart from Martin who found out his water bladder was dry only a half hour into the day. He got some slagging and seemed fully puzzled where all the water he put in his bladder went during the night. He managed to share Sinead’s water and survive the day, although still has no clue where his water is! 

Emma feeling the cold but having fun. 

Every long hike or time on my feet I am still nervous after my injuries this year but all was well Saturday. After 22km of hiking I managed to run down the last descent and felt good considering a week of battling a cold before hand. Let’s hope it is the start of things to come in 2017. 

Vast lands of bog and heather. 

We reached the summit of Galtymore around lunchtime. We gobbled down a tasty buckwheat salad under a rockface. The shelter here was welcome with ferocious winds blowing over the peak. It would literally cut you in two. I watched the sheep clinging to a steep rockface and wondered how they survive up there. Amazing athletes they are!  We started downhill at a quick pace to warm up and once back to 700 metres the sun was out and everyone was in high spirits. We reached our destination in only 6.5hours. This was far quicker than anyone expected. We did hike at a fair pace and everyone felt like it was a good workout. Hopefully we will have lots of weekends like it in the next few months. 

Day 3 Domail to Bucheri Top

We packed up camp and hit the trail on a warm and sunny morning to get day three underway. The plan was to hike via the village of Naranag up to just below snow level at a place called Bucheri Top and set up camp here for the night.

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Our guide and the horses as we reached Naranag.

It was very warm by the time we reached Naranag and a grueling three hours uphill awaited. We zig zagged with the horses up along the trail. We passed a flock of 500 sheep clinging to the edge of this steep mountain, with shepherds closely minding them. I was soon to realise the reason for this. As I hiked along with Mustafa and the horses, Emma and Liyakat were a little behind on the tough climb. Out of nowhere I heard a roar and a flash of black passed along side the trail. In an instant I could see the bear blast it’s way down the hill and out of sight. It was no more than 20 metres from me and even Mustafa got a serious fright, saying it was highly unusually to get so close. I didn’t feel the bear was interested in us with so many sheep to chose from and the guides explained that on a regular basis sheep were lost to bears. The opportunistic hunter in action.

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Camp site at Bucheri Top.

We reached camp in the early afternoon and we all helped to set up the tents and get ready for an evening by the fire. A good move on the locals behalf to stick the different campers close and light lots of fires, the hungry bears were in the area. We lit a huge fire and sat around until we hit the hay for a real late night, at around 10pm! Tomorrow we would head up into the snow, no bears up there, and the nights would be cold. The real adventure into the wilds had begun.

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View from Camp

 

 

Backcountry, Bears and bugs

The past week has been eventful. We have hiked mountains, ran down mountains, jumped over bear scat, and seen some amazing views. Everywhere you look in British Columbia there is a view to remember.   The trip to Canada has been fantastic so far. Apart from a little change in what I eat and drink which effects training I have enjoyed fitting my runs in around holidays. It is of course so important to let the hair  down and enjoy holidays, having some beer, etc. I am lucky that my favourite hobbies fit nicely into most holidays as well. We hiked a few peaks in Garibaldi provincial park, near whistler over the past few days and before that Cypress mountain near Vancouver. Here is a little idea of the terrain. 

  
This is a typical British Columbia trail. The next trip was some camping near Whistler and this took us up to lakes and mountains in Garibaldi area. 

   

 Not a bad view at all! 

I found a Salomon shop on my travels too, time to maybe retire the old ones!  

 
These guys are very popular on the trail, not for the squeamish if you step on one ! 

  
So 9 days left of this epic trip. I hope I have some nice posts and photos before the end. 

Grouse grind, Dam and Little Goat

Another fun day running and hiking today. I completed the famous Grouse Grind climb, over 2800 steps. I am told my time of 35.52 minutes was very respectable! I carried on hiking to Dam Mountain and Little Goat Mountain before dragging my weary legs home. It was considerably hotter today as well so I am feeling it this evening. The views were amazing throughout and even though the recent forest fires have left a smoky sky, I really enjoyed the wilderness of British Columbia once more.  

    

  

 

I also met this guy, however he is in an enclosure. I don’t like to see animals in  pens but I heard these guys were rescued while injured so I felt better then. 

  

 https://www.grousemountain.com/grousegrind

If you are ever in the Vancouver area check this out. A lung buster. 

A Real West of Ireland Day

After an amazing week of weather things turned nasty just as I set my sights on the mountains. I woke up yesterday morning to a gale force wind, extreme cold for April and showers that would cut you in two! In saying this I had a plan and I would stick to it. I drove to my uncles place in Oughterard and would cycle from there to Corkog Mountain, leg it up and down the mountain and cycle back. Sounds a breee doesn’t it !

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A passing shower up top

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Top of Corkog Mountain

I set off into a strong wind and battled the 22km to the base of the mountain in 50 minutes. It was a draining spin to start the day. I only encountered two hail showers enroute so all in all I couldnt complain. I had my energy bars, a banana, mobile, PLB (personal locator beacon), some gels and water all in the bag, so I was ready for a nice climb on a mountain I knew pretty well from a few previous trips. The climb to the top took me 26 minutes, a total of 1.9km of ascent. At times I was on my hands and knees with a very steep ascent. As I reached the top I looked forward to a little rest in the shelter of some rocks, where I took the photos above, but unfortunately a little snow shower hindered my lunch break. The joys of Ireland in springtime.

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The rest of the hike/run was on terrain like above (this is the back of Corkog). It was extremely wet under foot with some very technical running on rock and slippy ground, not to mention a steep descent for the first few hundred metres. As I reached the base it was still 6.5 kilometres back to the bike over pure bog. I dragged myself around enjoying a very strong tail wind and I even tried, unsuccessfully to race a few mountain sheep at one point!

I arrived back to the bike 1 hour and 14 minutes since the ascent began. A little more fuel onboard to get me home and off I went. The spin back was wind assissted and I took over ten minutes off my time into the wind on the way. I travelled along a piece of the Connemarathon route on my way and hope this event went really well today for all those taking part.

I arrived home in time to see Arsenal secure their 8th consecutive win in the league, so all round a pretty successful day. My match was called off today so I’m having a welcomed days rest.

Mountains, Bike and Heat

A real West of Ireland training session today, apart from the weather. 25 degrees and sunshine! I decided to make the most of my day off and get a good bit of training in. I set off for the Twelve Ben mountains, 40 miles from Galway and threw the bike on the car to make sure I managed a bit on the bike today too. I arrived around 1pm, in some crazy heat but hit off with a plan to do 3 peaks and then a 30km  spin on bike from car to Clifden and back. I took a few videos as I went along and the session can be seen on Garmin link once more. The total for the hike, run and bog run finish was 9km, but man did it feel like alot more!

An evening of football is planned now, with Brazil v Mexico awaiting. First of all a dip in Galway Bay to cool down the muscles.

Enjoy the weather !!

http://youtu.be/mkwCR_Wcf04

http://youtu.be/0sm0BRjQGms

http://connect.garmin.com/dashboard

 

 

Carrauntoohil. Ireland’s Tallest Mountain.1038metres.

A nice leisurely start to the trek!

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Myself and my friend Colin left Galway early this morning and 3 hours later we were climbing towards the clouds in Kerry on Carrauntoohil mountain. I write this post while warming up in car after the finish. The first 3km were easy with a very slight gradient. Perfect to warm up after the long journey.

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After this nice start came the area known as the Devils Ladder. As you can guess this is s very steep stretch.  basically navigating a waterfall on the side of mountain! 

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This is the very bottom of ladder and this the view looking down from a small distance up the ladder. 

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At this point the weather started to close in. I was happy with my pace and the Devils ladder was easier than I expected. I came to the top of the ladder and turned right for the Summit climb. Visibility was awful and rain and wind cold. No better reason to go faster so I stepped it up. The last couple of hundred metres to the top were relatively easy with a steep but manageable incline.

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After a quick stop at summit I turned for home. I could see very little apart from the cross. Not being a religious man I reckoned I would be wasted hanging out with a cross so home and heat sounded good. I descended quickly and all in all I was up and down in around 2hours and 15 minutes including a few stops for food and chatting to some hikers.  12.51km in total.
Carrauntoohil is definitely worth a hike/run.  I will be back on a day with no cloud!
I will post garmin times later.  Now time for some re fueling !